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

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Sunset Shawlette

I purchased one skein of this yarn from Angela’s Shorn Fibers’ Etsy shop quite a while ago. I had no idea what I’d knit, I just knew I loved the colourway which is called ‘Sunset’. A few months later I bought another skein, however, Angela advised me it was a bit lighter than the one I’d previously purchased.

Shorn Fibers Sunset 03-tile

Firstly, I was quite chuffed that she’d either checked or recalled what I’d previously purchased and was kind enough to advise me the skeins were slightly different. I decided to go ahead with the second skein.

Now sometimes I immediately have in mind what I want to knit when I purchase some yarn. Other times I have no idea at all; I simply pack the yarn away and await for some pattern inspiration. The latter scenario is what happened with these two skeins of yarn.

A month or so ago I bought a few knitting pattern books from a local charity stall for 50 cents each. I flicked though one of the magazines and was instantly drawn to this pattern called Stripey Shawlette. This magazine is no longer available and I can’t find a date on it anywhere so I’m not sure what year it was published but what did catch my eye is that the pattern writer also happens to be the owner/operator of another one of my favourite Brisbane online yarn shops called ‘Yay for Yarn’. What a coincidence!

Lets go knitting mag

Stripey Shawlette pic

Here is my Sunset Shawlette which is made a bit larger than the pattern stipulated.

Sunset Shawlette 01

It blocked beautifully and drapes like a dream.

Sunset Shawlette 02

Can you notice the slight difference in ‘brightness’ between the shawl and the ruffle on the edge? I thought this would be the perfect yarn to use as the edge frill is a natural demarcation point where a slight difference in colour wouldn’t matter.

Sunset Shawlette 09

As mentioned, the yarn is Shorn Fibers’ High Twist Singles Fingering which is a 4ply, 100% merino yarn. I used size 4.5mm needles to knit the shawlette. I should probably call it a shawl as it’s a lot larger than a shawlette!

That’s what I love about yarn; sometimes it beckons to be used straight away on a specific knitting project and at other times it is quite happy to nestle warmly with my other stashed yarn until it decides what it would like to be made into J

Sunset Shawlette 03

Sunset Shawlette 04

Here’s a picture of the shawl that shows its unusual construction.

Sunset Shawlette 06

Sunset Shawlette 05

Sunset Shawlette 07

Sunset Shawlette 08

I have also been very busy building a website for the Redlands Spinners & Weavers Inc and I must say I’m very happy with the finished product!

I’ve also just finished blocking two more shawls….just waiting for them to dry off now.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend. Time for a cup of coffee and a snack for me!

Until next time…

Melanie

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.

Squirrel Swift 04

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.

Squirrel Swift 05

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.

Bramble Cowl 03

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.

Bramble Cowl 05

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.

Black lady hangers 01

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.

Black lady hangers 02

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.

Dream in Color Its Native Gold Experience 01

And a close up of that Gold Experience colourway…

Dream in Color Its Native Gold Experience 02

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

A Weekend Yarn Catch Up

You’re probably thinking you’ve not read a post from me for a while about any recent yarn purchases which would logically mean I haven’t bought any yarn. Well the answer is – you’re wrong! How could I not have purchased any yarn I ask you? You should know by now this is one of my weaknesses 🙂

So I’m going to regale you with my stash additions over the last month or so.

We’ll start off with the Canadian Zen Yarn Garden ART WALK Series – The Dream which is the second offering in the new ART WALK Series and features a painting by Pablo Picasso entitled “The Dream” which inspired this colourway. Painted on Serenity 20, Mr. Zen has captured the vividness and subtlety of the colours of the painting. From one medium to the next, artists express their use of colour!

