Two Sock Pattern Test Knits

It’s been a while since I posted about some of  my sock knits, particularly a couple of test knits. The first is Leaves are Changing Socks by Penny Schumers from Knit-by-Bit Designs. This sock pattern was designed because of Penny’s love of the changing of the leaves when Fall comes. This stitch pattern reflects a row of leaves. The striping of the socks allows them to be changing.

Leaves are Changing Socks 01

This pattern may look difficult but it was quite easy to memorise once I got started.

Leaves are Changing Socks 03Leaves are Changing Socks 10

I cannot rave enough about this sock yarn which is Bendigo Woollen Mills Multicoloured Sock. It is so reasonably priced and incredibly soft and delicious to knit with. This shade is called Pastel Multi.

6522-pastel
Such beautiful socks even if I say so myself!

Leaves are Changing Socks 11Leaves are Changing Socks 12Leaves are Changing Socks 13

Leaves are Changing Socks 15

The second test knit is Frozen Roses Socks also by Penny Schumer. The stitch pattern has a rosebud floral feel, framed with rows reminiscent of stems with thorns.

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Another beautiful pattern which was a pleasure to test.

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The yarn I used was Dyed By Hand Yarns Tough Stocking. I love the colours in this yarn which is called Verticordia.

DBHY Tough Stocking Verticordia 01DBHY Tough Stocking Verticordia 02

Frozen Roses 03Frozen Roses 04Frozen Roses 05

What I love about testing for Penny is that she always seems to write the cuff down and toe up instructions for her socks which makes her patterns available for each type of sock knitter. I am a cuff down girl!

If you’re a confident sock knitter I would highly recommend you opt into one of the test knits as you get an opportunity to knit a new pair of socks and you get the pattern before anyone else! Just check out the Ravelry Free Patterns Testers page. You don’t necessarily have to test knit socks; there are tests for all types of garments.

Until next time…

Melanie

Bark Socks – Pair # 40!!

I felt the need to knit a pair of socks not long ago and luckily I had the pair in mind I wanted to attempt. A lovely blog I follow written by a New Zealand knitter and pattern writer is called KiwiYarns Knits and she (Wei S. Leong) recently released this gorgeous free sock knitting pattern on Ravelry called Bark. I only tend to knit cuff-down socks on 5 dpns so this was a pattern made for me.

Bark Socks 12The pattern is very easy to memorise and is a great one for talking and knitting at the same time 🙂 Don’t we all love to do that!

Bark Socks 10My favourite heel flap too.

Bark Socks 13I picked up 18 sts along each side of the heel flap as I always pick up an extra one to avoid that notorious little hole that can sometimes appear.

The yarn I used is Dyed By Hand Yarns Tough Stocking which is a 75% merino / 25% nylon sock yarn in the colourway ‘Tyger Tyger’.

Tyger_Tyger_-_Tough_StockingI love all the orange and golden hues in this yarn. It’s just glorious. I have 37g left so that will go towards another Leftie as I sold mine at our recent Open Day.

Bark Socks 04Bark Socks 07Another pair of socks off the needles. I really do love this pattern.

Bark Socks 16Bark Socks 02I cast on a rather ambitious project a couple of nights ago. Ambitious because it will involve interfacing and sewing a lining (uuggghhh!!). It’s a project bag with a sheep on it and it’s from the pattern # 28 Lamb Diaper Bag. I’ve nearly finished the back which is just all stockinette stitch. I might have to ask my sewing friends for some help when it comes to the sewing. I guess that means I’m going to have to get my new sewing machine, which I’ve had for a few months, out of the box 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

Aussie Artisan Hand-Dyed Yarns

I live in an area where there are no LYS (local yarn shops) except for Lincraft and Spotlight. While both these shops carry a large range of yarn, they don’t carry much in the way of 4ply, 2ply or hand-dyed yarns. Over the last couple of years I’ve discovered quite a few fantastic Aussie artisan hand-dyers who produce the most gorgeous and delicious yarns plus the occasional ‘bricks and mortar’ shops in Brisbane.

Shorn Fibers is an online shop operating from Minden in SE Queensland, Australia.

Angela is an amazing artisan hand-dyer and for those of you who were at the Redlands Spinners & Weavers camp in September last year, you should remember Angela and the gorgeous array of yarns she displayed in her shop. Her prices are incredibly competitive as well. I have bought tons and tons of yarn from Angela. She knows my weakness for autumn shades and tends to dye exactly what I like. I can never resist purchasing a little bit more each time. I went crazy at camp last year!!

