Tag Archives: DIY

two little FO’s…

It’s been a while since I posted about a finished object! There are a few reasons..

  1. I’ve had a few different things on the needles at the same time
  2. I’ve been doing a little more drawing, and other crafty things
  3. I found a hole in the sleeve of the jumper I’ve been working on, and it made me SO MAD that I threw it back in the bag, and haven’t had the stomach to pick it up again since

I will finish that jumper.. I will, I promise.. Just, not any time soon..

ANYWAY! Onto something I have finished!

Yes, it’s another cowl! I know, I know, I need to do something different, but I just love this pattern, and I can’t talk enough about the wool! This is Manos del Uruguay Maxima, in the Mixed Berries colour-way. It’s squish and beautiful, I just can’t get enough!

Using 6mm circular needles, I cast on 146 stitches, gave the cast on a single twist, then used 1 stitch joined the round. I worked in seed stitch until I ran out of wool.

Just like my last cowl, this one is long enough to twist and slip over my head, making a super thick neck warmer. This wool is really gorgeous, you can’t see any distinct twist, it’s almost like the strand has been felted. Love love love!! And, I probably don’t need to share this, but I have another 4 skeins at home, waiting to be made into something gorgeous!

I did say that I had 2 FO’s for this post.. And here it is! Haha, it’s not very exciting, just a hottie cover-up! I chose this to teach myself how to knit in the Continental style. I’ve always been an English knitter, but I was curious about Continental. What I found, is that the knit stitch is easy and really quick! The purl stitch, however, is a bit trickier, and weirdly, it hurt my right thumb when working on the back side. Anyway, I feel confident enough to switch between the two styles, depending on the project, and my mood.

Which style of knitting do you prefer? Have you tried both? I’m very interested to know how many people are in each camp!


for the love of dye…

Dying wool to your own specific colourway is so much fun, and it’s really easy! I love using food colouring to dye wool, and over the weekend, my friend Nyome and I had a blast doing just that! I’ve written posts on dying wool before, but I’ll outline the basics for you.

To get the best results, start with 100% wool. My #1 go-to wool is Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury, in Frost. The balls are a missive 200g, and the wool is gorgeous and soft. Wind the ball into a skein (we used the edge of Nyome’s dining table!), and tie it off in at least 4 places. This will reduce the risk of the skein getting tangled (which is an utter nightmare!). Then, soak the wool in warm water, with a bit of white vinegar for half an hour. I added about 1 to 1.5 cups of vinegar to the water, but we were soaking 800g of wool in a massive sink!

 While the wool soaks, you can get started on your dyes. I like to use good quality gel food dye, which you can get some cooking supply stores. Put a small amount into a container (a little goes a long way!), add warm water, and stir to dissolve. The more water you add, the paler the colour will be. Grab your skein, and squeeze as much of the water out as you can. You want it damp, not dripping. Lay it out flat onto of some cling wrap.

Now for the fun part! Paint your wool! There really isn’t any hard and fast technique to this, just apply the dye with a paint brush, and (using a gloved hand!) squish the dye into the layers of wool. Once one side is completely painted, you will have to carefully flip the skein and paint the underside.

When you’re happy with the skein, carefully wrap it up using the cling wrap that it was sitting on. You want to make a neat, tight little parcel. Pop the parcel into a slow cooker to set the dye. Mine has a little wire tray in it, so the cling wrap doesn’t sit directly on the pan. I also make sure to put about 1.5cm of water in the cooker, to make some lovely hot steam. Cook your wool for 1 hour on a high heat.

After an hour, carefully remove the parcel from the slow cooker, and let it cool down before you unwrap it. That parcel is going to be full of hot steam, which can give a really nasty burn, so please just be patient!

When it’s cool, unwrap it and give it a gentle wash in warm water with a bit of wool wash (or shampoo). There should be little to no dye coming out of that wool, which is exactly what you want. Rinse, squeeze out the excess water, and let it dry. Once it’s dry, you can rewind into different sized skeins, to really show off your colour choices!

This really is a lot of fun, and it’s so simple! Now I have to decide what to make with my fantastic wool!

TOP: Sea Glass / UPPER: Bubblegum Pastels / LOWER: Unicorn Dreams / BOTTOM: Paddle-Pop

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!

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!

my mum has knits too…

I wonder if I would have ever picked up a pair of knitting needles, if it hadn’t been for the influence of my mum. She’s been an avid knitter for as long as I can remember. Mum is about a zillion times quicker than I am (“It’s not a race, Sam” she says), and she seems to be pumping out new items every other week. Reags and I spent the weekend at my mum and dad’s place, and I took the opportunity to dig through her wardrobe, and drool over what I found…

Mum loves little tanks, that’s obvious from the amount she has! This tank is knit with Mercerised Cotton D-45 from Dairing, colour #08. From memory, it’s basically just 2 rectangles, possibly with a small amount of shaping at the sides. I easily could have pinched this…

This is “Girlfriend” from Dairing, knit in Cotton Linen DM-26, colour #10. It can be worn a few different ways, as shown on the Dairing website. Mum used the left-overs to knit a little belt, which I’ve got around my waist. I think this is really sweet!

