Friday, September 30, 2011

Bits and Pieces

I've made a several pairs of wristies this year. This one was lying neglected in the bottom of a knitting bag and came to light when I was looking for something else this morning.

Its pair is nearly done--just the ruffle to finish--so that should be my first task for this morning. Oh, and I may as well confess that my hand in the pic is carefully hiding the loose ends that still need to be woven in.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Not Quite

I've been looking for a market bag design. There are plenty of ideas on the internet, but I haven't found exactly what I want. An easy knit would be nice. Many of the patterns I've seen use simple lace style stitch patterns. I do enjoy knitting lace, but with big needles I don't find it easy to get into the rhythm of the work. I decided to try a wrapped stitch.

The knitting is reasonably easy and smooth, but the shape I've worked isn't quite right. I need a smaller base and a taller bag. Then I need to find a way to work the handles--maybe crochet. So It's time to rip out and try again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I'm still spinning the "red rock" wool-silk. There's a bit of it in the pic unspun and draped randomly with something green.

The green is my pigface. I'm still waiting for it to grow enough to be transplanted into the garden. Overall progress is slow. I guess life's like that sometimes, but I'm not the world's most patient person.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


This yarn is just a scrap leftover from one of my recent scarves.
I've been using it as a bookmark--just enjoying the colour and texture. I'm realising more and more that the subtle qualities of yarn are very important to me. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Colour Interest

When I started to tidy up my living room the other day I came across several skeins like this.
It's an 8-ply alpaca yarn which I bought a couple of years ago. I've still got quite a bit in grey and beige. Obviously this skein is neither of those. I've done a bit of over-dyeing for a new blanket project. Next I need to wind off some balls of yarn and pull out my crochet hook. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red Rock

Here's what I'm spinning as I speak with my friend D on the phone.
It's a hand dyed silk-wool top from Fibreworks. I chose it from the Handweavers and Spinners Guild craft supply a few months ago. It's a delicious 50-50 blend of silk and fine merino. The colour is called "red rock"--a real Australian outback type of ochre colour--selected mainly as a change from my usual cool blue-greens. It has no particular destiny so far, but you can see I'm spinning it quite finely as it deserves. Sitting spinning and chatting are a good combination. Having my friend in the room rather than on the other end of the phone at the opposite end of the country and being able to share a coffee would only improve the situation. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Clearing Out

One of my tasks yesterday was to tackle my living room. I've been waiting on the arrival of a new lounge suite and to my surprise the delivery time was several weeks less than I'd been quoted. My unit is crowded at the best of times, so my current lounge chairs have to go before the new furniture comes in. My plan is to sell the chairs on eBay. I'm new to this, but have been told a clear picture is the most important thing.

Preparing to take that picture involved a multi-layered textile adventure. Obstacles included
  • crochet blanket and cushions on the chair itself
  • mixed fibre fluff and dust on the floor
  • box of market gear left over from a couple of weekends ago in the corner of the room
  • hand-dyed cotton skeins hanging on the wall behind the chair
  • makings of another crochet blanket stacked next to the chair
You can hardly tell from the picture, can you!

Unfortunately getting things going on eBay is proving to be another obstacle. I hit various technical snags last night and decided to try again with a clear head this morning. The customer support line is now open, so that's my next challenge.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Promises, Promises

It's been a crazy few months. When I decided to take the semester off from the Textile Art course, I promised myself some compensation. Looking through the CAE Course Guide showed me several good options. This week I came across the booklet on my desk and flipped through it again. I realised that all the courses I'd looked forward to had happened already.

Thankfully I realised that there's a Spring Course Guide now available with similar courses on offer. There are more options than I could ever take up: resin jewellery, drawing, collage, photoshop . . . To convert my good intentions into a real benefit, I guess I need to narrow down the options and book myself in for some actual dates. I'm afraid that's not going to happen today. My promised new lounge suite has arrived at the warehouse sooner than I'd expected, so I need to quickly sort out and rearrange my living room. Maybe the craziness hasn't quite eased yet.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maybe . . .

