Monthly Archives: June 2014

stash-busting star-burst granny square cushion…

Cast your crafty minds back to May 2013, you might just remember that I posted about some granny squares that I had sewed together, with all intentions of making a cushion. They were good intentions, really they were.. however.. that granny square sat folded up in my wool stash, waiting, waiting…

Until yesterday! I had an urge to dig it out, and give it the attention it needed. There was a plain, navy cushion sitting around, that was a perfect size match for my square. I pulled the insert out, and hand sewed my granny square directly over the top of the cover.

I shoved the insert back in, and zipped it up. It looks perfect! The darker colour behind the work really makes the squares pop. The pattern is really cute, I like how it starts off circular, but ends in a square.

It’s about time I finished this project! Now it’s sitting in our lounge room, for everyone to see!

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marie antoniette mobius…

I love quick, one skein knits! That instant satisfaction of a finished item is just thrilling! When I laid my hands on this gorgeous 10 ply merino wool by Manos del Uruguay, I knew I’d have to start working with it straight away. The colourway is ‘Marie Antoniette’, hence my project name.

I referenced my Jo Sharp Modern Knits pattern book, and found a simple twisted cowl that would work wonderfully with my single skein. I figured out that I only had 2/3 of the recommended yardage, so I cast on 141 stitches and would work until I ran out of wool.

Before using 1 stitch to join in the round, I carefully gave my cast-on a single twist. This means that my cowl will have this permanent curl, it will never lay flat. This shape actually has a name, it’s called a ‘mobius strip’, and it’s a one-sided object. I think it’s pretty neat!

I worked the entire cowl in seed stitch, which makes a lovely, squishy fabric that holds its shape well. I also like that with my number of stitches, I got a faint stripe effect due to the kettle dyed wool.

There were a few inconsistencies in my skein, which you can see above. I guess that is to be expected with hand crafted yarn. I don’t mind it too much, it gives a little character.

I worked until I only had enough yarn to cast off. My cowl is about 28cm wide, and long enough to loop around my head, and fit snuggly against my neck. It’s just starting to get cold here, I can see this cowl getting a lot of use!

jazz ’em up…

A while ago I got a set of bamboo knitting needles from Aldi (of all places), and I just used them for the first time the other day. As nice as they are to use, they were a little boring to look at.

So, I grabbed some acrylic paint, and painted the bobbles on the ends of the needles. Each set got the same colour, so I could easily grab a matching pair in a hurry.

After the paint dried, I added little white dots, using the head of a pin. I left them overnight to make sure that the thicker dots would dry out completely. The next morning, I gave them a coat of clear nail polish, to protect their new paint job, and make them glossy!

No longer boring!

strawberries & cream beanie…

After I posted a picture of my blue snowflake beanie on my Instragram, a friend of mine asked if I could knit one for her. With no other stranded knitting projects on my list, I took the opportunity to practice some more.

This is the same pattern as I used last time, with a few alterations. I went up a needle size, and increased the stitch number. This made my slightly tight beanie, much larger and slouchier. When I knit the ribbing, it was way too loose, so after I finished the beanie, I went back to try and un-ravel the cast on. Lesson learnt. It doesn’t just un-ravel the same as when your ripping from your needles (probably why the ‘provisional cast-on was invented!). So, I had to cut the ribbing off, close to where I started the colourwork, and slowly pick up the live stitches. It’s still a little loose, but I think it will be fine.

The wool is my favourite work-horse, Luxury from Bendigo Woollen Mills, in Cream and Brick. This wool is so soft, and a dream to knit with, I just love it!

I feel like I’m getting better at stranded knitting, I’ll have to have a look for some more patterns that I can practice on. Maybe some mittens!

mumma’s socks…

For Mother’s Day this year, I gave my mum some wool and needles, so she could knit her first pair of socks! For all her years of knitting, she had never attempted socks, and I was more than happy to give her the little nudge she needed.

