Slack at blogging but not slack with the needles

So apparently I have been slackity slack slack updating this blog. I will claim that I was too busy knitting with Nerd Wars T4. But before I launch into T5…here’s some random other pics of T4 projects I completed.

More colourwork aka the Sandpiper cowl

A neckwarmer (Edelweiss) from the my first handspun and hand dyed yarn

Stranded in Oz merino/lyocel Melbourne Twilight



Stranded in Oz Dark Matter



Habitat hat (aka let’s try some more complicated cables)(Cascade 220)

Textured shawl recipe (Bendigo Alpaca)

Currently on the needles….two pairs of pink socks, a scarf and a long neglected shawl. I also have yarn for a Color Affection. Knit knit knit!


Colour steps

So I said in my crafty resolutions that I wanted to try some colourwork projects. Now I will confess, my only real experience with colour work (other than contrast heels and toes on socks) is a very ill conceived attempt at an intarsia sweater when I was a teenager. It involved mohair, a fox pattern, batwings (it was the eighties!) and basically was a project way above my knitting paygrade. It never got finished (as my mother who paid for the yarn at the time still likes to remind me) and I kind of swore off colour work (come to think of it that was possibly the project that put me off knitting way back when too!).

But when my sil was over for the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show, she showed me a DVD of someone doing two handed fair isle (this is an extract of it…it’s a Canadian company called Philosopher’s wool). And it was kind of intriguing even though my brain went “what, how, crazypants”. (And yes, we watch knitting DVDs. Knitting nerds, unite!)

I will admit that a lot of Fair Isle I look at and think wow, amazing work, but it’s a bit too busy for my personal taste. But I have been stumbling over color work patterns on Ravelry that I like so it seemed like time to give it a go (I’m still avoiding Intarsia like the plague). Being my usual Virgo self, I ordered a book or two on the subject (Virgos must READ ALL THE THINGS and KNOW ALL THE STUFF before starting something) then determined that I would order some yarn for a hat pattern in one of the books. In the meantime, I wanted to practice, so I trotted off to the LYS and got three balls of wool and decided to knit the sampler purse pattern from the Philosopher’s Wool page I linked to. Only in eight ply. Because the thought of trying to manage multiple balls of yarn and teeny needles seemed liable to do my head in.

Anyway, this is how far I’ve gotten so far (about three quarters-ish)

Not too bad. The tension seems okay and I figured out not to change the order in which the yarns come over or under after the first five rows or so. And that row near the top with white blue white blue white blue. I totally knitted that using the two handed technique! My continental tensioning continues to suck but I shall work on it as it’s definitely faster than wrangling both yarns in my right hand. Best of all, I’m quite enjoying it! See what happens when you try stuff?

So when my hat yarn arrives I’ll be ready to dive in. My only thought with the whole stranded colour work is that it essentially produces a double thickness knitted fabric, which is going to be maybe TOO warm for Aussie conditions. Then again, I am the chick who feels cold when everyone else is warm, so maybe that’s a good thing.

So, one resolution progressing. My ankle is mending so hopefully I can get back into the spinning soon too! And in a fit of madness, I have signed up for Nerd Wars on Ravelry…eagerly awaiting my team assignment, so I have to make at least one project a month for the next few months.

A tale of two shawls

I’ve been busy busy with writing things (my very first book comes out in just over two weeks!) but have managed to finish two more projects. I get cold easily so I’m a big fan of wraps and scarves and shawls and am trying to bolster my supply.

Firstly…a small shawl…The Age of Brass and Steam shawl out of lovely soft PearTree supersoft merino. This is gorgeous snuggled around your neck. It’s about 150cm at its widest point and 54cm deep.



