Another ending, another beginning

It’s the end of the year. How did that happen? Same as every year, in a flurry of frantic activity and good eating, spent with lovely friends (though not family this year!)

A strange thing has occurred. I have found myself at the end of the year with not a thing on the needles. Oh sure i’ve got some hibernating projects back in Aus, and I have a swatch of a cardi I’m about to start soon, but I finished up 3 projects this month and have not yet cast anything on!

Forgive the shocking photos, but I finished the most beautiful jumper that I’ve been wanting to knit for absolutely ages two days ago.

Emily by Kim Hargreaves, knit in the recommended Kid Classic

After this photo was taken I did actually lengthen it by 2 inches. I wore it with the dress and it was fine, but i knew it would feel too short with some skirts and all my trousers (not that I wear jeans very often any more!) so I popped in a knitting needle just above the texturing on the hem, snipped away and added in all the extra yarn i had in the stocking stitch section before reworking the hem. Worked very well thank you very much!

I also finished (having knit almost TWICE) my Stellaria shawl. I had to frog it when I was almost finished the first time as I was going to run out of yarn! I frogged it and reworked it with one less repeat and it is now complete and beautiful! Again forgive the crappy blocking photo, but there’s very little space and even less light here at the moment!

Stellaria in a beautiful hand dyed silk and wool from Edinburgh. The colour is actually pretty accurate, it’s a very very soft green

The other project was my one solitary knitted christmas gift, a pair of mitts for darling Kylie. I don’t have a photo as I finished them christmas eve and they went straight into wrapping paper, but I’ll ask her nicely and maybe she’ll oblige…

I will aim to get nicer photos of everything and do a collage early in the new year of 2013’s knits, but some nice things happened – I did a Mystery KAL, I got asked by Twist Collective if they could use my photo of my Mary Jane in their newsletter and I knit quite a few jumpers that I’ve been meaning to knit for a while. My crafting resolutions back in January were to take better photos (true during summer!) and to knit more around my friends. Well despite not really doing much of the latter, I’ve managed to get some pretty hefty projects done!

2013 Round up:

  • hats and headbands – 3 of each.
  • shawls, scarves and cowls – 6, including a half-swapsies cowl with Katie!
  • jumpers and tops – 5! one crocheted, and two short sleeved, but one lace weight!
  • mitts – 2 pairs, both gifts
  • small people things – just the 2 vests for Mat and Gemma’s daughters
  • socks – NONE! but I did knit a pair of spats – which i LOVE! And I made my first pair of felted slippers

So not my most productive year volume wise, but a lot of big projects in there! I also was pretty light on the yarn buying! excluding yarn for gifts and commissions, I bought 24 skeins of yarn (7 of which are felted tweed which was mostly covered by a gift card for my birthday) and swapped one for a skien of madtosh. I also received a beautiful hand dyed skein from Ursula for my birthday. I knit a hell of a lot more than that! (around 40?). So yay me!

I hope your crafting year was fun and productive, and may your new year be filled with yarn, thread, ribbons, pins, fabric and all other things that make you happy!

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Swatching

It appears one cannot have a knitting blog without posting at least once about the joys and perils of swatching.

I am not a swatcher. BUT, I am completely ok with pulling out a ball’s worth of project on the discovery that it is going to be too big (it’s never too small).

You would think that, by now, I would have just learnt to go down a needle size, but it’s not every project! and, to be honest, if i do swatch, I almost always get gauge. SWATCHES LIE!. I think when i knit a swatch, I’m so keen to get it done that i knit furiously and therefore my tension is tighter. Also, I tend to knit on circs, and when i swatch, the stitches stay mostly on the needles and i am SURE this affects the overall tension. So instead I tend to just start knitting, wait until i’m a decent way in (1/2 – 1 ball usually) and then measure. If it’s way off, I’ll start again. If it’s slightly off, I’ll persevere, maybe try it on if i can to see how it’s going.