Well, just two weeks later, she was finished! As I write this, she is already half way through her next pair. I think I’ve given my mum The Bug!

misters pocket square…

Our recent trip to Melbourne resulted in lots of beautiful wool being dragged home. Out of all my holiday spoils, this was the first skein I picked up to play with. I knew what I was going to make, so I searched Ravelry for a pattern, and found a great one by Misa Erder called “Jaunty SOB Pocket Square“.

Talk about a quick knit! This only took me a couple of days (inbetween other knits), and I am really happy with it. The seed stitch makes a fabric with a nice texture and weight. It also does a brilliant job of breaking up the pooling effect, while at the same time, showing off this beautifully dyed yarn.

The yarn itself is Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend, 70% merino 30% silk. It is lovely and soft, I could hardly see any twist in the strand, it’s almost like it’s been felted. I did find one knot in the skein while I was winding into a ball, but I didn’t reach it on this project.

All in all, a cute little project that would make an impressive gift to the “jaunty SOB” in your life!

festival of sam – part two – wool…

Yes, so the wool part of our trip to Melbourne deserves its own post! As soon as I knew where we were going, I googled “Yarn Shops Melbourne” and was very happy with the list that appeared. We only had time to visit two shops, however I was very happy with what I found.

First, we went to the Wool Baa, which is in Albert Park. It was a cute little shop, longer than it was wide, but with wool to the ceiling!

Here I am, touching all the wool I could reach, while Reags patiently waited on the “Boyfriend Seat”

My first happy purchase was a single skein of “Ella Rae Lace Merino”. I was really drawn to the colours, and I love how it looks different turned over or around. I’m not sure what I’ll make out of this yet, I had originally thought about socks, but there isn’t any nylon content, so I’m not sure how they would hold up. Maybe a shawl (or similar) is more the order.

My other purchase at Wool Baa was found on the discount table! I got three balls of “Rowan RYC Cashsoft”, in an olive-green, mauve, and cream. The colours are a little warm in my picture, nowhere near accurate. This yarn is soft soft soft! I think I’ll make a cowl (snood, mobis.. whatever) out of this, I just hope I have enough. Kicking myself that I didn’t get an extra ball or two.

The second wool shop we visited was Morris & Sons on Collins Street in the CBD. There is a twin shop in Sydney, but I’ve never been to it. I was very excited to walk around Morris & Sons, because I’d heard it was an excellent shop!

I was not disappointed.. This shop was huge! Floor to ceiling wool, walls and walls of displays, pattern books and mock-ups to die for! I did about 3 laps of the shop, touching, reading, patting, drooling… Then the lovely shop assistant asked if she could help, and she directed me to a display in the center of the room full of the softest, most colourful wool I think I’ve seen.

My hands went straight to this beautiful skein! It’s “Manos del Uruguay, Maxima” in the colour-way Coquina. 218 yards of delicious 100% Merino, 10 ply (worsted) heaven! These yarns are kettle-dyed by ladies in South America, and to quote the company “Manos del Uruguay is South America’s only non-profit Fair Trade certified cooperative yarn producer”. Again, kicking myself that I only got the one skein, but I’m hoping to get a beanie out of this.

Reags wandered over to me with this in his hands, and I thought he was suggesting it for me. Nope. He asked me to knit him a pocket square (which I’ve already completed). “Manos del Uruguay, Silk Blend” is unbelievably soft, but I’ll tell you more about it when I post the pocket square. This colour-way is called Purple Rain!

With all my purchases, I thought my stash would be looking very healthy! Little did I know, there was more to come! When my girlfriends, Nicole & Nyome surprised me with dinner for my birthday, they also had a little present for me. They both know how much I love to knit (I have a knitting session with Nyome at least one a week..!), so they decided to add to my (ever-growing) stash!

Remember I mentioned the Sydney Morris & Sons? Well, Nyome found it and went to town! She ended up getting me two skeins of “Manos del Uruguay, Maxima” in the Agua colour-way! I am drooling just looking at these pictures.. It is so soft, I can’t tell you how gorgeous it is. Again, I have no idea what to make with this, but I need to decide soon, because I’m itching to turn it into something amazing!