Posts Tagged ‘wool’

Happiness in the post

November 9, 2010

There’s nothing like a big box of yarn to brighten up your Monday.


I heart…

May 26, 2010

double rainbows at work

over-the-top tea-cosies

wool day at the old bus depot markets

and surprise crafty gifts!

What’s getting you through the cold weather?

Spinning Camp!

October 26, 2009

I had a wonderful weekend at Spinning Camp. A weekend in a quiet green valley outside town, with all meals laid on, and nothing to do except spin, knit, chat and relax. The weather even played nice for most of the time too. Here is what I did.

Moved into the (quite large) shared room. I am a pro, this mess only took five minutes to make.

my mess

Enjoyed the views of bush, mountains and sky


Spent a lot of time spinning in a light, airy room with many other spinners and knitting in the sun outside

a bobbin of spinners

Spun, and plied, the whole of the red treetops fibre I brought. Isn’t it lovely and chunky? These reds make me think of lipsticks.

red slubby pretty

Stocked up on things to spin at the camp shop (alpaca, polwarth + silk, wool + bamboo, and merino)

brand new fibre stash

Put some things on the show and tell table (and played clotheshorse in the show and tell fashion parade), and marvelled at the skill and ingenuity showed in some of the pieces.

show and tell

Learnt to Navajo-ply, and managed to do a whole bobbin without mistakes (plus some of the red above)

first navajo plying

Wandered off into the bush to enjoy the view

afternoon sun and gumtrees

Spied on the kangaroos


And swooned over the softness of my semi-solid indigo merino. It was like spinning butter. So lustrous and pretty.

indigo lovely

All up, a very satisfying weekend, and a valuable resource for a novice spinner. I hope I can go back next year, this time with my own wheel.


October 21, 2009

I’m going to what I like to think of as ‘Spinning Camp’ this weekend. Although I’m a beginner I thought it would be nice to have something pretty to play with, as a change from the white Bond-Corriedale I’ve been using since I learnt to spin. So I ordered some pretties from Treetops in Western Australia, and they arrived today, in plenty of time for the weekend. Thank goodness for Express Post.

I have some Royal Indigo semi-solid (which is darker than this picture suggests)

blue pretties

and some of a hand-dyed mix in Heartache, beautiful variations on a strong red. It isn’t quite as saturated as it looks in this pic, but my camera isn’t so good with strong colours.

red pretties

Aren’t they looovely? They’re both merino, so should be well within my spinning abilities. But it’s nice to play with something a bit more interesting than plain white.


October 9, 2009

I know it’s been over a week but I finally have time to tell you all about my wonderful trip to Brisbane. I’ve been very busy since I got back, so remembering how lovely this trip was has made my week easier!

The reason for the trip was my Aunty Tina’s 50th birthday party. She turned fifty in mid-September, but since she and her family live in Perth, they waited until the school holidays to have a big party in Brisbane, where most of the rest of my extended family lives. Apart from the opportunity to see family (especially my parents) I have several good friends in Brisbane, so when Mum offered to help with my costs, I jumped at the chance.

We had an absolutely beautiful week—as I’ve said before, Brisbane is my favourite city, and it’s hard for me to imagine anything nicer than revelling in my favourite places in the company of some of my favourite people. We packed so much in that I’m going to split this post into two, or it would be unbearably long, so check back tomorrow for the second part!

I flew into Brisbane on Tuesday morning and Mum met me at the airport. This was such a treat—I’m used to flying on business and having to arrange taxis in unfamiliar cities, so it was lovely to see a friendly (and very dear) face at the arrivals gate. Our fun but hectic week started straight away, as I whisked Mum off for some mother-daughter girls’ time and some lovely high tea at High Societea in Clayfield.

high tea

This is the most beautiful place I’ve ever had high tea at, and going back for the second time was even more lovely than the first. Linen tablecloths, flowered wallpaper, pretty teacups, roses on every table, a huge range of fragrant teas, and dainty little things to eat on tiered trays. We had the Royal Ascot high tea which comes with a complimentary glass of Pimm’s. Perfect!

my pimm's and my teapot

After our tea we checked into our apartment in Spring Hill, just north of the city. It turned out to be much roomier than we expected, with two balconies—or I guess patios, since we were on the ground floor (hurrah for not hauling suitcases up the stairs!). Our front patio looked onto the leafy courtyard.


