Two More Scarves….Just Enough Ruffles and Sandpiper

A couple more completed projects from my Noosaville holiday….Sandpiper Scarf and Just Enough Ruffles Scarf. The Sandpiper Scarf is from the pattern Bias Scarf with Ribbed Cables which is a free knitting pattern on Ravelry.

Sandpiper Scarf 02This is a very cleverly constructed scarf with cables on either side and garter stitch in the middle and even though you’re knitting straight rows without any increasing you automatically get a bias effect.

Sandpiper Scarf 01

Sandpiper Scarf 05

Sandpiper Scarf 06

The yarn I used is Shorn Fibers Merino Superwash Worsted and the colourway is Sandpiper (hence the name of the scarf!) This is a beautiful yarn to work with as are all of Shorn Fibers‘ yarns which I adore.

Shorn Fibers Sandpiper 1

My second scarf Just Enough Ruffles is another easy beginner scarf which has a wow impact with that ruffle.

Ruffles Scarf 04

I did block this scarf but only very lightly.

Ruffles Scarf 02

Ruffles Scarf 05

The ruffle is obtained by knitting three stitches into one thereby tripling the number of stitches in the row.

Ruffles Scarf 07

I had to search through my stash to find the yarn I wished to use for this scarf. I knew it would suit the pattern and I was right. It’s Skein’s Alpaca Merino Worsted which is a 60% alpaca / 40% merino yarn.

Skein Alpaca Merino Worsted Cardamon 02

Two more successful projects off the needles!

Sandpiper Scarf 04

Ruffles Scarf 06

I’m very excited as next Friday afternoon I am off to my first official spinning camp with the Redlands Spinners & Weavers. It’s going to be two days full of spinning, knitting, yarn, fibre and mixing with like-minded crafty women. And I’m finally going to get to meet Angela from Shorn Fibers as she will be having a small stall at the camp. You’ll hear all about it as I’m going to take lots of photos and no doubt buy a skein or two of yarn 🙂

Until next time…

Melanie

 

 

Element Shawl

It’s been very windy in Brissie (and Noosaville too) so I still haven’t managed to take my spinning wheel down to the river bank as there’s no way I’d be able to contain the wool from flying everywhere! So it’s spinning in my unit and knitting on the river bank.

As a change of pace, I’m going to show you a shawl I finished a few weeks ago. It’s from the pattern called Lorna Shawl and is another crescent shaped shawl.

Element Shawl 01

It drapes beautifully and looks quite spectacular.

Element Shawl 03

Those two rows of K2tog, yo add a dramatic effect to the pattern

Element Shawl 05

Here’s the shawl showing its crescent shape.

Element Shawl 02

Unfortunately I had to make the ruffle a bit shorter as I didn’t have enough yarn. Ruffle pattern is: R1 kf&b, R2 P, R3 K, R4 P, R5 K, R6 K. I also did a stretchy cast off. K1, *YO, K1, pass first knitted st and YO over the last stitch knitted. You now have one stitch on your rh needle. Continue from *. I eventually ran out of my yarn whilst casting off and the closest yarn I could find was an acrylic. Not ideal but the best colour match I could find in my stash.

Element Shawl 06

Element Shawl 07

Element Shawl 08

The yarn I used is Skein’s Alpaca Merino Worsted which is a 60% alpaca / 40% merino worsted / 10ply. It is so soft and is ideal for this pattern. The colourway is called Element and is a very earthy and natural colour.

Skein Alpaca Merino Worsted Element 02

Another shawl done and dusted!

Element Shawl 04

Today I’ll spend some time knitting (or maybe crocheting) on the river bank followed by a night spent with friends and overnight at Lake Cooroibah. If the weather is fine tomorrow we’ll spend the day boating on the Noosa River. I’m loving my holiday!!

Until next time…

Melanie

Sunday Yarn Bits and Pieces

I had to get out the wool winder and swift today as I received my lovely yarn from Skein last week. I’ve also joined Augustbird’s KAL and am ready to start my second item but you guessed it, I hadn’t wound the second skein into a ball.

To join the KAL you need to knit any of Two Little Plums’ patterns using Augustbird yarn. I’ve selected the Barnwood Cowl and Barnwood Hat for my two items. I decided to knit two as these make a complementary pair don’t you think? I can only hope my knitted items turn out as well as the ones in the pattern pictures.