Then of course there’s the garment that’s perfect as one knits it, but too big once blocked. But generally i find after a wear or two they spring back, not to mention the fact that again, if i knit and wash a swatch, it’s usually fine, but doesn’t take into account the weight of the garment as a whole. Then there’s patterns and knit flat/ knit in the round considerations and i just can’t be doing with it all!! There’s always lovely friends of all shapes and sizes to gift to if worse comes to worst. Also? Knitting can be pulled out and started again. Not ideal with a cardi or jumper, but eh, life rarely gives you do-overs, so look at it in the best light (after swearing a lot)!

This is a tale of a swatch though.

Yes, I swatched! but not so much for gauge, as for colour!

I’m planning on doing little birds by Ysolda Teague. I bought the pattern ages ago when she was donating funds to help Haiti. Since I’m in the UK and my local LYS has Jamieson and Smith shetland, I thought I’d pick out some colours and if not start it while i’m here, at least have it ready to go. I bought a few colours to play with about a year ago (whoops) and finally got around to the onerous task of swatching.

Ignoring the fact that my birdies are completely screwed up (this was more about tension and colour than getting the pattern right) I’m really happy with this.

First tension – I’m getting 14 stitches over 2″ in colour work – the required amount is 28″ over 10cm. Booyah! Also, if anything my tension is a bit tight on this, so it will be a nice change to be able to knit the size i think i am for once!

secondly, colour. I bought a couple of different colours to play with, with the intention of doing the colour scheme I did above, but if it didn’t work, to pick the two or three colours I liked. I honestly thought I would be doing the 2 different colour birdies with just the one colour ‘leaves’. I wanted a bluey green for the leaves (those who know me will not be surprised by that) so thought I’d go a nice contrasty purple for the birds. The middle colour is much more in keeping with the tone of the purple that it shows in the photo. It’s less red and the purple is not quite so blue. So the effect is a row of birdies and leave in a rich, dark colour, then a row of birdies and leaves in a slightly less saturated colour. I really like the effect in real life. In this photo it’s a more stark contrast.

Here’s another photo…

Everyone i’ve showed it to in person thinks that it looks great with the four colours. In the photos i’m not so sure it works. Which is a pity, because i really wanted your opinions on it!! So if you want to give an opinion, just take my word that the raspberry colour is not as rusty as it looks here, but a pinker, slightly less saturated colour.

when I first knit the row of teal, I wasn’t sure against the neutral background, but actually it looks great.

Oh why is this so hard!

help!

A Cross- Continental Cowl

This is Katie

I hope she doesn’t mind me using a rav photo!!

She is my knitting bestie and one of the most awesome housemates I’ve ever had. We had a lot of fun together and I know that whenever we are together we will still have a lot of fun together.

So when Ysolda Teague and Stephanie Dosen (of Tiny Owl Knits) released a BFF friendship cowl pattern on Knitty last year Katie immediately nudged me (remotely) and said, hey now that you are oh so far away, we should totally do this!
So we did!
I have access to all the fun English yarns at the moment, and we had a convenient makeshift-postie in the form of the travelling Ursula who was visiting her family, so I sent Katie two skeins of Old Maiden Aunt in Midnight and kept 2 for myself in Dreicht (a horrible sounding but truly BEAUTIFUL colour)
we worked away making the sport/DK weight yarn look good in what is technically a worsted weight pattern and sent photos of our efforts to each other
experimentation with extra stitches and pattern repeats!

experimentation with extra stitches and pattern repeats!

When at last we had completed our ‘seed pod’ links, we posted them to the other side of the world, complete with little goodies and helloes (I send Katie the most horrendously bad postcard of all time and some british noms)

Then came the task of grafting the links

grafting the first...

grafting the first…

grafting the second!

…grafting the second!

Final step? WEAR! though of course it’s too hot now! but it will get cold again soon and for oh so long. meanwhile, Katie’s link is protecting her from the dreary Melbourne winter!

I did use the inconvenient sunshine to take some awesome pics though!

IMG_1833 IMG_1835

How gorgeous is that yarn! such a dream to knit with too. I can’t wait to wear this… well, I can, because i love London in the summer, but it will be a little bit of bliss come the Autumn rains!