I had a closer look at the red geranium before it wilted beyond recognition.
I'm afraid I'm just frustrating myself with this analysis, but what the heck. It can't hurt to study a pretty little thing, even if I never get to make anything from it. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Tree Again

Some of my homework assignments from the Textile Art course I was working on last term have made their way home. It was early winter when I was working on this tree for my Drawing class. I had trouble with my sewing machine-- and my technique! The background pulled in beyond repair. In the end I decided to go with the texture. I was in such a hurry to hand everything in that I didn't get to post the final result. Here it is:
It's always interesting to look at my work after a break from it. I'm reasonably happy with this now. And the tree itself is now quite a different being. It's been through its flush of spring blossom and is now covered in red-brown leaves. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More Geranium

  • classic complementary colour scheme
  • colour gradation in the petals
  • overlapping petals form a wide conical shape
  • gently ruffled at edge of each petal
. . . just lovely!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Good Things

I went for a walk with my friend A yesterday afternoon. It's becoming a bit of a Sunday tradition. I picked this geranium for its intense red colour. Thankfully I spotted the home owner just as I turned back to reach over her fence! After asking permission I was encouraged to take a cutting as well as the flower.

I'm interested in how the red deepens almost to black in the centre of the petals. In the light of all my yarn flower brooches, I'd also like to take a closer look at the shape of the petals and how they are formed. Not that I'm going to make a realistic flower, but it's always good to study the real thing.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I finished the "easy and blue" scarf yesterday. It's a simple triangle, so really not much to show, except that I had just enough yarn left over to have some fun. Here's how it ended up.

And my conclusion is that next time I'll try some different shaping. The size I got with 100g of 5ply yarn is just the right enough of warmth for this time of year, but with a simple triangle it needs a pin to secure it. I'd like it to be self-sufficient--so I need longer ends to wrap around my neck.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Test Run

I'm checking out some ideas for warm weather knitting. One idea is to make some shopping bags.

This sample is done with kitchen string on 8mm needles, but I have some hand-dyed cotton yarns to use for the real thing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Growing Things

I've mentioned my weeding efforts several times recently. One thing I know is that nature hates a vacuum. Unless I want another crop of weeds growing in my newly cleared soil, I'd better get something else in there to take their place. To that end I've taken some cuttings of "pigface" from a local garden. They've been in little pots on my window sill for several weeks now. I'm really not much of a gardener, but I'm hoping these will take off soon. I'm also planning to use layers of newspaper and bark chip for mulch. 
Meanwhile, I've been knitting away at the "easy and blue" shawl and it too is growing. I started with three stitches and have been increasing one stitch in every row. Now there are 126 stitches so things are slowing down. I'm hoping to finish it in the next few days and put it to immediate use.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Another Reward

My epic struggle with the weeds continues. Yesterday was one of those days when I felt as though I was making some progress. I celebrated by trimming back the Lorraine Lee rosebush. She's such a generous rose and gives me flowers all year round. It's always hard to find a good time for pruning. This trim was prompted by my need to reach under the bush in pursuit of the never-ending Kikuyu grass.


So I went back to my knitting in the afternoon with the sight and sweet smell of a vase of roses in front of me. I finished the pretty pink wristies before it was time to get ready for my quilting class.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


By the time I'd completed the dreaded paperwork which I'd set myself to tackle yesterday I'd used up half the day and most of my available energy. I have yet to unpack the car after the market, and somehow my knitting bag got mixed up with that stuff on Monday so my "easy and blue" shawl wasn't available. I know it's crazy but opening the front door and walking maybe twenty metres to get it just seemed like too much effort! So I cast on something else.

It's another little wristie. This is some hand-dyed baby wool that I wound off the skein to use in some of the open-textured scarves I made for the market. So it was sitting in the basket next to my armchair. I noticed at the market that I could do with some more wristies, so they're on their way. Not that there's likely to be much demand for them in the warmer months, but I don't enjoy making the same thing over and over, so maybe this way I can slowly build up enough to have a good range for next year.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bits and Bobs

I have yet to unpack the car after the weekend market.

And there are bit and pieces like this all over the table. I guess my list for today starts with "tidy up". Oh well . . .

Monday, September 12, 2011

Easy and Blue

After a long day at the Market yesterday my feet hurt and I'm feeling tired. But I can't sit in a comfy chair without something to knit--it's a problem I have! So I've chosen something easy in one of my all time favourite colours to keep me company this morning.

It's one of my hand-dyes from a while back: a 5ply wool from Bendigo. I'm planning a little shawl and I'm not sure how far the yarn will go. With a simple triangle like this and the change of season upon us, just about any size will do.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Good to Go

I spent yesterday slowly getting everything ready for today's market.

I'm particularly pleased with how the CD Drop Spindle kits turned out. So much so that I aim to have a shot at the Rose Brooch kits soon. I think I've worked out a way to package them up neatly and still have the special yarn on display.

I've got my collection of drop spindles packed. I expect to be spinning for a fair bit of the day and I'll burn through the wool too quickly if I do it all on the CD spindle, since that's not designed for a fine yarn. In fact I'd better head out to the studio and pick out some extra wool tops before I go.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Morning Tasks

The House Market is on tomorrow. So my task for today is to get everything finalised. Unfortunately that means paperwork. Not my favourite!