Zen Yarn Garden The Dream 2

Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973) was an artistic virtuoso who co-founded Cubism, and produced an astounding 20,000 paintings, prints, drawings and sculptures during his brilliant 70-year career. Picasso’s unparalleled body of work was so vast, and its phases so unique, that art historians have divided it into specific periods. A child prodigy, Picasso took advanced classes at the Royal Academy of Art in Barcelona when he was only 15. His revolutionary Cubist works, with their distorted shapes and fragmented forms, established art as a genre that does not need to literally represent reality. Zealously embracing every medium from primitive art to sketches to Surrealism, Picasso had an unrivaled influence upon 20th century art.

Serenity 20 is a 70% superwash merino / 20% cashmere / 10% nylon blend, weighs 100g and contains 400 yards. I purchsased two skeins of this gorgeous yarn and still haven’t decided what to make so of course I always welcome any suggestions from you. Yarn Glorius Yarn is the Australian distributor of Zen Yarn Garden and lucky for me they’re situated in Indooroopilly in the western suburbs of Brisbane.

Zen Yarn Garden art-walk-series-The Dream 3

This is the ‘official’ picture of the yarn.

Zen Yarn Garden art-walk-series-The Dream

Dyed by Hand Yarns Tough Stocking is a 75% superwash merino / 25% nylon blend, weighs 100g and contains 423 metres (463 yards). It’s a fingering/sock weight with a 4ply construction. Strong without the scratchy feeling, you don’t notice the nylon in this yarn. Merino wool is well known for its warmth and elasticity, whilst the nylon provides strength. The tight twist means great stitch definition. I can personally guarantee how soft this yarn is. I knitted my In the Limelight socks with Tough Stocking and they are so, so soft.

The following two skeins of yarn are the first offering in this year’s 2013 Simply Sock Club which I discovered while looking through Dyed By Hand Yarn’s website recently. This is how the sock club works: Two skeins of sock yarn are posted out in the last week in March, May and July. Yarns included are 2 x Tough Stocking, 2 x Mother’s Love, 1 x Silk Stocking and 1x Blue Chip Stocking.

What I love about it is that each skein of yarn is dyed in a colour inspired by something Australian. These colours are exclusive to yarn club members for 12 months and custom dyeing of these colours on any yarn base may be ordered by yarn club members for the duration of the club. The following colourway is Spotted Gum and I’m in love with the beautiful blends that are contained in this skein.

Dyed By Hand Yarn Spotted Gum

They certainly contain those Australian Spotted Gum hues don’t they?

Dyed By Hand Yarn Spotted Gum Flower

The following colourway is called Vegemite. Julie certainly has a wonderful imagination. Who’d have thought to produce such a colourway. I’m thinking of making a nice shawl with this yarn.

Dyed By Hand Yarn Vegemite

I bet you thought this yarn was initially just black. Well look closely at all those lovely colours throughout the yarn. Gorgeous aren’t they?

Dyed by Hand Yarn Vegemite 02

I purchased the following yarn during Yay for Yarn’s recent Easter Sale. The first yarn is Pico Accuardi and the limited edition colourway ‘Sneaker Wave’ was produced especially for Yarns on Stage. It’s a 100% superwash merino, weighs 100g, is 347.5 metres (380 yards) in length and is a 4ply yarn. It’s quite different from the usual autumn shades that I usually buy however I was quite taken with these blends of colours.

Pico Accuardi 2

This yarn is Three Irish Girls Carys BFL – Padraig. It’s a smooth yarn that’s easy to knit with and the long staple length of BFL helps Carys wear well and maintain its shape better than other soft wools. This yarn is made in the UK using wool which is humanely raised in an environmentally consicious manner. A DK/light worsted weight, this yarn may be suitable for projects requiring 8-10ply weight yarns. It’s a 100% Blue Faced Leicester wool that weighs 100g and contains 210 metres (230 yards).

I’m thinking maybe a hat and cowl for winter.

Three Irish Sisters Carys BFLPadraig_300 a

Alchemy Yarns Migration (Meadowlark) is a luxurious blend of wool and silk. Migration is top dyed and spun into a soft single ply DK/8ply weight yarn that moves through subtle gradations of colour. The colourways are inspired by and named after migrating birds and will produce softly blended bands of harmonious shades without a regular repeat. It’s a 30% silk / 70% wool blend, weighs 50g and contains 155 metres (170 yards). I bought two skeins of this yarn. The colours are beautiful!