So…. It’s now June.

And I have been a very slack blogger indeed.

Here are some things that i made while I was not blogging.

First Up, I mentioned knitting things for little people. well, little people get bigger and grow out of the little things I make for them, and a dear friend recently requested not one, but two new items for her daughters.

Evelyn was given an elephant intarsia vest* when she was a new person, and her little sister Lillian got owls* (because everyone is fond of owls). Of course they are both much bigger now, and mum requested a vest for Evelyn and one for Lillian too. we picked out a selection of cabled vests, and Evelyn picked hers and Lillian picked a different one (of course), we decided on colours, and then i came back to London and made it happen!

The Twisty River Vest for Evelyn

The Street Vest for Lillian

I used Cascade 220 for both since it’s hard wearing, warm and available in great colours. They were both quick and easy patterns and after sending them back to Aus, I got the best thank you I could – a photo with in a week of the vests being worn!

Ok! next up…

For christmas/my birthday, the lovely Mel at Recipe for a Yarn gave me some hand carded fibre. I spun the lovely duck egg blue up before i even left Aus and it became a lovely smooshy bulky 2 ply. It was screaming at me that it wanted to be a cowl, and so, a cowl it is! I wish i’d had a smidgeon more so it could be a little wider, but I love it and it’s very warm and snuggly!

just a simple moss stitch worked in the round til it could be worked no more.

Thank you Mel, I love it!

and, we continue on to…. another long story!

I took up swing dancing last year when i got to London. I absolutely love it, but it’s not exactly something I can do in my winter boots. So this winter I was faced with a problem… either I wear shoes I can dance in and my calves/legs get cold (jeans are also not condusive to dancing) or I wear my boots and have to lug a pair of shoes around, which is just annoying. Until I decided to finally knit myself a piece of nostalgia.

Spats*!

Don’t you just love the buttons? so steampunky!

I finished them in february and thanks to the cold spring, have worn them a few times. they are indeed perfect for wearing with little flats over tights or leggings with my swing dancey type dresses and they are surprisingly effective! I’m very pleased!

And I have apparently developed a thrifty side when it comes to yarn since living in London (which is pricey and has a very small stash available to me), as I used the left over dark grey to whip up a nice chunky tweedy, go with everything, keep me toasty, hat!

Jane*, by Jane Richmond, It shows the Brooklyn Tweed nicely and is really long – not a style I usually go for, but I seem to rock it!

That’s not the only yarn to do me double duty! Late last year I picked up two skeins of the omg-so-soft Juno Alice sock. It’s not really suitable for socks, but it is suitable for lovely shawls. Especially when you have put on said shawl in yarn store and not wanted to take it off, thus leading you to buy the exact same colours in the exact same yarn to do said shawl. Which is what happened.

stripes and lace – so satisfying!

And so I present Selena*. Pretty isn’t it. Sadly it did warm up just as I finished this, so i really haven’t worn it yet!

And the other project? well, I’ve only ever managed to lose one thing on the tube, and it was my beautiful ishbel beret that I made last year from the angora blend I picked up in Gothenburg. *sob* I was gutted. Not only was it a hand knit, but it was made from souvenir yarn that would be a bitch to replace. So when I realised I’d have enough of the contrast colour from this shawl to whip up a replacement, I figured it would fill some of the void my carelessness had left.

My second ishbel beret – a little tight in the band, but soft and delicate!

And one other thing to show you before i disappear off into internet silence again.

I picked up some jitterbug on sale (thanks Loop!) and not being able to decide which colour i prefered I got both Florentina and Velvet Olive, a perfect combo for stripes. At first I was talked into doing the Tempest cardigan, but i’ve never really been in love with it, despite seeing some amazing finished products (Sonia and Sharon come to mind) and I’ve certainly never really liked it with a strongly variegated yarn. So I found this pattern instead – Elfe* – a very simple, elegant tee, that works quite well with a semi-solid picking up a tone in the variegated yarn! It was bloody easy too and done in a month! this i HAVE worn a few times, perfect for London ‘summer’!

