Tag Archives: Wool

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

share that knitting bug…

You may remember a while ago, I wrote a little post about teaching some of the girls at my workplace how to knit (during our lunch break!). It’s been a few weeks (months?) since then, so I thought I’d share the groups progress.

I am so happy to report, that the knitting group has GROWN! Yes, I’ve gathered more recruits, and they all amaze me each week by how much they’ve practiced!

Carine tried knitting for a few weeks, but requested to be taught crochet. Before I knew it, she had mastered the basic granny square. This is the second baby blanket she’s made, with plans of plenty more! I love how the yarn changes colour, and gives that classic granny square look, without having heaps of ends to sew in.

Farzana is slogging her way through a thick and chunky scarf, look how long it is! I’m very impressed with Farz, she knits on the train to and from work! She is very confident!

Although it’s a little hard to see, Claire is knitting her first beanie! She completed a scarf, which she gifted to her sister, and we both thought this was a perfect second project, as she can practice knitting a rib, and decreasing stitches. She’s working in a gorgeous yarn, Rowan Kid-Silk Haze.. This will be such a cute, fuzzy beanie!

Jessie learnt a few basic crochet skills from her mum, and has dived into making some leg warmers for her 3-year-old niece. Look at those colours! They are going to be the brightest (and warmest) legs around!

Grace is my newest pupil. She’s just put down her practice wool, and picked up some amazing classic wool by Manos Del Uruguay. She’s working on 6mm needles, and about 20 stitches, to make her first scarf. She’s already expressed wishes of adding tassels, which I think will be perfect!

I still love our Monday Knit Club, I look forward to it every week. I am very proud of all my “students”, and they are all doing so well, even though they often say they feel like they’re getting nowhere fast! It just takes practice girls, honestly, you get better with each stitch.

The Knit Bug has bitten! I can’t wait for it to bite a few more..

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!