Barnwood Cowl picture-horz

The yarn I am using is Augustbird’s Hearty DK in ‘This Earth’. I just love the earthy tones in this colourway. This is the skein…

Augustbird This Earth 2

and this is the ball of yarn…

Augustbird This Earth 3

I have almost finished the cowl and today I started the hat. Once I’ve completed the hat I’ll use the remaining yarn for the rest of the cowl. Not sure how long the cowl will be but I’ll be happy if I can wrap it around my neck twice for added warmth and snuggliness.

I also wound the following skeins of Top Draw Sock yarn I received from Skein last week. This is Skein Speakeasy in the skein form….

Skein Speakeasy 2

and wound into a ball….

Skein Speakeasy 3

This is Skein Green Tea in skein form…

Skein Green Tea 2

and wound into a ball…

Skein Green Tea 3

This is Skein Tuscany in a skein…

Skein Tuscany 2

and now wound into a ball…

Skein Tuscany 3

And finally this is Skein Rusty Rock in a skein…

Skein Rusty Rock 2

and now wound into a ball…

Skein Rusty Rock 3

That was rather warm work as it was quite hot and humid in Brisbane this weekend. Now, the big question is what will I knit with this yarn. I’m thinking maybe a shawl, scarf and of course some socks!

I haven’t forgotten to blog about my visit to Cleveland BUZZ on Saturday. I’m just getting all the photos together so I’ll probably post it within the next couple of days.

Hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend fully of crafty goodness.

Melanie

My Yarn Journey Musings

I can vaguely remember my Nanna teaching me how to knit when I was about 11 years old. It obviously didn’t leave a huge impression on me as I can’t remember what I knitted but I am assuming it was probably a garter stitch scarf, full of holes and long enough to wrap around the house a couple of times!! Isn’t that what most people learned to knit?

I didn’t continue to knit throughout my childhood years; it wasn’t until my early 20s that I picked up the needles again and started knitting jumpers (sweaters). Don’t ask me how I graduated from garter stitch scarves to jumpers. I do remember buying a pattern for a jumper and studying it as if the end result was going to be a PhD! I actually knitted quite a few jumpers and even embroidered pictures on them. Remember, back in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was no internet. You couldn’t just find a You Tube video for a certain stitch. None of my friends knitted either so the only way I could figure out something was to try and source a knitting book from my library; and they weren’t in plentiful supply either. It must have been sheer determination that helped me to understand a knitting pattern. I do remember a couple of instances of frogging a sleeve as I’d only decreased on the one side.

Here’s a picture of one of my first partly embroidered jumpers (right hand side). It was knitted in the 1980s and if I remember correctly only the kangaroos were embroidered on. This picture is from the pattern book. Unfortunately, I don’t know what has happened to the jumper 😦

Kangaroo Jumper

In those days the main yarn available that I can recall was Patons or Twilleys and if you were into acrylic it was Coles ‘Holiday’. Coles supported their Holiday yarn with many pattern books too. I managed to pick one up recently at a Lifeline Book Fest and it brought back fond memories. Back then I can only recall using straight metal knitting needles. Now I have some bamboo needles which I love as they are so light. I’ve also just bought my first set of Addi click needles.

Prior to my son’s birth on 4 July 1987 (yes, he shares a day celebrated in the USA) I knitted him bootees, bonnets and jackets in fine baby yarn.

Baby stuff-horz

The little knitted vest in the right hand side picture is the same as the one on the cover of this Paton’s pattern book. You can still pick this book up from Ebay. Good patterns never seem to go out of vogue.

Patons Baby Patterns

Of course every baby and little boy needs and bonnet and a beanie!

Hats-horz

After a little break I knitted him jumpers when he was around 5-9 years old, again embroidering pictures on some of them. I have kept them and here are some photos. I love the Bugs Bunny jumper (knitted with Patons Totem) and was quite proud of my efforts. Unfortunately, living in Queensland there wasn’t much call to wear pure wool jumpers as it doesn’t really get that cold here in our winters. Hence the jumper is in immaculate condition. This jumper would be great in really cold weather as Bugs’ face has been embroidered on; hence there is double yarn thickness in that area.

Bugs bunny-horz

A not too clear picture of a scanned old photo.

Richard Age 5I must have had an embroidering craze! Everyone in the neighbourhood knew when his birthday was!

Richard-horz

I love the striped jumper; again it was hardly worn.

Two jumpers-horz

After that burst of knitting, my interest waned. Until I found this little book called Knitted Mug Hugs in my local library which piqued my interest in 2011. I purchased the book and made a couple of the mug hugs. I subsequently visited The Book Depository and searched on mug hugs books and found the book (Mug Hugs by Alison Howard) which resulted in re-igniting my knitting interest. I have blogged about this previously; if you’re interested in reading my mug hug story it is here. Suffice it to say, I was hooked on knitting and looking for bigger and better things to knit.