Here’s an array of just some of the yarn I’ve purchased from Shorn Fibers.

Shorn Fibers First Beach and Malarkey 02-tileDyed By Hand Yarns is an online shop located in Melbourne, Australia.

Julie Boydell has been open for business since June 2012 and has a fantastic array of gorgeous yarns in all plies and colours. There is also a yearly Sock Yarn Club which you can join. The theme for 2015 is Wild About Wildflowers – colours inspired by native wildflowers of Australia. This is a six month sock yarn only club. You will receive two skeins of sock yarn posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included will be one skein each of Tough Stocking, Mother’s Love, Big Blue Stocking, Silk Stocking, Blue Chip Stocking and introducing White Gum Wool 4ply.

Each skein of yarn will be dyed in a colour inspired by an Australian native wildflower. These colours will be exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Custom dyeing of these colours may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club. The cost is $165 plus postage.

I have subscribed to the sock yarn club over the last two years and have picked up some stunning colourways.

Dyed By Hand Yarn Vegemite-tileDyed By Hand Yarn Spotted Gum-tileDyed by Hand Yarns Happy Wanderer 03-tileDyed by Hand True Blue-tileDyed by Hand Blue Opal 02-tileDyed by Hand Yarns Flame Tree 01-tileDBHY Surf Life Saving 06-tileDBHY Blue Ringed Octopus 03-tileDBHY Silk Stocking Gorgons Head Coral 02-tileDBHY Mothers Love Monkey Mia 04-tileDBHY Blue Chip Purple Sea Urchin 04-tileDBHY Blue Chip Bass Strait 02-tileAren’t they spectacular!! One of my other favourites from Dyed By Hand Yarns is this stunning Limelight colourway in Tough Stocking which I used to make these socks.

Limelight 03Augustbird is an online shop located in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia. Rebecca Robinson produces some of the most exquisite colourways. If you follow Augustbird on Facebook, Rebecca will usually post a message regarding the current month’s colourways. You have the opportunity to order the colours you prefer and they are hand-dyed on request. I recently completed a test sock knit for Rebecca and received a yarn voucher. I purchased two skeins in a stunning colourway called Songbird which I have yet to knit up. I’m waiting for just the right pattern.

Augustbird songbird Multi 02Augustbird songbird More Blue 02Skein is a small, independent hand-dyed yarn company based in Australia. All Skein yarns and fibres are kettle dyed using professional acid-based dyes. These dyes are permanently set by the use of a vinegar mordant and heat. Once the dyes have been fully absorbed and the kettle water is clear, the yarns and fibre are removed, rinsed and washed with a light, phosphate-free wool wash, and then gently spun and hung out to dry under the Australian sun.

I have purchased quite a bit of yarn from Skein too and found it to be of exceptional quality. The colourways that are offered are quite mind-blowing too.

Skein Alpaca Merino Worsted Wise 02Skein Alpaca Merino Worsted Cardamon 02Skein SpeakeasySkein Green Tea 2Skein Speakeasy 2Now to a couple of fantastic online suppliers of wool rovings. Firstly, Kathy’s Fibres. Kathy has a wonderful range of hand-painted rovings at only $11 for 100g. The colour selection is stunning. I have bought a few and have made a gorgeous scarf in the Forest colourway.

Autumn roving 02-tileJumbuck Julie also dyes some incredibly appealing colourways and her selection is mind-blowing. There is just so much to pick from! I just looked at her Etsy shop and there were 273 colourways available!!! They’re $11.50 each.

These are some of the rovings I’ve purchased from Jumbuck Julie. I’m currently knitting a scarf in the Anemone colourway (top left and bottom right below).

Anemone 01-tileNow to some local Brisbane (and interstate) ‘bricks and mortar’ and online yarn shops.

Yarn Glorious Yarn is situated at Suite 11/180 Moggill Road, Taringa (0438 374 364). You can also purchase online. Shop hours are Wednesday – Friday 10am – 3pm and Saturday 10am – 4pm.