Such pretty colours! great with shorts or jeans.

It was also my first time doing the contiguous sleeve method, which i really liked and would totally do again. Top down seamless is the way to go!

Well, there’s my post that proves I have been productive in other ways, if not in the blogging sense. I’m currently working on the BFF cowl with Katie (more to come) and my first crocheted garment for me! exciting times.

*ravelry link

The Winter of the Jumper

It’s been cold. I’m sure it’s not overly cold by a lot of the world’s standards. Definitely not by Canadian Standards, or Scandanavian standards, or Russian standards, but by little old Aussie standards? cold. there’s been SNOW. I mean come on!

Mid last year i finished my lettuce pullover with a few mods. It looked a little like this:

I love this jumper. completely and utterly. It’s lightweight, warm and flattering.

So I decided to knit another one.

I can hear you all now. what? are you crazy? that took you 6 whole months. It’s a jumper done in freaking LACEWEIGHT you fool!

I said the same things, believe me, but when i saw that Loop had gotten in some new wollmeise lace in my favourite colour, it was only a matter of time before i managed to talk myself into it. About 30 minutes, to be precise. There was the knowledge that great colours go quickly in the WM lace, the love for this beautiful object i’d created, excitement about perfecting it even more with a few more mods, and the knowledge that I would be flying to and from Australia at christmas.

That was the cincher. After all, I’d started my first lettuce on the plane to the UK, seemed only fitting that I take one solitary stocking stitch project back with me.

And now, less than two months after casting on, I have my second, even more perfect, lettuce pullover

forgive the fuzziness, my camera never knows where to focus in the mirror!

But this was not the only jumper knitted for myself these past cold months. Late last year I finally got to knit with the delight that is Rowan Lima. I’d been wanting to knit Briar by Kim Hargreaves in this yarn for a while, and when the colour i wanted was discontinued i thought it was time to buy it, and after knitting a jumper in laceweight, one in a gauge of 20 or so stitches over 4″ seemed very appealing.

It was damn speedy too!

It’s a deep boatneck, and sadly the alpaca is stretching out, so it’s sort of slouchy and sloppy, but SO warm and cuddly!

And super soft too! very touchable.

So my body has been nice and warm, but lets not forget about my hands and head! while i came prepared with many mittens and gloves, fingerless and otherwise, I used the lovely shetland yarn purchased in Edinburgh to create some finger warming beauties. I’m highly aware that mittens are overkill for aussie winters, so i’ve been getting the most out of them!

I love them! Anemoi by Eunny Jang! I haven’t blocked them, because i started wearing them, but they’ve been settling with wear, so the stitches look nice and even, if i do say so myself!

I also used some of the left overs from Briar to create a super warm squishy (if not completely suited for my head/face) hat – Kat, another Kim pattern!

I’m working on some spats so I can wear them over stockings and little flats when on my way to swing dancing, and two vests for a dear friend’s daughters back in Aus. Then it’s time for another jumper!

2012 round up

lettuce jumper * meret * petit artichaut * original cowl * louise as dress * aeolian shawl * offset raglan * miss moreland’s neck warmer * waffle mitts * sylvi * poppy gloves * hydrangea cowl * veyla mitts *sherilyn shawl * original hat * anemoi mitts * original mask * chevalier * poppy hat

2012:

25 projects finished

  • 5 presents for new people
  • 3 presents for not-so-new people
  • 3 cowls
  • 3 adult jumpers/coats
  • 4 adult hats (one lost!!! *cry*)
  • 2 shawls (one handspun)
  • 5 sets mitts/mittens
  • one crochet mask

This year has been a bit of a selfish knitting year – or at least it would have been if all my friends didn’t keep reproducing! This year i got to knit for some little girls so I went a bit crazy on the pink, dresses and general femininity. Living in London, I also went a bit crazy on the WARM, which was fun. I’ve made two jumpers which i love, including the laceweight lettuce, which i love so much i’m knitting another. Given it took 6 months all up, that shows how much i love it, though i’m steaming ahead on my second one, thanks to 2 25+ hour flights to aus and back.