I might add that throughout my life I also learned how to crochet. Again, I think my Nanna taught me as I can’t recall anyone else showing me. I also bought a very basic book about crocheting which is dated circa 1977 and I still refer to it to this day when crocheting.

I found these two pieces of flannelette, sewed them together and then crocheted the edges. This makes a great present for any new mum.

Blanket-horz

Throughout the years, I have made quite a few granny square blankets out of acrylic (haven’t we all?). I also recently found some great pattern books for knitted and crocheted towel tops from Crochet Australia and have made quite a few of them.

After my mug hug craze, I bought a few second hand knitting books at my twice yearly Lifeline Book Fest and started knitting baby garments as these were small and gave almost instant results.

I also started getting interested in using only pure wool so I started visiting Ebay quite a bit and bidding on bundles of wool…..this was the start of my uncontrollable stash obsession which I have also blogged about. You can read about it here.

I’ve got one thing to say about shopping on the internet and that is ‘dangerous’. It is so easy to keep clicking on ‘Add to Cart’ or ‘Bid Now’. And the payment process is just a breeze with PayPal isn’t it? Plus the anticipation when I get home each afternoon wondering whether there will be a parcel waiting for me!

In the 1970s most yarn was a solid colour….I don’t remember much in the way of variegated yarn. It wasn’t particularly soft wool either; in fact it could be quite scratchy and hard to wear against the skin. Even with a shirt on the wool fibres would penetrate and annoy me.

I remember visiting my local Spotlight and Lincraft stores about 18 months ago and managing to find some nice yarn, in particular some Moda Vera Noir sock yarn. Sock yarn! I thought….”I could never knit a pair of socks”. Just looking at a sock and studying its structure was confusing to me.

Despite that, I bought about three balls of the sock yarn as it was quite cheap. I had no idea then how much sock yarn can cost per skein.

I also managed to locate a few yarn shops in Brisbane that had some good websites with facilities to subscribe to their newsletters which I did.

So I kept knitting my baby garments until one day a newsletter popped in my in box advertising sock knitting classes at Threads and More at Sherwood (the shop has since moved to Indooroopilly). I instantly recalled the three balls of sock yarn that I bought previously and thought “Go on….why not register” so I emailed the shop and registered for three x two hour lessons over three consecutive Saturday afternoons.

Knitting with five dpns was initially quite a challenge and I thought to myself “there’s no way I’m going to be able to knit socks with these needles and watch any TV”. I find knitting and watching TV very relaxing. After my first lesson I’d progressed past the cuff and onto the leg. Homework was to finish the leg. I rushed home, took photos and uploaded the photos and a quick story on my Facebook page as I was so excited with my efforts; maybe this was the start of my ‘blogging’ desire.

I thoroughly enjoyed my second lesson and couldn’t wait to get to my third lesson. By that time, I’d already started the second sock as I had a spare set of dpns at home (bamboo ones bought on Ebay from China – I love them!). I was so proud of my first pair of socks I could literally burst. Here they are.

DSC01194

What these sock knitting lessons did was to instil and create such an obsessive passion for knitting and yarn that has taken control of me and simply will not let go.

I also discovered Ravelry….OMG what a fantastic website for knitters and crocheters. So many yarns in their database, so many free patterns for everything imaginable, so many groups you can join, so many other knitters whose projects you can follow. Ravelry has more than three million members and it’s free to join. I also learned about KALs (Knit-A-Longs). Have just joined one with Augustbird.

I also started trawling the internet and learned so much about yarn. I fell in love with hand painted variegated yarn and couldn’t believe there was so much sock yarn out there. But more importantly I discovered some fantastic online yarn suppliers in Australia.

Not only the yarn suppliers that have a shop front that provide gorgeous yarns sourced from around the world and provide excellent service….like Yarn Glorious Yarn, Yay for Yarn, K2TOG but I also found suppliers who dyed their own yarn in exquisite colours…both solid colours and variegated colours. I discovered beautiful soft, stretchy sock yarns that feel luxurious against the skin. I found suppliers who respond incredibly quickly to their customers’ needs and requests. Suppliers who don’t have the big store names but provide knitters with yarns that the big stores just do not (and probably won’t ever) provide.

My three favourite hand-dyed yarn suppliers are Skein, Dyed By Hand Yarns and Augustbird. I have no affiliation with any of these suppliers. I am just so impressed with their products, their service and their obvious passion in producing such luscious and beautiful hand-dyed yarns. Whenever I receive a package of yarn in the mail (and believe me this happens an awful lot; my local parcel delivery man waves to me every morning as I walk to work!), I stroke the yarn; I smell it and inhale its beautiful aroma and absorb its journey from the sheep (or alpaca) on the land, to the shearer, to the spinner, to the dyer and eventually to me. It is such an incredibly tactile experience. If you know of any other quality hand dyed yarn suppliers in Australia, please let me know.

