The Land of The Long White Cloud

Last week I took a quick jaunt to New Zealand with my father. When we got on the plane together in Melbourne (he’d flown over from Adelaide to connect at Melb airport) I realised it was the first time we’d been on a plane together in just over 10 years! odd!

We spent 2 nights in Bay of Plenty, just near Tauranga and Mata Mata (where Hobbiton is, but unfortunately it was too wet and i was too at the mercy of our hosts to do a tour) and 2 night staying with my cousin-once-removed and his wife in Nelson, at the top of the South Island. We were well away from Christchurch and felt no tremors or anything, but you could feel the emotional effects across the country. But regardless i had a lovely time, especially in Nelson, which is a gorgeous town (with gorgeous men!) and I would really love to go back again soon! I also get along very well with my cousins (their daughter lives here and has just had a baby boy) and would like to get to know/spend more time with that branch of the family tree.

But you all want to know about the yarns, right? well, unfortunately, being at the whim of two rather, shall we say, outdoorsy type women meant that a yarn store visit was not a top priority, and despite my research, and the find of a few places nearby (ie, within an hour’s drive), I was only offered a brief trip to the ‘best store, up at the mount’ on the recommendation of a knitterly friend of theirs. I, of course, took it. It was a tiny little shop and i can only say that this friend must be a bit of an ‘old school’ knitter, as this place really only stocked workhorse yarns, most of which i could get over here. But! I did find one yarn I hadn’t seen before, although i’m sure it’s available here now, and if not, soon. It’s a Naturally yarn, a brand i think is highly underrated, and it’s a sock yarn blend of wool, alpaca and possum! huzzah, a true NZ yarn as a souvenir. I got it in two rather pretty multicoloured colourways.

I also picked up two lonely skeins of Naturally Sensation, a lovely angora merino blend, in cream. It’s a discontinued yarn and i haven’t seen it around in a while, and i thought it would be lovely to hand dye and weave.

Nelson offered a little more excitement. For a start it was only drizzling, not pissing down with rain, which meant we could spend the morning at the market. Lots of lovely hand made items as well as local produce and things like possum and merino blend clothing. They had a bit of Touch yarns at one of the stalls, but i knew where i was heading later in the day, so i resisted. I looked at some of the possum blend clothes – something i was hoping to get for myself this trip – but none grabbed me. I did buy an adorable hand made hair clip. It’s got netting, beads, wire curls and a fabric flower. It’s made of win! On the way out I also checked out a clothing store which, if i remember correctly, is called Puss Puss (it’s off trafalgar street in a little mall if you’re ever in Nelson) that made AMAZING dresses, skirts and corsets. Seriously, it made me want to have a fiance, just so i could get a wedding dress made there!

Then, I went to the place i’d been saving up for – Fibre Spectrum. It’s a sort of handweavers and spinners group outlet (not sure it’s an actual guild) and whilst most of their stock is finished objects – clothes, accessories, homewares etc – they did have some handspun yarn available, including HUZZAH handspun merino and possum. I picked up 100g of black and 100g of a variegated berryish colour, as well as 50g of green for Katie. It’s all about 8ply

Sunday i seemed to spend entirely in airports or planes, but i did manage to snap up that possum merino garment i was wanting. I bought a lovely longline cardigan (with cables and pockets and a big collar) in a charcoaly colour and it is just so SOFT! I popped it on on Monday night and almost went into a fibre coma. If anyone takes a photo of me in it, i will share.

Meanwhile, here are some more generic holiday snaps of NZ

Bay of Plenty from the lookout

and again. so ridiculously green!

The pumphouse at the goldmine in Waihi

The breakwater in Nelson – the boatshed cafe on the left is where we had lunch

which included this little gem! very nomable

and one last photo for all my fibre (and wine) loving friends – Lawn Mowing, NZ style!

a VERY belated Bendi post

Today Mel, the lovely Yorkshirepud, came to visit me and we had an absolutely lovely crafty afternoon! First we stopped in at Onabee, the new craft store nearby (where i bought pear tree yarn, yum) and looked in at a fabulous little gift shop, then we headed back to mine for tea and teaching.

Mel has borrowed an Ashford Knitter’s Loom and i promised to teach her the basics! so with a cup of english breakfast to steel ourselves, i showed her how to warp up the loom and got her weaving! In return, she has donated some gorgeous Malabrigo to my stash… i have a feeling it might end up being a present for my cousin since it is the most wonderful green and i ❤ redheads in green! I also demonstrated some spinning… which lead to a broad investigation of the stash…

I showed Mel all my souvenir sock and lace yarn (i love a captive audience) and then i got onto the handspun, which of course led this very new spinner into the world of fibre stash. I pulled out all 5 large plastic pillow/quilt bags from under the bed and proceeded to pull out handdyed top after handdyed batt to show her. She patted and oohed and ahhed and coveted appropriately and even tried to tell me i don’t have one SERIOUS problem. She helped with my problem a little bit by taking away some silk/merino that i will never spin but will suit her wonderfully!