The second shawl is a bit bigger. Probably about five years ago, my sil gave me a lovely smallish shawl that I use as a writing shawl. I always liked the pattern (Landscape Shawl by Evelyn Clark) so when I came across it at Bendigo last year, I bought it. And realised that you could make bigger versions. Marry that with said sil also having some gorgous deep oceany blue green 10 ply for sale at the time and a project was born. I didn’t get around to starting it until this year though but now it’s done! It’s about 170 cm wide by 93 deep, so quite a bit bigger. And that’s without being the full pattern as I didn’t have quite enough yarn. Nor have I blocked it terribly hard. It will be an extra snuggly shawl for writing or sitting on the couch in winter.



Close up

Both of these were relatively speedy projects. The grey shawl, I knitted half of jetlagged on our day of waiting for our onwards flight to NY in LA and probably could’ve knitted the rest in another day or so if I’d had another marathon session. I did an extra repeat, so mine is bigger than the pattern. The Landscape shawl takes a little bit more concentration for the changing sections but grows fast once you get the hang of it.

Now I just need yarn to arrive to my next two projects. I’m doing a Knit along with a couple of fantasy loving friends for the Dragon Wing Shawl from Knitty (waiting for a skein of Dream in Colour Baby in Bermuda Teal) and I also signed up for the Knitspot Fall in Full Color club as I’ve always liked Anne’s patterns and thought this would be a good way to ensure I make some of them. I did the pattern only option due to budget. The first pattern is a laceweight pattern but because I’m doing the shawl in a lace/light fingering, I decided to do it in 4ply, so I’m waiting on some more Dye My Pretties yarn from Stranded in Oz. I’m sure I said after Bendigo, no more yarn buying for awhile. Hopefully the next few Knitspot patterns can be accommodated out of stash! I’m still working on a pair of socks and a cabled scarf too…oh and another lace shawl. Need a clone army to get more knitting time!

More socks

It must be sock finishing week as, lo, I have managed to finish another pair.

These are the Riverbed master pattern from New Pathways for Sock Knitters: Book One by Cat Bordhi. Knitted in nice cushy 8ply Merino in various shades of New Greens and Blues by Stranded In Oz. I was worried about running out of the darker one so swapped to the lighter shade for the legs but I think, looking at how much yarn I used of the lighter, I might have almost made it (I’m hopeless at eyeballing how much yarn I have left). But I think they kind of look like the feet are wet, as though you stepped into a river, which is fitting given the name.

I found the pattern really easy to follow and fast to knit (yay for thicker socks), and even though these are a little big (purely due to me stuffing up somewhere in the calculations and nothing else), I’ll definitely be making Riverbed socks again. They seem to fit my high instep very nicely and the heel is very easy to do. I could’ve frogged these back a bit and fixed them but I just wanted a nice warm pair for wearing with slippers round the house and they’ll do that nicely. Plus I practiced cabling without a cable needle on the leg (which having just looked at this tutorial again, I realised I did a little bit wrong but hey, it still worked).

But next up, sockwise, I’m moving onto Cat’s other book…Personal Footprints for Insouciant Sock Knitters: Book Two in the New Pathways for Sock Knitters Series and trying that method out. Which involves….eeeek……cutting the knitting at one point! It may yet require alcohol.

For those I have this lovely stuff:

Which is the new Mitey Sock by Stranded In Oz. The colourway is KDO serendipity, one of Melissa’s random mixes…it makes me think of an underwater garden somehow.


The demon socks are finally done! I would have finished them in the US but stupidly did not take the first sock or make notes on where I changed colour for the leg after finishing the heel. But they are done now. And if I ever knit socks for my dad again, they’re going to be 8ply. Men have big feet.

But yay, they are done so I can turn back to my other projects without guilt. Including some socks for me, given how cold Melbourne’s winter is being.

And here is the proof. The pattern is Diamond Gansey from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson. It’s a nice easy pattern. I subbed in her gusset heel as I prefer those and I knitted these as 78 stitches, so added a stitch or two to the lace pattern. The leg is a 3×3 rib, so I increased another stitch each side in the middle of the row when I wanted to start ribbing.