I feel like i wasn’t very productive this year, which i think comes down to a few things: fewer regular knitting nights  (I miss you richmond girls!), fewer knitting friends in general, more non-knitting conducive socialising and a few really long-term projects (lettuce and aeolian took up a good 2-3 months of almost bygamous knitting)

I’ve barely been spinning as it turns out i do love spinning on the wheel SO much more than the spindle. I did spin a little when i was back in Australia which reminded me how much fun it is to watch this fluff become this useful thing. I will try to spindle a bit more!

I’ve also discovered that I’m even worse at taking photos of FOs when it gets dark at 4pm! I finished 2 Rowan Lima projects – briar and kat – months ago and am yet to take a photo of either, even bad ones!

So, my 2013 crafting resolutions are to photograph my FOs properly, get my london friends more used to my knitting in public and knit (mostly) from the stash under my bed – i don’t want to have to take it back to Aus when they kick me out in 2014!

Happy New Year!

It’s 2012. but you knew that, because you are on the interwebs, which means you are looking at some kind of electronic equipment that knows the date and time. But i digress

Happy New Year my lovely crafterly friends, from near and far – WordPress tells me that i have readers all over the world, but particularly from the UK (see you there soon!) and US! so Hi! I also had 47 SF cable car’s worth of people traipse across my site. which is lovely! i also just realised that may well be the first time i have ever written or perhaps even read the word traipse. I had absolutely no idea how to spell it, but i guessed and I think i’m right, so yay!

My year of being a Notorious sock knitter with the Rockin’ Sock club has come to a close. My last installment for the year has been my favourite – which is good. It’s a bit of a pity, because i found the experience to be a little underwhelming. I didn’t LOVE any of the colourways this year, though i had a lot of respect for the dyeing, especially with aubergenius and pinky swear (Jan) which were such a perfect match. The patterns were a bit hit and miss for me. The ones i liked i felt I had seen similar things before and the ones i felt were really original didn’t grab me at all. And while the community were lovely and welcoming, i wasn’t as involved as i could have been. But still, I have done it and i can cross it off my knitting bucket list!

Comfort and Joy - the November (and final) instalment of RSC 2011

I finally finished my wallflower socks`, and before the end of the year too! They took up the last 3 months of my ‘sock a month’ year, so i ended up 1 pair behind (i finished an extra pair in january, though i started them in december ’10). I have the remaining two ‘parcels’ of yarn+pattern there, and one i will definitely take with me to the land of the engers when i head to the UK in late Feb.

I should also add that these were only my second stranded sock and my first time using wollmeise!

FINALLY! Wallflower, but Stephanie van der Linden, in Wollmeise (Stella Polaris) and an undyed merino cashmere from Wired for Fibre

Yes, I have my UK Visa and i’m heading off and it is STUPID the amount of time i spend planning what yarn is coming with me, what will go happily to storage and what will go to mum so she can post it to me along with mail, summer clothes and other goodies. With all the other planning i should be doing, this is taking up a disproportionate amount of my brain time^. I am going to be taking a lot/getting a lot sent because with my VAST stash (256 yarns stashed on rav and that’s not all, though take into account there are double ups due to multiple colours being grouped together for the one project) it seems stupid that precious money that will absolutely be needed for expensive London rent and food and WARM CLOTHES should get spend on yarn to replace what i already have. SO! my plan is to arrange for yarn that has maximum time to weight ratio attached to find its way to me in London. this means a lot of my sock yarn and laceweight. I have been using my rav queue to whittle down pattern to  yarn matches and have about 94756924569276924753* shawls and socks ready to be knitted. This is good too because it means some of my handspun and souvenir yarn will finally see the light of day as a FO.

amongst all this crafting and planning christmas and a bunch of birthdays happened. I didn’t really do the crafting presents for everyone that i’ve done the last few years. a couple of reasons for this but the big one was ALL THE BABIES! i spent the time i would normally be making xmas presents doing things for small people instead. (there are more baby knits on the way too!)