Alchemy Yarns Migration - Meadowlark

This Shorn Fibres yarn is a 40% Baby Alpaca / 40% Merino Wool / 20% Silk blend and is Singles DK and weighs 100g. Each skein contains 252 yards.

I only discovered Shorn Fibres last week while I was delving in one of Ravelry’s Groups and just couldn’t resist purchasing some of Angela’s yarn. Angela is an Indie Dyer based in semi rural Queensland (near the Lockyer Valley), Australia. She dyes yarn in small batches using professional grade dyes. I love this Autumn Leaves colourway.

Shorn Fibres Autumn Leaves

Here’s a different aspect of the colourway…..the wound ball of yarn. That reddish colour is actually more orange…must be a combination of the camera and photographer! The photo above reflects the true colours of the yarn.

Shorn Fibers Autumn Leaves 03

I plan to knit a hat and scarf with this yarn in a fairly plain pattern so show off the lovely autumn shades.

Shorn Fibers 02

Cascade 220 Superwash is a 10 ply worsted weight, machine washable, 100% pure wool yarn. It comes in 100 gram balls of 220 yards/201 metres. One ball is enough to make a hat. 1-2 for a childrens cardigan or sweater. Two for a scarf. 4-5 for a baby blanket.

This yarn is also great for making blankets and afghans which is what I am aiming to make…..a crocheted chevron blanket. I have used a bit of this yarn to knit two baby hats which I blogged about here and here. One is the mock cable baby hat and the other is the ribbed pumpkin hat.

I picked up these balls of yarn for $9 each as they’re the end of the dyelot. Another great buy from Yarn Glorious Yarn. I must have been logged onto my computer when the email first arrived advising of the sale as I managed to get all the colours I liked….they certainly didn’t last long!

Cascade 220 Superwash 841 Moss-tile

And now for something completely different to finish off….here’s a mosaic of all the socks I’ve knitted to date. You haven’t seen the last pair (bottom right hand corner) but I will be posting a blog about them very, very soon. There’ll be a photo in that blog that I guarantee will make your mouth water. That will keep you wondering now won’t it?

25 socks-tile

That’s all for now. I’m off to get some dinner ready…..marinated salmon in sweet chilli and lime and some salad and then finish off another pair of socks I have on the go.

Have a great weekend. Until next time…

Melanie

Leaves of Whimsy Socks…….. Pair # 15

I love this Leaves of Whimsy sock pattern created by Rebecca Mercier and published as one of the many free sock knitting patterns on Ravelry.

Leaves of Whimsy 1

This is a lovely sock pattern but takes a bit of concentration. You also need to be extra careful at the end of each Row 1 where it ends with a yo as it’s easy for a large hole to form. I used size 2.5mm dpns with this yarn. It’s a very fine yarn. In hindsight I should probably have used 2.75mm dpns as the socks are quite snug. I am notorious for not knitting tension squares so it’s my own fault.

Reduced the number of repeats for the leg from 5 to 4. Five would have been too long and not have gone up around my calf.

Leaves of Whimsy 5

The yarn I used is Ty-Dy Socks by Knit One Crochet Too. I love all the different greenish shades too. It’s very appropriately called ‘camouflage’. I purchased this yarn from one of my favourite Brisbane online yarn shops – Yay for Yarn.

Ty-Dy Socks - Camouflage

This is the first sock I’ve knitted where the leg pattern continues down the heel flap and I must say I rather like it.

Leaves of Whimsy 2

Leaves of Whimsy 3

As you can tell from all my socks, I’m a bit partial to autumn colours as I find them so relaxing and easy to blend as there are so many autumn colours available.

Leaves of Whimsy 4

Leaves of Whimsy Socks 6

Hope you had a fantastic Christmas Day….no doubt you are now gearing up for New Year’s Eve!

Talk soon

Melanie