the best souvenir is yarn!

Growing up, my mum travelled a lot and brought me gifts from all over the world. As i got older and my friends travelled more, they brought me presents too (mostly fridge magnets, because it made my fridge far more interesting and useful). When I first started travelling a lot, I bought myself the usual, magnets, shot glasses (18!), jewellery… but then i got into knitting and souvenir shopping got a lot more fun!

I’ve talked about my various international yarny purchases from my Big Trip 09 and I’ve mentioned the yarny component of other travels as well. Since i’ve been in Europe I’ve had a few opportunities to travel and have continued my souvenir traditions – wanna see?

First off was the lovely Rooster lace weight from Bath mentioned in an earlier post.

Then in July I headed to sunny (sadly not) Copenhagen, Gothenburg and Malmo. You would think that Scandinavia would be the best place to get all sorts of super warm woollen yarns, what with it being the HOME OF WINTER… and you would be right! Not all of my purchases originate from the area…

like this delicious Shibui Knits Sock, destined to become a mini colour affection shawl/scarf

but a lot did…

like this lovely self striping single blended from shetland and merino lambswool… what a great combo! This is from Denmark, purchased in Copenhagen

And this Norwegian (ok so it’s next door) Angora blended with lambswool, beautifully naturally coloured. Picked this one up in Gothenburg! It’s became a pretty little Ishbel hat and i still have half the ball!

And another rustic wool, dyed in gorgeous selfstriping greys, from a little island in Sweden, also purchased in Gothenburg

What i found most interesting was the penchant for Linen! Despite the freezing cold temperatures of the area, Linen makes an appearance in all the stores, with most producing their own line (fibre pun!)

I couldn’t resist this colour – am thinking of crocheting a lacy thin scarf. pattern suggestions?

(yarns purchased at Sommerfuglen in Copenhagen and Strikk and Broderi & Garn in Gotheburg. I would recommend all 3)

As mentioned on my other blog I headed up to Edinburgh for the festival and thought it only fitting I picked up some Northern yarn. While knitting at the Purple Pig, (where I met Ysolda!) it was suggested to me that I try Rennie’s shetland yarn – apparently the meterage goes forever and it softens up beautifully upon washing (the suggestion was made complete with feelable samples). I was also told it made an appearance at a new store in the New Town, which i’d been planning on heading to, so when i went to Kathy’s Knits, the aim was to suss out the colours and maybe pick something up for some colourwork.

what do we think? I’m pretty happy!

I also knew I had to check out K1 Yarns – apart from it being Ysolda’s local, I also knew they stocked the Orkney angora that My darling Mel (who’s just started an etsy store for hand blended fibre – check it out!) turned into a deliciously soft and fluffy ishbel shawl. I couldn’t resist my own fluffy bundle!

I’m predictable I know…
The blend used to be 100% butI think it’s still pretty lovely!

Last week I went to Amsterdam, but sadly I ended up not visiting the yarn store literally one street away from our hostel because I was sick as a dog on our last day and buying the yarn, whilst definitely on my mind, was just too hard.

So here’s a picture perfect moment from Amsterdam instead…

more photos like this to come on my other blog…

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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!

 

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!