I did however get some gift spinning done and had a few presents already made for people – mum got some of my handdyed yarn and helen got a hat` i made for her back in march.

Here are the spins, in order, for nett, katie and mel:

Super Angorino from Ixchel (50% angora, 50% superfine merino), spun 2 ply, 130m, 50g, around a fingering weight.

Merino and Carbonized bamboo from Ewe Give Me the Knits, n-plied, 135m, 100g, around a DK weight.

Wensleydale from Ixchel, 2ply, 85m and 100g around a DK weight.

The wensleydale i’m particlarly proud of – i think it’s one of my most even and beautiful spins yet!

^TBH I think a lot of my brain power has gone on this plan because in the looming face of moving to a whole new country, this is a manageable problem

*figure may be an exaggeration.

` ravelry link

OMG Meme-ing on a craft blog, whatever will they think of next

My darling nett’s new blog is super pretty, but the first thing i found was a meme.

which of course i have to do.

from Nett: “Whilst clicking about on Ravelry, I came across a cute Popular Yarns Meme, which was supposedly started onFeather & Fan, but the original link is now gone, the original was for the top 50 yarns, but its SO HARD to keep that kind of list up to date, so I’ve snipped it to the top 25… ;) ”

And I’ve made it 30

Out of the top 50 30 yarns on Ravelry (by number of projects):
Bold the ones you’ve used and would use again,
Cross out the ones you’ve used and would not use again,
and italicize the ones you’ve never tried, but would like to.
Add comments as desired, and tag 5 knitters/crocheters if desired…

  1. Cascade 220 Wool, 77175 projects
  2. Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solids, 69193 projects
  3. Malabrigo Yarn Merino Worsted, 68303 projects  – love mal – so soft and smooooshy
  4. Caron Simply Soft, 61741 projects
  5. Lily Sugar’n Cream Solid, 55009 projects
  6.  Lion Brand Vanna’s Choice Solids and Heathers, 47902 projects
  7. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid, 41830 projects
  8. Patons Classic Wool Merino, 41593 projects
  9. Noro Kureyon, 32396 projects
  10. Cascade 220 Heathers, 30573 projects
  11. Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted, 28934 projects
  12. Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, 28644projects
  13. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes, 28175 projects
  14. Noro Silk Garden, 27639 projects
  15. Lion Brand Homespun, 26665 projects
  16. Patons Classic Wool, 25404 projects
  17. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc Peaches & Creme Solids, 25279 projects
  18. Cascade 220 Superwash, 25239 projects
  19. Lily Sugar’n Cream Ombres & Prints, 25209 projects
  20. Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, 24366 projects
  21. Plymouth Encore Worsted, 23322 projects
  22. Pisgah Yarn & Dyeing Co., Inc Peaches & Creme Ombres, 20388 projects
  23. Malabrigo Sock, 19529 projects
  24. Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, 19238 projects
  25. Knit Picks Pallette, 19151 projects
  26. Koigu PPPM, 18834 projects
  27. Blue Moon Fibre Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight, 18829 projects
  28. Brown Sheep Lambs Pride Bulky, 18459 projects
  29. Berocco Ultra Alpaca, 17936 projects
  30. Red Heart Super Savers Ombres/Multis, 16699 projects
It’s interesting, most of the yarns i haven’t tried i have absolutely no desire to touch whatsoever 🙂
I promised a photo though, so here’s a collage of projects using the yarns above...

A few FOs, Sock clubs and sundry items

I mentioned that i had finished Fay and I have now taken photos of it too!

Finished Fay

It’s really really soft and lovely, but I’ll be honest when i say it’s already a smidgeon big, but i HAVE lost quite a bit of weight since i started it. I don’t mind though – it’s not swimmingly large or anything and it means i can wear it over a few layers if i need to (which i might this winter!). To recap, it’s knit from Pear Tree 4ply in Damson and the pattern is Fay by Kim Hargreaves from Precious.