Since my first pair of socks in August 2012, I have completed 25 pairs and in between socks, I have knitted a couple of blankets and shawls. I also have a couple of UFOs (unfinished objects….a vest is one of them). I have a plethora of knitting patterns sourced from Ravelry plus a library full of knitting books sourced from the Lifeline Book Fest and The Book Depository. A lot of them are recommendations I’ve gleaned from other knitters’ blogs. I have enough yarn to open my own store and I am now getting more adventurous with my socks by mixing and matching patterns with what I like. I now understand the structure of the sock. But believe me I still have a lot to learn….how to knit socks on a circular needle toe-up; how to knit two socks at a time on two circular needles toe-up. How to knit Cat Bordhi’s tomato heel. I also want to learn about how to knit a moebius…I have a pattern and the yarn and needles but just need to find the time to sit down and watch Cat Bordhi’s You Tube video instructions on how to cast on a meobius.

Which brings me to blogs. I’m always so excited when I finish a project and just want to show everyone so I thought why not blog about it. I am no seasoned writer but I believe when you write about something you’re passionate about the words just flow and there is no such thing as writer’s block. If anything, I can tend to ramble as I am no doubt doing in this blog! So that’s how MelsNattyKnits was born. The name came to me pretty quickly and I thought it sounded quite catchy.

The only problem I have now is finding the time to work full time, knit my garments and blog about them.

So thank you to all you wonderful knitters and crafty people who have elected to follow my blog. I do so appreciate it and it gives me so much encouragement to keep writing my posts. I hope you enjoy reading them and I would love you to leave comments. I get a thrill every time I visit my statistics page and see that I have another follower J

And thank you to all the lovely online yarn stores who have showcased such wonderful yarns (and had some great sales) and helped to deplete my bank balance J

And finally, thank you to the dedicated artisans who hand dye their beautiful yarns so that I can knit such beautiful and treasured garments.

Until next time…..keep knitting, crocheting, spinning and doing whatever craft makes you happy.

Melanie

More Knitting Book and Yarn Purchases…..is there no limit?

Do you get carried away when viewing beautiful yarns online? Are you impulsive? Do you keep clicking ‘Add to Cart’? Do you wait impatiently for said yarn (or knitting books for that matter) to be delivered by your friendly parcel delivery man who you are on very good terms with because he always seems to be delivering parcels to you? Do you get that frisson of excitement when you open the parcel and discover that beautiful, luscious yarn in all its glory just waiting to be made into another pair of socks or a soft, drapey, yummy shawl? If you answered yes to all these questions we have something in common so read on and discover some of my latest purchases. The colourways of these yarns will leave you breathless as they did me. They are simply beautiful.

I purchased the following two books from my favourite online book store…. The Book Depository. The first book is called Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch and it’s chock-a-block full of so many variations of sock knitting patterns, I am in sock heaven. What is unusual about these books is you are provided with a number of 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 stitch pattern repeats as well as different heel and toe finishes. You get to select how you knit your socks. There are simply numerous computations of different types of socks you can knit. My head is spinning with so many ideas already.

Sensational Knitted Socks

The second book, also by Charlene Schurch, is the follow up, More Sensational Knitted Socks. I can see that I will definitely be using these books quite often.

More Sensational Knitted Socks

Here’s a link to a great book review of both books which is well worth reading. It’s from the knittingabout.com website.

Now onto my yarn purchases….

The following three yarns were purchased from Yay for Yarn’s Clearance Sale. Like any female, I just love a sale!

Yarns on StageGreat Adirondack – Parakeet

This is a limited edition colourway produced especially for Yarns on Stage. What’s not to like about this yarn. I instantly fell in love with the colourway and managed to buy the last skein. It’s a 4ply 70% merino / 20% silk / 10% nylon yarn with a length of 329 metres (360 yards) and weighs 100g. This yarn is going to make a spectacular pair of socks don’t you think? Or maybe a shawl?

Great Adirondack ParakeetGreat Adirondack

Yarns on Stage – Prism – Savoy

Another limited edition colourway produced especially for Yarns on Stage. This is a 4ply 80% merino / 20% nylon yarn that contains 402 metres (440 yards) and weighs 112g. Guess what…..I can see another pair of socks coming up. I love the all the blue/purple hues of this yarn.