Bendigo spoils

Have been up at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show today and this morning and thus must show off my stash enhancing aquisitions. I was relatively restrained (even though these pics may indicate otherwise)….

Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply Alpaca…destined to be this scarf (and maybe the hat too).

Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury Merino 4ply…for a planned shawl. (more blue-grey than grey as it looks here)

More Bendigo Alpacas because it was on sale and pretty blue (probably another scarf of some sort)

A nostepinne (which one uses to wind skeins of wool into balls when one can’t be bothered hauling out the swift and the ballwinder).

Moseley Park 70% Merino 30% Tussah silk fibre (Colourway is Balm)

Tarndwarncoort 4ply Polwarth

Handpainted Finn (4ply again, I think) Love this colourway…it looks like stormclouds. Am going to have to make a shawl out of this.

And now onto the Stranded in Oz pretties. Because, let’s face it, I always buy more of Melissa’s stuff whenever I come within fifty feet of it (or even just looking at it on the interwebs). She’d outdone herself this year, simply beautiful colours and yarns. I have pics of her stand too but will check with her before posting them.

This is her June 2011 Fibre Club fibre…Merino Lyocell in Melbourne Twilights (slightly pinker than this) and Black Diamond Bamboo

Silk Sock Yarn (Ocean Blues)…will probably be another shawl and once again this yarn falls somewhat foul of the hard to photograph certain blues and greens rule! It’s even prettier in reality.

Superwash Merino 8ply (am making some handwarmers and then a matching scarf or socks)…and I will apologise for this shot as the greens just won’t photograph true to life. It really is the most beautiful malachite/good green opal green with opaline blues.

And again in “Drama Queen”

Sterling Sock Yarn in Heaven (it sparkles…I must have sparkly socks!)

And more sock yarn that has lost its tag. I think it’s the Dye My Pretties sock in Fairies in the Garden…

Btw, if anyone has SIOz yarn lust now, she’s also doing the Craft and Quilt fair in Melbourne in 2 weeks time or there’s the online store or she has a stall at the Port Adelaide Market in Adelaide every Sunday.

Some international yarn hunting

So I am currently in New York, so naturally have to check out some local yarn stores to play with some American yarn…

So far have been to Purl Soho and scored these:

Spud and Chloe Fine Sock in Calypso (which is more aqua than this pic)

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino light in Pop Rocks (awesome deep pink)

And Knitty City where I added these beauties

Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Bronzed Lake

And more Madelinetosh…this time the Pashmina in Ink (darker and more indigo than it looks here)

I think most of these are going to end up as shawls for me. I could do some serious damage to my credit card here but it all has to fit in the suitcase plus I have many beautiful yarns waiting for me at home too. Plus I want to have a little bit of money to spend at Bendigo!

Random pretties

Have spent part of the morning playing with my yarn stash and my new camera so I can practice with the latter and get the former up to date on Ravelry so I stop deluding myself that I have made stash inroads. There is still plenty of yarn in the stash! Maybe I need to pic a project for each yarn and not let myself buy more until I have made some of them (er apart from NY and Bendigo and, um, the box I’m expecting from Stranded In Oz, any minute now.

But it’s nice to have an excuse to fondle one’s yarn. I’m picky about how yarn feels, particularly if I’m planning it to be something that will go anywhere near my face/neck where certain wools make me itch, so my stash is just a big bundle of pretty, nice feeling things. Like a rainbow of kittens that don’t bite and scratch (or purr…ooh, purring yarn, that would be awesome! Like the living fur in Brothers In Arms.)

Anyway, having loaded all the pics onto my Rav stash, I thought I’d share a few here too. And I swear there are some things in my stash that are not blue, green or blue green. Really. Just not many. Need more pink.

Stranded In Oz Wool/Merino roving in Dark Matter (Am half way through spinning this, so this is what’s left) This is from this year’s fibre club.