I also have finished photos of Livia, my May socks

Livia socks

These are my first socks in Jitterbug and I wore them yesterday – very warm and comfy! A few people have mentioned they find this a bit ropey on the soles of their feet, but i can’t say i noticed. I very much enjoyed this pattern (except the cuff. that annoyed me) and LOVED working with this colour. It’s so delicious! The pattern is from Twist Collective.

Speaking of socks, my May/June installment of the Rocking Sock Club arrived and i realise i didn’t post about the previous installment…

Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

When I opened the March/April installment i didn’t quite know what to think. I love it from a design/intensity/vibrancy and sheer COOLNESS of it sense, but what to DO with it?! Well, all i can say is that the designers for the RSC earn their keep. The two sock patterns for this yarn work perfectly and I’ve seen a few other uses on Rav that are pretty awesome – namely a woven scarf where the weaver lined up the colour pooling and used a dark yarn to tone the whole thing down. I’m a bit in awe of that scarf and if i didn’t love how cleverly the sock patterns work with this yarn (and therefore want to do one of them) I would do that instead!

This month’s installment is probably the most ME so far, though a bit muted for my usual summer/winter tones.

Maia

I love reading Tina’s Dyers notes. Her stories are well told and interesting (though i want her to finish the story she started this time!!) and her reasoning behind her colours and names are insightful and give extra special  meaning to the yarns. It really does make you feel a part of something. My other favourite thing about the RSC installments is the little words inside the ball band. Maia has been named after the Goddess, in honour of spring (which it is on that side of the world) and the replenishing of life that goes with it. The inside of the ball band says Elektra – any guesses as to the theme?

I have been spinning and weaving as well and also dyeing… I overdyed the yarn i dyed for owls and will hopefully have some photos next week. I only have one (bad) photo of the colour i managed to make it – not at ALL like my test mini-skein. i think Bloodwood is a colour that is very different depending on the level of heat applied. But more on that later…

The weaving was the completion of a giant mohair wrap. no photos yet! I warped up in March but was a bit daunted by the whole thing so it fell by the wayside. Well, the final product is GORGEOUS and so WARM! photos to come!

The spinning I can’t show yet! it’s a birthday present for someone who DOES read this. I hope she likes it!

Knit Camp 11 – Daylesford

where to start, where to start?!

How about with this: If school camps had been this fun i would have WANTED to go!

Tasma house

Tasma house - photo thanks to Katie @ Knitting Pretty

I arrived at Tasma House in Daylesford at around 12.30 and was one of the first non-organisers there. I was lucky enough to be staying in the main house, so was shown to my cosy room, made a cuppa and settled in to knit! Jules, Amy, Nandie, Katie and Chelsea, our organisers were all about and people began to drift in… There were some familiar faces – Jackie, Sarah, Emma, Kris, Jen – some I’d seen once or twice at bendi – Mel – and a lot of knitters i’d never met – One wasn’t even on Ravelry!! The atmosphere was great, everyone willing to jump in and help out, share their knowledge and expertise and listen to other’s stories and experiences.

Jules was pretty quick with the handing out of Goody Bags, and imagine my surprise when the first thing handed over was a set of blocking wires! with more and more handspun wanting to be shawls, these were just the best present! The other serious highlight was the complete skein of Skein Merino/Cashmere in the most Jen colours!

Goody Bag - calico bag, blocking wires, badges, highlighter tape, skein yarn, ixchel yarn, soak wash, colour shade card and patterns from Jennifer Adams!

"Sea Salt"

Friday afternoon saw most of us head off to the Creswick Woolen Mills (even though they process as much Alpaca than wool these days!) . We were greeted by these food-oriented Alpacas! (Photo courtesy of Mel via Flickr) They unfortunately were not the sort to be patted by strangers (though happy to test us as edible with a little nibble!). I will aim to find some decent photos of the mills themselves from the few i took on my phone. can you believe i forgot my camera! We were given a little talk about the processing at the mill – from raw fleece to singles and then had the chance to shop (socks for papa!) and have a bit of afternoon tea.