This, in turn led to a discussion on ‘what i bought at bendi’ which made me realise i had neglected you all for an ENTIRE month! i even have photos of my bendi purchases ready to go! *facepalm* I apologise dear readers and hope that my belated gushings will go some way to tiding things over…

This was my first  year at bendi and, to be honest, i didn’t buy as much as i thought i would. i don’t know why – maybe i found it all a little overwhelming, and certainly, since i have, as mentioned, an extensive stash, i was very much looking for things that really spoke to me, rather than just buying everything. That being said, i did spend well over $200 so i can’t have done too badly!

First the standard favourites – Mandie and Charly. I bought stuff from Mandie first – a whole lotta stuff. It was my first time meeting Mandie in the flesh, which was great, and it had been a while since i had purchased from her. She had some delicious handdyed sock yarn with one in just the MOST perfect colours for me…

I don’t think it was mandie’s intention to create a Port Adelaide sock yarn, but this WILL become a pair of football match day socks for me!

I also fell in love with this sock yarn with its rose petally goodness

Fibre-wise there was one blend that i just had to get – a polworth/silk. i’ve only spun polworth once, but i really really loved it – like BUTTER – so i had to snatch up some more (hard to find!). only one colour sang out to me, so i bought 2!

I also picked up some great pink sock blockers and some little charms – not sure what to do with them, but i love them!

I said a quick hello to Charly and had a look around, but knew i’d end up back in the woolcraft shed before heading home, so postponed purchasing from her to the end of the day (can’t NOT buy Ixchel stuff!)

I had a wander around – said hello to Ms Gusset and fondled her wares, met SeeAPenny at Try Dyeing where i bought 2 dyeing kits – one for me and one for Katie – Met Jane from Moseley Park and fondled HER wares (there was lots of fondling going on), bought some delicious carded alpaca (i have a thing for it, clearly -and sorry no photo), picked up some natural coloured brown wool for Katie, said hello to the lovely pear tree ladies, met Jo of the bird and the fish, Tara of Mayhem and Chaos and other ravelers, bought ENORMOUS alpaca socks for Papa, got a fantastic sheep incognito calendar, discovered fibre red where i ordered the most wonderful teal skirt, ate potato spiral chips on a stick, ate doughnuts and then headed back to Charly where i caved and bought some cashmerino bunny and some bfl-bunny *passout*

There is just the subtlest hint of pink in this and LOVE it – have some pure BFL in very similar colours i might ply it with

i have some angorino from charly in a very similar colourway that i thought i might ply this with for extra nomability.

Then i managed to gather my wits about me, purchase a cup of tea and start the long drive home (which seemed so much longer than the drive there!)

all in all it was an AMAZING day and i have to say, Bendigo is PRETTY. I was quite awestruck by the catherdral and the fountain/roundabout in the middle of town. next year i will pull over and take many more pictures, but this year it was ALL about the fibre and yarn!

So not a massive haul, but pretty respectable and it was absolutely wonderful to meet so many people i knew only via rav. Now to get on with the spinning, knitting, dyeing and weaving!

Keep your eyes peeled for a multiple FO post here later this week!!! *excited*

Stitches and Craftiness

Last Weekend was the Stitches and Craft show and on Sunday I went along with my brand new housemate of win. She is also a crafty type and indeed I met her through the knitting group on Monday nights in Richmond!

The show was a bit less crowded than the last time i went – it seemed there were fewer stalls and vendors, but i did REALLY like the crafting stations they had set up and i wish we’d had a bit more time to make some things and try out new crafts. I would very much have liked to try out the paper craft station as this is something that’s always fascinated me but i’m not silly enough to get into. (not that i think scrapbooking and paper craft is silly, it’s just that i already do a bajillion things – the same reason starting to quilt would point towards severe insanity)

I have a self-imposed yarn embargo on at the moment – No yarn purchases for the month of may. As you smart chooks will realise, last week was may. so what to do? well I made a deal with myself. I had one day off for Stitches and Craft, in return for a further week into June. So no yarn until June 8th. I don’t know why this is such a hard thing to do. It’s not like i don’t have about 4 years worth of projects ready to go in my home!

But I couldn’t resist Pear Tree yarn on sale. We had a lovely discussion about work and the store being a stockist and i let the ladies know i’m knitting Fay in the 4ply supersoft (which most certainly is!). Having access to the yarn through work, I did of course limit my purchases to the sale stock – their old merino range in a discontinued colour called Sky – a lovely soft blue which apparently matches my eyes. It’s a 12 ply and I’m thinking i might do Rosamund’s cardigan in it. I also picked up a skein of a mixed 4 ply which is grey, cream and softest pink – I’m planning to weave something with it but need to find a complimentary yarn.

The next place i could not walk past was One Fat Slug- a yarn dyer i had heard about on the grapevine with a totally unforgettable name. I instantly spotted a skein of delicious silk merino in watercolour pinks, blues and purples. Whilst it might do a pair of delicate socks, I was taken by her sample ishbel shawl done in that yarn and think i might just do the same!