Stranded In Oz Handpainted Wensleydale top in Bottle (ditto re fibre club)

Stranded in Oz Merino sock

Stranded in Oz Alpaca/Wool sock (have to knit something with this soon, so soft and squishy!) (last year’s SiOz yarn club)

Knit Picks Shimmer Lace in Shallows

String Theory Caper Sock (with Cashmere! We likey) Bye Bye Blues (gifty from Melissa, I believe)

And now, back to the non yarny world!

Sock saga

I am a bad crafter lately, or maybe an absent crafter. Am officially running out of hours in the day. My spinning has progressed to half the Dark Matter.

I have started the second half on a new bobbin and hopefully one day it will be finished and plied. The weather is turning distinctly chilly which means the knitting yen is returning (I tend not to knit much in Australia over summer as it’s hot…also because this summer I learned to spin instead). But before I can make anything for myself I have to finish a pair of socks for my Dad and a shawl for someone else. Dad’s socks are one of those projects that just won’t grow, dammit, even though I don’t mind the pattern. The yarn is one that’s nicer once it’s washed, so a bit scratchy to knit plus men’s feet are loooooooooonnnnnnggggg, I keep managing to have needle disasters (aka slipping out of the wool or dropping stitches randomly which I don’t usually do), last night I failed the heel in the pattern completely and am now substituting a different heel and really, the thought of the second one waiting to be knitted is not that appealing. But we shall persevere! Hopefully my horrible suspicion that I may run out of the main yarn will turn out to be wrong….

But I am calling them the Devil socks in my head…see they even refuse to photograph nicely.

There are also discussions being had with the new cat over knitting etiquette. She’s pretty good with the spinning wheel, she watches it and occasionally tries to tap the yarn (especially if one stops and has a dangly bit) but mostly leaves it alone. But the knitting apparently is all Dangly! Wiggly! String! Mine! so we have extreme knitting with bonus random doses of cat pouncing at the moment. I’m hoping she’ll lose interest eventually, the other two never really thought it that fascinating…Tabasco mostly minded that I didn’t always let him sit in my lap while knitting. Anyone else got a project that just won’t die?

Bendigo spoils

Yesterday the lovely Jo and I roadtripped it up to Bendigo for the annual Sheep and Wool Show. The weather cooperated and was cold but not rainy so we could drive and traipse around the show without fearing for our lives on the highway or getting soggy at the show.

As per last year, I was hardpressed to not try and kidnap an alpaca but I resisted the urge and instead we focused our efforts on stocking up on yarn (and some lovely soaps). So herewith the booty obtained:

Pear Tree Yarn’s Supersoft 8 ply merino. Possibly destined for a small shawl of some sort. If I stop petting it.

Bamboo/Wool/Nylon sock yarn from Mosley Park. The colourway is called overcast and as we were driving back towards Melbourne in the late afternoon we decided it was well named as the sun just starting to set overcast sky was indeed these shades of pale blue and silver and sand-with-hint-of-pink.

Then of course, I had to raid Melissa’s stall as she is my favourite yarn purveyor. All attempts at self control go out the window at this point.

4 ply premium Merino Sock yarn (Loch Ness) Maybe socks. Maybe a shawl.

3ply Merino sock yarn. (Sooty). Mostly likely a scarf or shawl.

Handpainted Kollage Fantastic (10 ply merino). Not quite sure yet. (Mid-Blues)

More Premium Merino Sock yarn in what I have decided is the world’s most impossible colour to photograph. It’s more emeraldy than this and a semi-solid I guess. Beautiful in reality.

And then there was this that batted its eyelashes at me and refused to be left behind.

Laguna in Peacock.

Then, of course, after forcibly dragging ourselves away from the show, there was the Mill to be visited on the way home.

Melody in the Sapphire colorway. This ball has friends but they didn’t all want to be photographed.

To finish, the obligatory cute alpaca shot!