We then headed over to Tailored Strands Alpaca Farm, where we got to feed some gorgeous (slightly more friendly) alpacas, and feel up some beautiful alpaca yarn (some of it maybe fell in my bag). The alpacas were adorable and one was a particular greedy guts and ended up spitting up on Jules’ foot! good thing she was wearing crocs, but it was a bit gross! still Narelle (the alpaca) went in for more food! The yarn was far safer for us city knitters, and there was a beautiful selection of 4ply, 8 ply, 12 ply, boucle and brushed alpaca in a range of colours for us to purchase at a slightly discounted price!

Tailored Strands 'ecostrands' 8 ply naturally coloured Alpaca

 

Tailored Strands Alpaca 8 ply in teal (surprise surprise)

This little country jaunt saw us head home in time for our first catered meal – the most delicious curries – vego, chicken or beef – with either brown or white rice. Chelsea provided all the food from her place of work Appetite. It was all incredible! (My diet went out the window for the weekend, but to be honest, apart from more carbs than usual, everything was pretty much on the list. ok, maybe not the cookies, but they were homebaked. and delicious.)

The schedule for knit camp was pretty relaxed. As the first camp, there were no ‘outside’ teachers or guest speakers, it was all guests sharing their knowledge. Saturday morning saw us over in the barn with Kylie of Ms Gusseting yarns and Heather talking about natural dyeing. Given we’d woken up that day with no water (it was off to three or four blocks until 3!) there was no dyeing ourselves, but Heather had fantastic info about natural dyeing, particularly with Eucalypts, while Kylie gave us great insight into her chemical dyeing processes. We also got to fondle a bunch of yarn and fibre that she’d brought up with her to dry in front of the pot-bellied stove!

Impression of Eucalypt leaves on Silk (It used to be white!) - photo thanks to Jules.

After a delicious lunch of Pies(!nom), we were treated to a demonstration of Portuguese style knitting. I didn’t even know this was a thing! I really like it and i think that if i want an alternative to English style, this might suit me better than continental style, especially for colourwork. I intend to try it out with my next stranded project! The trick will be stranding the floats LOOSELY! Thanks Amy for the demonstration!

Speaking of colourwork, Sue (riotousassembly), designer and wollmeise lover, shared with us her extensive experience working with colour. she even provided notes! the best bit was seeing her examples of different kinds of colourwork, some mocked up especially for us, but some from her knitting life. Inspirational!

Sue's colourwork pieces - Photo thanks to Jules

On saturday night i had to head back into Melbourne (which at least meant i could feed the cats and save on boarding!) so i missed two significant events (and that’s not including dinner)! I was absent for the Stash Swap, which was by all means quite exciting not because knitters were keen to GET stuff, but because they wanted to give stuff away! I also missed Katie’s trivia night! which you can probably imagine left me feeling very miffed! I do love me some trivia!

Sunday was lovely and relaxed (my errand being over!) With very informal chats/talks from Katie and Sue. Katie talked us through all her beautiful shawls she’s been churning out, discussing construction styles and yarns and things to note. Sue talked to us all again, this time about her experiences of pattern writing. Great info and again really inspirational! lunch was delicious soup, warm and hearty and the day was spent chatting and knitting. People started to pack up and drift off throughout the day, some wanting to make sure they drove while it was light, others wanting to get home to family, but it was pretty clear everyone could have happily stayed for another day or ten! At 4.30 I hopped in the car and was home just after 6 to be greeted by 2 very sooky cats.

I’m just checking everyone is happy for me to post the group photo here… so check back in a few days to see everyone there!

It was absolutely fantastic and my only regret is that i couldn’t completely relax due to commitments back here in town. I would definitely recommend going (and might go myself depending on where i am) next year. It was so lovely to meet people who expected nothing of you except that you had a good time, and were so willing to share, help and listen. Thanks to everyone there for making it awesome and especially to the lovely organisers for making it happen!