My last yarn purchase was another Zauberball, now being sold here in Melbourne. I picked my first one up in Austria, but have seen a gorgeous striped pair of socks using two of these balls and wanted to do the same, so when i heard they would be available at the show (for $4 less than retail too!) I had to look. I picked up one in pinks and purples – i just have to make sure the blackish parts of the two balls don’t line up!

Otherwise the majority of my hard earned (lol) money was spent on a joint house project. Stealing the idea directly from penelope waits, I suggested to the HoW (housemate of win as she will now be known) that we should decorate one of our blank cream walls with awesome fabric in embroidery hoops. She just happened to HAVE some vintage wooden embroidery hoops, so we took the opportunity of the Stitches and Craft show to choose some fabrics. Between the lovely ladies at Spindle and Ink, Pepperberry and Co, Pippijoe and Earthgirl Fabrics, we came up with this.

We ❤ it lots and lots and lots!

Crafty Lady – chapter 3

Chapter 3 – Crafty Lady’s life!

1. My Heartfelt pattern book arrived! It’s just beautiful. The patterns are gorgeous and it’s come with its own errata! I’m planning on doing Calm first, followed by Emily and Cherish. This will be made easier by point 2…

2. I am now working at the Wool Baa in Albert Park, Melbourne’s premiere LYS with beautiful luxury yarns, such as Rowan, Jo Sharp, Debbie Bliss. mmmmm. I’m loving it! I’m only working a few shifts a week and so will need to find other work as well, but I really enjoy it. It should pick up more as the weather gets colder, but that’s a while off yet! (there’s also a part time position going at a book store which would be a wonderful complement). And the best part? Staff discount! And it’s *ahem* hefty! Also, it is strangely satisfying enabling others (even strangers) to feed their yarn addiction, thus reducing my own yearning to buy. Plus i get to pat the pretties 😀

3. My mother loved her knitted Odessa beanie, worked in Teal with silver beads for her to wear to the football. It was her birthday today and this was a little extra unexpected present. She rang to tell me how much she loves it and will send photos soon (or so she says)

4. I am crafting like a fiend and there are many new items up on my etsy store.

5. I’ve made some little packages for Australian Random Acts of Kindness on Ravelry and am looking forward to sending them out!

Crafty lady – chapter 1

So much to do, so little time, so much to tell you!

I shall break this into chapters:

Chapter 1: The Spinning Wheel.

A lovely friend and I were discussing spinning wheels and how i wanted one. She mentioned she got hers from ebay for a steal and linked me to a number of wheels listed in Victoria.  One was listed for only $35 with three days to go on the auction. So I bid. After all, as if I would win an auction for a spinning wheel for $35.

I did. Monday morning I get the email telling me I’ve won the auction. I looked around my TINY apartment and BURST out laughing. I couldn’t believe it. Where was I going to put it?! I clearly hadn’t thought this through! I honestly spent about twenty minutes laughing.

I went and picked it up on Saturday. The story goes that a butcher made it 50 years ago from instructions in a magazine. He kept it in the shop window as decoration and then the wife of the seller inquired after it and ended up buying it. She spun on it for many years, but gave it up about 25 years ago. So now it is mine!

I realise that getting a handmade wheel as a first wheel contains a few risks and may make learning more difficult, but $35!!!

I went to the Spinners Guild and bought some more roving, dyed and undyed and a selection of dyes, as well as a book – A Visual Learning book with nice big, clear pictures – on spinning (both spindle and wheel).

I need to replace the cord that’s standing in for drive tension.  Still not sure what’s best to use, but i guess i can experiment! I also need to get some sewing machine oil to oil all the moving parts, and then just have a go i guess! I can always needle felt the yarn barf (read chapter 2- coming soon!)

For those who like pretty pictures: here is the wheel in my (incredibly messy) apartment. I have since tidied the house and it is now tucked away against the wall until I need it.

read on for more adventures in Chapter 2 – THE COW!

Proof of Addiction

First let me state that I am VERY poor at the moment.

Now, with that in mind, I just ordered Kim Hargreaves’ HEARTFELT from the UK for 17 pounds. Including shipping it was only AU$46 which is NOT BAD AT ALL considering i doubt it will be in Australia for a while. I mean even Amazon didn’t have this beauty. However, please remember point 1….

Still, I have no doubt I could easily knit up EVERY item in this book and love it. A very rare thing indeed. Also, they’re all in Rowan, which I can get at the Wool Baa, or I can even order the kits from Kim Hargreaves for a better price p/ball (and 5 pounds shipping).

I am particularly fond of the following…

< Cherish in Rowan Big Wool (Smokey – the colour I’d get)

< Emily in Rowan Kid Classic

<Elizabeth in Summer Tweed

Hopefully by the time it arrives I’ll have some form of income and thus be able to BUY the yarn for these glorious projects.