Posts Tagged ‘handspun’

Lipstick cowl

April 11, 2010

Allow me to introduce the fourth FO for 2010: my Lipstick Cowl.

This project is a pretty special one for me. Not only was it an improvised pattern, but it’s the first thing I’ve knitted from yarn I spun myself! This is what became of the beautiful treetops merino I spun at Spinning Camp last October. And as well as its luscious lipstick colours and incredible buttery softness, it’s wonderfully cozy. I happened to be knitting the last of this in a seminar at work on an abnormally cold day about a month ago. I hadn’t dressed warmly enough for the weather; when I bound off I simply popped this on. Lovely!

The yarn was spun (intentionally) thick and slubby so I decided garter stitch was the best way to go. From my experience making Urchins it’s fantastic for displaying these sorts of yarns, and I wanted to celebrate the irregularities, not hide them. I used 7mm needles and knit in the round because I couldn’t see any point in seaming something like this. If you’re going to make a cowl this way, I’d recommend knitting with the magic loop method. The long circular needle makes it easy to try the thing on as you go.

As you can see it flares out a little at the bottom; I find this more comfortable—and much warmer—at the base of the neck. For those of you who are interested there are more specific construction details on Ravelry. And for those of you who are confused by the concept of a cowl, just think of it as a turtleneck sweater—without the sweater part.

I think this cowl—the first item of my 2010 winter wardrobe—is going to become a staple. I love its softness and warmth, and I fell in love with the colours six months ago on the treetops website. And again when I spun it. And again when I knitted it. In fact the best demonstration of my love for this cowl is that it was never blocked—when, cold and needy, I put it on in the lecture theatre that day at work, I realised it would be difficult to take it off.


Rainbow Wools

June 17, 2009


I know I’ve shown a lot of yarn and not a lot of knitting lately, but I want to take a moment to tell you about a local company whose yarn I just adore. They’re called Rainbow Wools and I first discovered them at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Canberra last year. Being such a lover of handspun and hand-dyed things, I gravitated immediately to the stall heaped high with thick, soft, slubby and curly yarns in so many amazing colours. At the time I was so caught up in the tactile experience that I didn’t get the company details, so later I was sorry I couldn’t look them up to buy more. I did however buy the most beautiful skein of their mushroom wool in a gorgeous hot pink. I was so in love with it that it became a scarf within days.

hot pink scarf

A few months went by. I loved my pink scarf and so did everyone else. Occasionally I hoped I might see the producer again, but I couldn’t really remember much about their other yarns, I just had this image of pinks and yellows and purples, fuzzy and soft and squishy. The stuff of stash fantasies.

Then in January, as we were taking a road trip down the NSW coast on our way back home to Canberra after Christmas in Queensland, we stopped in Bellingen, one of my favourite little towns. It’s the most gorgeous place—you really must visit if you can—but I won’t go into all its wonders now. Suffice to say that in a little craft store off the main street, I discovered some amazing, beautiful wool. Thick, slubby, soft, and with so many different colours. I think I managed to limit myself to five or six skeins, all on a different colour scheme—purples, greens, blues, pinks…bliss. That’s one of those yarns in the header pic of the blog. That’s how much I was in love with them. Over the next few months I took out this wool every time I looked through my stash. I admired it and snuggled it but didn’t use it yet. I knew the time would come. Only recently did I make the first project with this wool, and appropriately, it was a gift for a very special friend.


However I still didn’t know the name of the company that made this wool, this wonderful addition to my knitting life. It wasn’t until I returned to the Bus Depot Markets for this year’s Celebration of Wool that my question was answered. Imagine my delight when I again spotted the stall piled with tasty, happy woolly goodness. At this stage I was thinking only of my pink scarf (which I happened to be wearing at the time), I didn’t connect it with the yarn I got in Bellingen until I started digging through the wares. Imagine my further delight on discovering that the progenitor of the pink scarf, and the maker of the Bellingen wool, were one and the same! It was like an epiphany. Of course I made sure I got their card, and predictably a few skeins decided they just couldn’t live without me.

So, I exhort all you knitters, go unto Rainbow Wools and be happy. Ever since the epiphany and the green beret I’m itching to knit something else with this beautiful wool. It’s like a good friend, a cup of hot chocolate, and a sweet little puppy all rolled into one—happy and comforting.