Sue Wheeler is the sole Aussie supplier of Zen Yarn Garden (ZYG) yarns which are made in Canada. ZYG has been producing an ART Walk Series of yarn, the colours of which are based on famous paintings. They are simply exquisite and I have purchased two skeins in each series. They’re currently up to Number 13 and can be found at Yarn Glorious Yarn. Cost per skein is generally between $32-$36 but well worth the value particularly when some of the yarn has a cashmere content. Sue does not charge for postage if you purchase over $50 worth of yarn, which is always the case with me! Sue also stocks many other brands of yarn. ZYG has just started another series called ‘Inspiration‘. Oh my goodness, the colours are gorgeous!

David Hockney Garrowby Hill 04-tilePurlwise is an online store as well as a bricks and mortar shop located at 4 Comboyne Street, Kendall, NSW. Opening hours are 10am – 4pm Thursday – Sunday. Purlwise is run by Mark who has been knitting for over 20 years. (02) 6559 0202. All purchases over $50 do NOT incur any postage. You will also receive discounts for purchases over $100, $150, etc. There is a huge range of yarn to select and some very bright and cheerful colourways too.

Yay! for Yarn is an online store operated from Brendale, north of Brisbane. Kiri carries a huge range of yarn and always has yarn and patterns on her Clearance Items page which is worth a visit. Kiri was previously a high school art teacher but in mid 2008 she decided to take her yarn hobby to the next level which is when Yay! for Yarn was started.

That should be enough to whet your appetite don’t you think? There are still more great yarn suppliers in Australia which I’ll cover in a future story.

If I can give you one tip it is to make sure you subscribe to any online newsletters that are offered by these stores to ensure you’re always informed of sales and new yarns. It’s what I do and that’s probably why my stash is enormous! I would also recommend you ‘like’ their Facebook pages and join their Ravelry groups.

Until next time…

Melanie

My 2014 Sock Yarn Club Goodies

Yesterday I received my final instalment in the Dyed By Hand Yarns‘ Sock Yarn Club. The theme for 2014 was Australia II – colours inspired by the ocean, sea, sails and coastlines.

Two skeins of sock yarn were posted out in the last week in March, May and July and the yarns included were 2 x Tough Stocking, 1 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Big Blue Stocking, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1 x Blue Chip Stocking.

Each skein of yarn was dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club.

# 1 is called Surf Life Saving and is dyed on Tough Stocking which is a 75% merino / 25% nylon yarn. This colourway is incredibly eye-catching and really depicts the Aussie surf life saving colours of the red and yellow flag against the blue ocean and sky. Very vivid indeed.

DBHY Surf Life Saving 06-tile

# 2 is called Blue Ringed Octopus and is also dyed on Tough Stocking. The blue-ringed octopuses are three (or perhaps four) octopus species that live in tide pools and coral reefs in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, from Japan to Australia (mainly around southern New South Wales and South Australia, and northern Western Australia). Despite their small size and relatively docile nature, they can prove a danger to humans. They can be recognised by their characteristic blue and black rings and yellowish skin. When the octopus is agitated, the brown patches darken dramatically, and iridescent blue rings or clumps of rings appear and pulsate within the maculae. It’s hard to believe that something so beautiful can be so dangerous.

DBHY Blue Ringed Octopus 03-tile

# 3 is called Monkey Mia and is dyed on Mother’s Love which is an 80% merino / 10% cashmere / 10% nylon yarn. Monkey Mia is a popular tourist destination located about 900 km north of Perth, Western Australia. The reserve is 25 km northeast of the town of Denham in the Shark Bay Marine Park and World Heritage Site.

The main attraction is the bottlenose dolphins that have been coming close to shore for more than fifty years. The beautiful blue colours of the ocean are captured so well in this yarn.

DBHY Mothers Love Monkey Mia 04-tile

# 4 is called Purple Sea Urchin and is dyed on Blue Chip Stocking which is a 70% merino / 20% silk  / 10% cashmere yarn. Purple Sea Urchins are found in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. They live on intertidal rocky shores and in coastal waters to a depth of 35 metres. In order to gain protection from predators and the elements, they cluster together and use their sharp spines to burrow into the rock. They normally grow to a diameter of about 4 inches and may live as long as 70 years.

Wow! The colours in the yarn are definitely a true indication of the colours in the Purple Sea Urchin.

DBHY Blue Chip Purple Sea Urchin 04-tile

# 5 is called Gorgons Head Coral and is dyed on Silk Stocking which is 50% merino / 50% silk yarn.

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.