Prismy_300

Yarns on Stage – Twisted Sisters Petite Voodoo – Green Teas(e)

And yet another limited edition colourway especially produced for Yarns on Stage. This is a 4ply 50% silk / 50% merino wool yarn that contains 174 metres (190 yards) and weighs 50g. It has a lovely sheen to it. I bought two skeins of the yarn and am thinking about a scarf or shawl. I’ve already started scouring Ravelry for a pattern. Anyone have any suggestions??

Twisted Sisters

Dyed By Hand Yarns – Melbourne – Victoria

I only discovered Dyed By Hand Yarns last week and am patiently waiting for my yarns to be dyed and sent to me. Dyed By Hand Yarns is operated by Julie Boydell, who has been crocheting, knitting and generally crafting from an early age. Over the years she has learnt spinning and weaving, various hand and machine sewing techniques, felting, quilting, photography, colour and design.

As a medical scientest she plays with dyes daily, and has honed her skills of observation, theory and practise in dyeing processes. The decision to dye yarns was a natural progression of this. Family and friends encouraged her to present her wares for sale, and Dyed By Hand Yarns was born.

I particularly like the way Dyed By Hand Yarns photographs their skeins. They are beautifully framed and very enticing.

Dyed By Hand Yarns – Tough Stocking – Urban Sprawl

Urban Sprawl is a variegated yarn of black, charcoal and silvery grey with flashes of bright to golden yellow and paprika.

Urban_Sprawl_-_Tough_Stocking

Dyed By Hand Yarns – Tough Stocking – Turmeric

Turmeric is a warm semi-solid deep goden yellow. This colour almost glows in the sunlight.

Tumeric_-_Tough_Stocking

Dyed By Hand Yarns – Tough Stocking – Limelight

Limelight is a light bright semi-solid lime green with hints of neon yellow and
gold. I love this bright, happy colourway.

Limelight_-_Tough_Stocking

Dyed By Hand Yarns – Tough Stocking – Tyger Tyger

Tyger Tyger is a variegated yarn of burnt orange, tangerine and saffron with overtones of caramel and chocolate. Of course, there always has to be a skein of yarn in autumn colours which I really gravitate towards.

Tyger_Tyger_-_Tough_Stocking
The base yarn for all the Dyed By Hand Yarns is called Tough Stocking and it’s a 75% superwash merino, 25% nylon 100gm/423m (463yd) fingering/sockweight, 4-ply construction.

Skein Hand-Dyed Yarns

Skein is a small, independent hand-dyed yarn company based in Australia who love to play with colour and produce unique hand-dyed colourways on high-quality yarns. What I really love about Skein is they can custom dye any of their colourways onto the yarn base of your choice. There are lots of semi-solids, variegated and hand painted colourways to pick from. All you need to decide is what colour and what type of yarn. This is very dangerous as you will not be able to stop at one…..I can guarantee that! Be prepared to take out a small loan!

Skein Hand-Dyed Yarns – Top Draw Socks – Green Tea

Skein Green Tea

I was gobsmacked when I first saw this colourway. I mean isn’t it just beautiful!! Because this yarn is dyed to order, I will have to wait about a month for it to arrive. I can’t wait to get my hands on this gorgeous, luscious, divine yarn. The colourway is Green Tea and it has been hand-painted with the colours spring green, teal, mint and olive.

Skein Hand-Dyed Yarns – Top Draw Socks – Rusty Rock

Skein Rusty Rock

Rusty Rock has undertones of lichen with overtones of rich rust  tones. Yes, another one in autumn tones which is my signature colour scheme.

Skein Hand-Dyed Yarns – Top Draw Socks – Speakeasy

Skein Speakeasy

Speakeasy has been hand-painted with the colours apricot, gold, Han purple and bole. This colourway also jumped out at me as it is such an unusual combination and yet it all works well together.

Skein Hand-Dyed Yarns – Top Draw Socks – Tuscany

Skein Tuscany lge

Tuscany has undertones of flax, fallow and burnt sienna with splashes of deep grey and bright rosso corsa red. When I first saw this colourway I immediately thought of red clay. It’s such an unusual colour and one that I’ve not come across before so my first reaction was ‘I’ve got to have that one’.

Top Draw Socks is a 4ply 85% Superwash Merino, 15% Nylon sock yarn and contains 437 yards/400 metres and weighs 100g per skein.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about and looking at my latest yummy yarnie purchases. Now all I have to do is to wait patiently for most of them to be delivered…..oh yes and also to stay away from online yarn stores until I can reduce my stash! I wonder how long I will last 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll catch you soon.

Melanie