Thankfully I've got most of the basics sorted from last time, so it shouldn't take to long. Then maybe I can reward myself by making something just for fun.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Weather

After a warm final month of winter, it's officially Spring, but the weather has turned cold and wet again. Here's what my dog Mac thinks of it all.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Button Experiment

I spent a few hours in the studio yesterday. My task was to prepare some things for the House Market.  First though, I took some time to play with the mother-of-pearl buttons I'd picked out last week. I made a little bracelet.

I like the idea of black velvet ribbon as a backing, but the one I had was too fine. I've got another layer there to stitch on to reinforce it--that's now on the to-do list. I like the irregular and worn look of the buttons. Appropriate findings to finish it all off are a challenge. It would be nice to stick with the old-organic style of the buttons, but that's probably not realistic.  So, I'm still in the experimental phase.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Warming Up

I knitted up a couple of scarves from these yarns yesterday.

They're done on 15mm needles. I really wanted the interesting texture of the yarn to be a feature. Plus the colours are strong and bright. The wool is not my usual fine merino. That's good for the appearance of the yarn and the dye takes beautifully, but I really don't enjoy working with it. The feeling of the fibre in my hands is a big part of the pleasure of spinning and knitting for me. So there's a dilemma.

As for the weather, we're having a bit of a cold snap. Hopefully that will mean a better chance of selling some scarves at the market this weekend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Market Time Again

It's time for another Market Day at Sussex Neighbourhood House. This one has a "sustainability" theme. I get a headstart on green credentials since my hand-spinning is always human-powered using locally sourced natural materials. To add to the fun I'm preparing a kids craft activity. Remember the CD drop spindle? It's a couple of years since I made it, but it still works well.

I'll be demonstrating spinning on a drop spindle and have kits available to make your own, complete with easy-to-use wool tops. Plus there'll be beautiful work available for sale from a range of locally-connected artisans. Here are the details:

Sussex Neighbourhood House
corner Sussex and Rising St, North Coburg
11 am to 3 pm on Sunday 11 September

Please come and say hello if you're in the area.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Little Bit of Maths

There's a little bit of maths in all patchwork projects. This time it was as simple as dividing the required length and width of the finished piece to work out what size squares to cut. I decided on 9 across and 13 down using 7 inch squares. I was using fabric from my stash, so then I started measuring and cutting until I had enough.

Next I spread all the pieces out on the floor to decide on placement. But I needed a way to keep track of the order while I stitched everything together. Keeping it simple--just a safety pin and a scrap of paper to mark each row.
Now that's all done and it's time to do some more pressing before I stitch the front and back panels together. But first I'm going to head into the garden. The sun is shining and the weeds are growing. I'm going to enjoy the sun and tackle the weeds!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Blue Blocks

Tidying up the Studio is high on the to-do list. I got started on that task yesterday afternoon. After a little while I felt I should reward myself with a sewing project. As a bonus it would use up one of the piles of fabrics which I had sorted but not put away. Here's the result so far.

It's going to be a doona cover--continental quilt cover for those of you who speak a different form of English--so I've used the overlocker to put the pieces together. Now I need to press those seams and put the strips together. I found a big enough piece of hand-dyed cotton to use for the back. I'll admit, it's a funny way of tidying up, but if I can get the job finished I'll be two steps ahead of where I was.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Simple Shapes

There are various versions of this crochet heart available on line.

I decided to try it as a complement to the rose brooches. It's simple and I find it quite charming. And it's easy to make. I think the simple shape really sets off the subtle variations in the handspun and hand-dyed yarn.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One More

I made another couple of roses for brooches. I used the leftover yarns from the scarves I've been making, so these ones are purple.

Purple is still a difficult colour for me to pick up with my camera, but there you are. The one at the bottom of the pic isn't rolled up yet, so it still looks like a funny little worm.

On the subject of counting, my Blogger tools tell me that this is my 1000th post. It seems like a big number. One a day adds up over time, I guess. I'm not planning to make anything like 1000 roses, but I might surprise myself yet!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Another One

I made another one of the open-textured scarves yesterday.

I'm still using this family of yarns.

Now to share my dilemma--how much to charge for them? The knitting takes an hour and a half. Add another twenty minutes for winding and organising the yarns and let's allocate ten minutes for pricing and labelling and such-like bits and bobs. So there's a couple of hours. But the yarns are all original handspun-by-me merino and merino-silk blends. There are half a dozen different yarns in each scarf. What would you pay for a scarf like this? Suggestions please!