Another one from Dairing! This cute little top is knitted in Cotton linen slub CL-2, I’m guessing colour #01. Mums probably used a pattern for this, but I wasn’t organised enough to ask! I love the little frill along the bottom hem!

Love. Love. LOVE this shawl! I pulled it out of the drawer and yelled “MUM! Have I seen this before?! When did you make this? Can I have it?”. Her answers, I don’t know, A while ago, No. This is such a beautiful knitted piece, and it was really warm too, just sitting on my shoulders.

It’s made from 100% wool, which is odd for my mum, because she is highly sensitive to the ITCH-FACTOR of wool (even the stuff I say is super soft, she finds itchy!). The pattern is “Annis” by Susanna IC, and you can find it on Ravelry.  Who knows, I might very sneekly nab this one next time I visit cast one on for myself!

My mum is, without a doubt, my biggest knitting inspiration, and she’s taught me a lot of what I know. Thanks mum xoxo

justine’s baby blanket…

It seems like there is always a little baby somewhere in my life that I can make presents for. I really enjoy making gifts for babies, I imagine them growing up and saying things like “I’ve had this dolly since I was born”, or the mums and dads saying “Aunty Sam made this for you!”, when I am clearly not a related Aunty!

I met Justine at work a few years ago, and we became close friends very quickly. She’s got a wicked sense of humour, and I love her to bits. When she told me she was expecting a baby, I was giddy with happiness for her! I started to think about things to make for her, and I settled on a blanket.

You may remember a while ago, I wrote a post on how I dye wool with food colouring. Well, this was the intended project!

I knew I wanted this blanket mostly white, with splashes of bright colours mottled throughout. Justine doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl, so I kept this blanket gender neutral.

Some of the pictures are a little warm in colour, but this picture is probably the best representation of the actual colour.

I made this blanket using a basic Granny Square pattern, round after round after round. I really like this method of creating a blanket, there is little to no concentration required, and I could work on it in front of the TV, or in the car, without the need of referring to a pattern.

The size of the blanket was determined by how much wool I had (400 grams). Once I started to run low, I ran a slip stitch around the edge for a border. The blanket ended up being about 90cm square, after blocking.

I love how it turned out. It’s squishy, and very warm! The colours are bright, and I love how they pooled in some areas. The wool I used is 100% machine washable, making it easy to clean, and the “dye” I used is just food colouring, so no nasty chemicals were needed.

I can’t wait to see bubba laying on it, squawking his or her lungs out, as I’m told they do!

PS: I think she’s having a little girl!

SSS is a real thing…

I tried to make it work, I really did.. Frogging is my worst nightmare! I despise ripping back row after row, I feel like it is such a waste! BUT. I know it must be done.. * sigh *

You might remember when I wrote about my new sock knitting project, and the line about not wanting to have to frog. Well, I might have cursed myself there.

This is how far I got with Rainbow Sock #1. I was quite proud of my efforts, as this is the first toe-up sock I’ve tried, and the first time I used a Provisional Cast On (thanks PurlBee!). I did, however, have a few problems.

Other than the fact that it was a little baggy around the toe, I wasn’t happy with the construction. As you can see on the left where I did the Provisional Cast On, that dramatic colour change was going to bug me, even though it would be on the sole of the sock. I think this method would be really fantastic if I was using a solid coloured yarn, as you wouldnt be able to tell where the join was. The other problem came with the ribbing. I was freaking out a little about it not fitting up my leg, and ended up increasing in the rib at weird points. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to remember which row to increase on with the next sock… so…

I pulled the whole thing apart. To knit, the sock took me the good part of 2 weeks. It took 1 minute to frog * que dramatic music *

Towards the end of this socks knitting life, I felt like I was coming down with a bad case of SSS (Second Sock Syndrome). I was really excited to see how the colours would change on the next sock, but I was so demotivated by failed sock #1. The cure? Buy two 2.75 circular needles from LoveKnitting, and learn how to knit 2 socks at the same time!

After one night, this is my progress. I am one very happy girl. All credit of my efforts goes to Heidi from Heidi Bears, without this brilliant tutorial for Judy’s Magic Cast On, I would never have got anything on the needles. Plus, she has another wonderful tutorial on knitting 2 socks at once. I was a little scared by the thought of this process, but honestly, it’s not as hard as I thought it was going to be. If you want to try this method, please head on over to Heidi Bears, you won’t be dissappointed!