It was nice to have enough space to relax, as so often you don’t get that in hotel rooms. There was a respectable amount of reading on the couch

mum reading

and knitting on the patio.

knitting on the patio in the springtime

My brother Matt, who I don’t see very often, came to spend the afternoon with us, which was lovely. Later that evening we all went around to the apartment where my Aunty Tina, and my Uncle and cousins were staying, in popular Kangaroo Point. I wish I’d taken a photo from their balcony, it had a great view. It was great to see everyone again—these are the cousins that are closest to Matt’s and my age, and before they moved to Perth we used to play together a lot. I managed to get a cheesy photo of me and Matt, isn’t it great?

matt and me

You’d never believe he’s younger than me.

Tina, who’s an extremely talented quilter, gave Mum the most beautiful quilted wall-hanging in her favourite colours. I think it’s amazing and I’m very jealous. I love how those curls of green look just like young tendrils on a fern.


On Wednesday Mum spent the day with family while I saw two of my most special friends. Beautiful Emma and I went to primary school together, and she’s now the most creative hairdresser I know, with the best eye for colour. Seriously, if you’re in Brisbane, get her to do your hair. She did my hair, complete with awesome purple bits, even more awesome this time. Then we met the lovely Suzie—who I went to high school with, and is now doing her masters in archaeology—for lunch in West End. West End is a little bit different from most of Brisbane, which I like. I guess you could call it alternative—it’s full of different restaurants, chilled cafes and quirky little shops. We had lunch at an amazing Greek place, and enjoyed sitting outside in the breeze that soothed the hot day.

emma and me

After lunch Suzie took us to a new yarn shop in Newstead, Tangled Yarns.

tangled yarns1

Oh my goodness. It’s beautiful. I want to live here.

tangled yarns2

It’s like your dream LYS come true. A big, airy space with high ceilings and lots of natural light, let in by two storeys of windows. Beautiful yarns from Australia and all over the world (including several that are hard to find in Aussie shops, like Cascade and Malabrigo) arranged meticulously in clean white shelving. The most gorgeous buttons I’ve ever seen. Friendly staff who serve great tea and coffee as well as knowing their knitting inside and out. A big kitchen table to sit and knit around, or comfy armchairs if you need something more relaxing. Books, needles, patterns, knitted samples, and all the accessories you could possibly want. Heaven. It’s actually nicer than all of the yarn shops I visited in the US, and considering those left all the Aussie shops I knew in the dust, this really is something special. I. am. so. going. back.

But there is more to life than knitting, particularly when one of your party is a non-knitter with a limited attention span for yarn, and everyone is getting tired anyway. My two lovely girls dropped me back to Spring Hill (augmented by a sizeable yarn purchase) where Mum arrived shortly after. We decided on a quiet night, just popping around the corner for some comforting Japanese food. The tempura prawns were very good

prawny good

and the miso hit the spot perfectly.


Then we popped back around the corner for bed, anticpating the excitement of tomorrow.

Having a ball

September 29, 2009

I’ve discovered an alternative to yarn shopping. It’s called, Getting Your Stash Out To Say Hello. You pull out all your stash, grin and giggle and snuggle it all over again, find things you forgot you bought, remember how much you love other things, dream about what you’ll make with it, and generally have a smashing good time. With the added bonus that this time, it doesn’t cost anything.

It turns out that a good excuse to Get Your Stash Out To Say Hello is to wind it all into balls. This way, if the fancy takes you, you can grab something and start swatching or experimenting straight away, without having the disappointing realisation (again) that you can’t knit from a skein, and that winding it into a ball isn’t what you really want to do, right now (again). And of course, you get to Get Your Stash Out To Say Hello, with all the fun that that entails (why does that sound vaguely seedy?).