This also happens to be one of my favourite colours. Plus the 50% silk in this yarn makes it feel lovely and soft.

DBHY Silk Stocking Gorgons Head Coral 02-tile

And lastly, # 6 is called Bass Strait and is dyed on Big Blue Stocking which is 100% wool. Bass Strait is a sea strait separating Tasmania from the Australian mainland, specifically the state of Victoria.

What a wonderful rich blue colour typical of the deep blue sea.

DBHY Blue Chip Bass Strait 02-tile

Now my next challenge is to assign patterns to each of these gorgeous yarns. What would you make with each one?

Until next time…

Melanie

 

Autumn Scarf and Some Gorgeous Yarn

 

Another garment off the needles! This is my Autumn Scarf made using Shorn Fibers Single DK which is a 40% Baby Alpaca 40% Merino 20% Silk yarn blend. The colourway way is called Autumn Leaves and it’s gorgeous to knit with. I used exactly 125g for this scarf; the other 75g was used to knit my 3AM Cable Hat which I blogged about here.

Shorn Fibres Autumn Leaves 3

Here’s the hat…

3AM Cable Hat 03

And here’s the newly finished scarf…

Autumn Scarf 01

The pattern I used is called Palindrome and what I like about it is it’s a reversible cable which makes your scarf look great from both sides!

Autumn Scarf 02

This yarn is as soft as silk against my neck and will make a nice partner for the hat.

Autumn Scarf 03

I’m so glad I left the scarf relatively narrow as it’s enabled me to utilise all the yarn to make the scarf slightly longer than normal.

Autumn Scarf 08

Before I go I’m going to show you a couple of gorgeous yarns I’ve just received in the mail. The first is the number one instalment in Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and it’s called Surf Life Saving.

DBHY Surf Life Saving 02

Isn’t it stunning? I showed it to a friend of mine and she immediately grabbed it out of my hands as she was so smitten with it!

DBHY Surf Life Saving 04

DBHY Surf Life Saving 05

The second sock yarn is called Blue Ringed Octopus…

DBHY Blue Ringed Octopus 02

Both these yarns are called Tough Stocking and are a 75% superwash merino / 25% nylon yarn. Each weighs 100gm and contains 423 metres (463 yards).

The second lot of yarn that arrived this week is the eighth offering in Zen Yarn Garden’s new ART WALK Series that features a painting by Claude Monet entitled “Irises” which inspired this colourway.

Hand painted on Serenity Silk Single Mr Zen has captured the subtle colours of the painting. From one medium to the next artists express their use of colour.

Serenity Silk Single is a single ply fingering yarn comprising of 75% superwash merino, 15% cashmere and 10% silk. There are 430yds in each 100gm skein, enough to make a small shawl.

Zen Yarn Garden Monet Irises 02

This is the painting that inspired the yarn colours…

Zen Yarn Claude Monet Irises image

And this is a photo from Zen Yarn Garden’s website…

Zen Yarn Claude Monet Irises 04

I am simply amazed by the beautiful colours that can be used to make gorgeous hand dyed yarn.

That’s it for me today. Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

Two Handspun Woolly Neck Knits

Another handspun garment has flown off the needles! I am particularly happy with this ‘Forest’ Handspun Scarf. The spinning is getting to be quite consistent and the colours are simply wonderful.

From this…

Forest roving 02

To this…

Forest Handspun 02

To this luscious skein…

Forest Handspun 05

To this beautiful scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 01

Isn’t the striping effect gorgeous?

Forest Handspun Scarf 03

The pattern is called One Row Handspun Scarf from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka The Yarn Harlot and it can be found on Ravelry. It is soooo easy to knit and is reversible which is what I like in a scarf.

I added a lovely fringe to make it look like the scarves I used to wear when I was a little girl and my family lived in the UK for a year.

Forest Handspun Scarf 06

Forest Handspun Scarf 07

I bought the two x 100g rovings from Kathy’s Fibres. They are lovely to spin from and Kathy’s colours are amazing.

Forest Handspun Scarf 08

The scarf is 100% merino wool.

Forest Handspun Scarf 11

Forest Handspun Scarf 13

The second handspun garment is a 50/50 kid mohair/merino cowl. It was challenging trying to spin this yarn and it became a very thick and thin textured labour of love.