This week I wound some of my stash skeins into balls, using the ball winder and swift generously lent to me by machenmachen.


And it was so quick, compared to winding it by hand! And fun! (Mind you, vacuuming is fun compared to winding wool by hand. Especially when the perfectly spherical ball you can’t help but make escapes and rolls across the floor, undoing in one brief joyful burst of energy what’s taken you hours to achieve.) And I got to Say Hello to so many lovely things I’d half-forgotten. Take this yarn, for example. How could I forget how beautiful it was? I bought this in Santa Fe and pretty much haven’t looked at it since. Why? With colours like childhood sweets and sunsets, and the soft smooth texture that only angora and lambswool can provide, why haven’t I been admiring this every single day?


It was pretty much the same with all the other skeins—become awestruck by breathtaking beauty of yarn, stand open-mouthed in wonderment of softness of yarn, prod self out of snuggling said yarn long enough to fit skein onto swift, watch mesmerised like a kitten as yarn spins magically and gracefully from swift to ball winder. I think that as I took each freshly wound ball off the winder and tucked it back into the stash bag, I actually said aloud ‘so pretty!’. Um, eleven times.

'so pretty!'

But my husband must be used to my strangeness by now.

So: Knitters far and wide, I exhort you: Get Your Stash Out To Say Hello! You definitely won’t regret it, but you may cause mild distress amongst innocent bystanders.

Best package ever

September 27, 2009

The last package from my wonderful Secret Pal arrived on Friday, but I didn’t get time to open it until today. Don’t ask me how I managed not to leap on it and tear off the paper as soon as I found it on my doorstep. But somehow I restrained myself until I was not so busy and had time to properly enjoy the experience of unwrapping it.

Once again, it came in a gorgeous box (see the pretty boxes of the first two packages here and here)

pretty box

and was beautifully wrapped and packed inside. Look, star paper and pink sparkly bits!


All of these stellar little parcels opened to reveal the loveliest contents. There were three types of lovely squishy yarn, all different and all amazing! My camera can’t really convey the rich saturation of the purples and reds of the centre yarn. Delicious. The Astronomy theme was continued in the ‘Galaxy’ colourway of the sock yarn—very appropriate, especially since I absolutely love that blue :)


There were some gorgeous rainbow goodies—striped knee-high socks and glossy coloured knitting needles, that almost looked good enough to eat! And some pretty sparkly little stitch markers, and a lovely crocheted button brooch (all brooch addicts, raise your hand!).


And…the last and the best. SOCKS! Handknit socks for me!


Amazing purple colourful lacy clever foot-loving handknit socks knitted just for me! Oh my goodness it was like all my Christmasses had come at once. What an amazing colourway, and how beautifully the self-striping fits into the lace pattern! How happy and loved they make my feet feel. How wonderful to have someone make me handknit socks, after I spent all winter knitting socks for everyone else, with no time to make any for myself. How special I feel right now :)


Just look at them. Aren’t they wonderful? I’m wearing them to work tomorrow, and I’m going to be sock-boasting all day. Everyone will have sock envy. There will be much sock love. YESSSSS!!!!!!!

I have to say a huge thanks to my wonderful Secret Pal, who’s made this round so enjoyable and made me feel so special. She’s sent me such wonderful things, and magically managed to make them arrive just when I was in need of a little pampering. Thankyou so much!

Spinning adventures

September 24, 2009

I haven’t been spinning much lately, but this isn’t for lack of enthusiasm—merely lack of fibre and lack of time in which to spin. But I did manage to finish off that glorious purple merino I got at the craft fair, and the last of the bond corriedale we used in class.


I definitely think there’s some improvement there. Sure, it’s still uneven, and sure, it’s a little too twisty, but it’s a lot less uneven, and not quite as twisty. And the colour of that purple is so darling I’m pretty much willing to forgive myself anything. I was a bit worried that the varied colours didn’t match up when I plied it, but now I think I like it.