The original fibre was very soft and fluffy…

Kid Mohair 01

As you can see it is very thick and thin…

Kid Mohair 04

The colourway is called ‘Autumn’ and it has lovely bits of blue and orange throughout it…

Kid Mohair 06

The two skeins have a real ‘chunky’ look about them…

Kid Mohair 08

But as I learn every day, there are no mistakes in spinning. The thick and thin look is actually what some spinners aim to achieve and here I am doing it without even trying!!

I only had enough yarn to make this very warm and incredibly soft cowl…

Kid Mohair Cowl 01

Not bad for a spinning ‘disaster’ is it?

Kid Mohair Cowl 02

This is also the same One Row Handspun Scarf except I joined the ends to make a cowl.

Kid Mohair Cowl 03

I love all those muted colours.

Kid Mohair Cowl 04

Only a small cowl but very big on warmth and character I must say!

Kid Mohair Cowl 06

You could say I am very happy with my handspun achievements to date. Plus I am going to have the warmest neck in the whole world next winter 🙂

Before I go I must let you know that I have subscribed to Dyed By Hand Yarns’ 2014 Simply Sock Club and the first instalment is released next week! I can’t wait!

The theme for 2014 is Australia II – colours inspired by the ocean, sea, sails and coastlines. This is a six month sock yarn only club and you receive:

Two skeins of sock yarn posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included are 2 x Tough Stocking, 1 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Big Blue Stocking, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1 x Blue Chip Stocking.

Each skein of yarn is dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months. Plus custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club.

Now as I have mentioned, I have no financial or other affiliation with Dyed By Hand Yarns. I simply love to promote fantastic Aussie artisan hand-dyed yarns and fibres as they are spectacular. Here’s my story about the 2013 Simply Sock Club with pictures of all the yarns. And remember, you don’t necessarily have to knit socks with the yarns….you can also knit some beautiful scarves and shawls.

One more pic of my scrumptious Forest Handspun Scarf…

Forest Handspun Scarf 04

That’s all for now. Until next time…

Melanie

My Spotted Gum Mobius

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you had a safe and yarn-filled new year’s eve 🙂 As we roll into another year I thought I’d start by showing you another UFO that I completed late last year!!! That’s my 4th one! This Mobius really frustrated me to start with. I cast on with excitement as I usually do with a new project and after about two or three pattern repeats I was finding it hard to concentrate on the pattern so I put it aside.

03 Autumn Mobius 01

Once I published my story about all my UFOs one of my readers really gave me some incentive to complete my projects rather than just buy yarn and never finish knitting a project. Thanks Colin! So I picked up this project again and ironically I found the pattern to be a lot easier….perhaps I was in the right frame of mind.

Spotted Gum Mobius 01

It can be worn long or wrapped around your neck.

Spotted Gum Mobius 09

It’s hard to tell the right and wrong side of this pattern as they both look good!

Spotted Gum Mobius 05

The pattern I used is the Autumn Fern Mobius. It actually came in a kit form from Yay for Yarn and I purchased it last year. Unfortunately the pattern arrived safely via email however the original yarn was lost in the mail so I had to select a substitute yarn which I didn’t actually use for this Mobius.

Spotted Gum Mobius 08

The yarn I used is Dyed By Hand Yarn’s Tough Stocking which is a 4ply / fingering 75% merino / 15% nylon yarn. The colourway is Spotted Gum and this yarn was part of the 2013 Sock Yarn Club. Each skein of yarn was dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. The colours were exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months and custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base could be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club. Here’s the link to my story that shows all the colourways for the 2013 yarns.

Simply_Sock_Club_2013_all_colours_view_2

The colours have now been released to everyone and the 2014 Sock Yarn Club is now open. I think I’ll have to subscribe again. Here’s the link if you’re interested. BTW I have no financial or other affiliation with Dyed By Hand Yarns; I simply believe in promoting great Aussie artisan yarn dyers wherever I can as I believe they produce stunning yarns in stunning colours.

As you can see, the yarn colours surely do depict the colours of the Spotted Gum don’t they?

Dyed By Hand Yarn Spotted Gum-tile

Very pleased with the result…

Spotted Gum Mobius 07

I used a provisional cast on and then twisted one end of the cowl before using Kitchener stitch to graft both ends together to form the Mobius effect.

Spotted Gum Mobius 02

I’ve been busily crocheting market bags as I’ve found a pattern than I can understand. Have just finished my 9th one!!!

Until next time…

Melanie