I’ve recently finished a deadline-project, which means I now have a bit more time to spin and knit other things (FO news soon, I’m really proud of this one if a little glad to see the back of it, but you have to wait until the recipient has it!). So last night I celebrated by going to my first spinning group, with some of the other Spinners & Weavers Guild members. It was nice to spin in company again, and even nicer to meet in someone’s home instead of the chilly Guild rooms. I practised my evenness on some more bond corriedale, and got the chance to teach a visitor from the US how to drink tea through a Tim Tam. That’s me, all class. I’m really looking forward to the weekend spinning retreat in October, or ‘spinning camp’ as I like to think of it. I love the fact that what’s seen as such a tame pastime can be done by very funny and colourful people!

New yarn

September 20, 2009

I keep saying I won’t buy any more until I knit up some of my stash, but I do. And how could I resist this lovely stuff? At least, I console myself, only one of these was an impulse purchase.


I have ten balls (ten!) of this lovely purple, chunky, soft, single ply wool. I am planning to knit Ysolda Teague’s Liesl cardigan very soon and this, I think, will make a lovely version. I probably won’t need ten balls to do it (actually, I’m pretty damn sure I won’t need ten) but I wasn’t planning to buy the yarn quite so soon and didn’t look at the pattern yardage before we went to the yarn shop. And, you know, it’s better to err on the side of caution than run out of yarn. It just breaks my heart that I’m going to have a few balls of this beautiful, soft, purple snuggly wool left over to use on something else…just breaks it. As you can tell.

And that wasn’t even the impulse purchase.


It just mystifies me how these things manage to jump from the sale bin into my bag. But now I have four balls of this beautifully smooth merino, silk, and cashmere blend, in the most delicate silvery dove grey. I think it should be enough to make a lacy shrug to wear over summer dresses. And I need a neutral shrug, to work with all those brightly coloured dresses. Honest!

The entire purpose of the yarn-shopping expedition (I always want to spell it expotition, with Christopher Robin) was for Amanda to buy wool to make her first scarf, and first project, with. She’s doing so well, and I’m so proud! But somehow yarn shops won’t let me leave without buying something for myself too. I suppose I should just accept that fact.


September 1, 2009

We had our fourth and last spinning class last night, and while that was a little sad, what we did was exciting. These classes are the most fun I’ve had in learning something for ages!

After plying our singles into beautiful two-ply yarn last week, it was ready to be skeined and washed this week. I’d never seen skeining done before, and even after our teacher handed out niddy-noddies (ha! I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of that name!) I had no more of a clue. But for something so simple they’re quite clever really, and we all skeined up quickly. Then we learnt to wash, and got to try the amusingly useful ‘helicopter’ technique to get rid of excess water. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos of that…


And now I have two and a half beautifully soft skeins with so much texture and character, drying slowly in my living room. As we were skeining up I was a bit worried about how much texture they had. I do like thick-and-thin yarn, but not too thick-and-thin, and everyone else’s was a lot more even than mine. However the process of washing and spinning seemed to even out some of those overly chunky bits, and sort out most of the bits that had a little too much twist. And now it’s so lovely I can’t wait to see what it looks like knitted up!

i think i'm in love

Though I am toying with the idea of dyeing it.

I was able to get in some spinning as well. I had a go at spinning that nutmeg-coloured Bond Cross a little thicker, but managed to reach the capabilities of an Ashford without a jumbo flyer. It’s still difficult to get it even, and I’m worried some of it has too much twist, but I think it will sort itself out and I don’t mind knitting with a single ply.

nutmeg chunky

I also started spinning the varied-purple wool top I got at the Craft Fair, this time trying to get something that was both thin and even. Mixed results so far, but I think the colour will carry this yarn regardless—I love all the different shades.

purple haze

Hurrah for a new hobby! I’ve got the wheel for another two months which should see me through spinning camp in October (yay! spinning camp! *hyperventilates*) and I’ve joined the Guild. I’m really looking forward to doing more of this, meeting other spinners, learning new techniques, and honing my skills. And stashing wool tops of course—they’re even snugglier than yarn!