Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The one where a new year begins.

Shock! Horror! This will be a blog update sans photos. This is basically because since my last update there has been very little done by way of spinning, knitting or sewing. I've managed to spin a little bit of some Ixchel merino angora, but not enough really to make photo's worth while. And I sewed a pencil roll or two, but did not take photo's before I gave them away as gifts. As for knitting, I currently have one the needles another Forest Canopy Shawl, this time in The Knittery's Merino slim sock, 'Bloody Mary' colourway. I'm a little under halfway done. I also have a very very boring sock for the Big Mac. It's grey. And it's in ribbing. It is also sapping my will to live with it's plain boringness. Every stitch strips me of a little shred of sanity. The things we do for the ones we love, eh?

Most of my time since the last update has been taken up by preparations for christmas, as is the case with many of us. I made far less of a production of christmas this year and am all the more happy for it. I went with simple this year - simple pleasures, and cut down on the amount of drama involved wherever I could. Santa brought Mayhem and Chaos some lovely things, a swing set for the backyard, some colouring pencils and books, for Miss Chaos a Tinkerbell doll, for Mister Mayhem a Thomas train set. Santa also got into the swing of encouraging music this year. A junior drum kit and a ukelele were found under the tree. Plenty have said Santa must have some sort of brain malfunction when told about the drum kit, but it's actually ok. Both kids have the beat, and both of them enjoy having a bash at it. I'd prefer the noise of a drum kit over the noise of flat out whinging and it has thus far proved to be quite the outlet for frustration.

We made it up to Wangaratta for the briefest of times away - 2 nights and 3 days to be exact, so big mac could help his parents with the building of their house. While there I dropped into a little yarn shop, and we headed off to Milawa to the cheese factory there, and also dropped into Gapsted Winery too. We came home with a few souvenirs, a wooden shawl pin and a bottle of lime pressed olive oil, some Milawa cheese, and a bottle of tawny port. Tasty. 

We also made it through another 29th of December. Thanks to everyone who sent me emails or texts to let me know you were thinking of me on that day. It was a sad day, but we were home for it, and that made it a little easier. 

And now, here we are on the very first day of a brand new year. Time to pick myself up, get all those ducks lined up in a row and approach it with energy and fervour. As always I wonder exactly how much I can pack in to a stretch of 365 days? We're about to find out. 

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Jolly Fat Man cometh...

Long time, no post, I know. 

I'm not sure exactly where to begin to try and play catch ups, so I am considering bypassing any and all catch up attempts. But I will at least, share pics of recent handspun and hand knit efforts. I've been just a little busy. 

First out of the gate here is Mossy, a merino angora blend of fibre I bought from Charly at Ixchel. Beautiful spin and a beautiful resulting yarn. I finally managed to get another of her braids onto the wheel last night, which is super cause I have been drooling over it for a while - it's been sitting here a month!

Next was 'Honey and Mint'. A BFL / Soy blend I bought from Mandie at EGMTK at the Bendigo Show. It's original name was 'Nymagee' but it's gorgeous honey colour begged a name change once it was spun. It now lives with a swap partner of mine on Ravelry, who now gets to pat it instead of me :) That's ok though - I like giving handspun new homes, and new leases on life. 

Here is some masham in a choc berry colourway, also from Mandie. I am not entirely sure what I will do with this one. It's not really suited for next to the skin wear, but the colours on it are just so darn pretty. 

That's it for skeins of handspun - I'm not showing off everything I have knit or spun since the last update or I would be here for hours, so I am just flashing a selection. 

Remember the handspun skein of 'Imperial Reign' Merino / Angora from the last update I did those months ago? (Feel free to scroll down. Go on, you know you want to. I'll wait.)

Well that became this:

A glorious cowl with amazing colours for me to wear when the weather gets cold. I love cowls. LOVE THEM. 

And finally, there was a triumph squeezed in since the last update - a triumph over lace. Which may now, even as I type, be launching itself into a full blown obsession. I said I would never knit lace. It was just too hard. But as is often the case, when something is too hard in my head, it becomes a challenge. So I present my own source of pride, my Forest Canopy Blues.

Although - I shouldn't call it mine given it was posted off to my sister last week. It's yet to arrive though so in the interim while it is floating around the countryside, it's still mine. Knit from Bendigo Woollen Mills 4ply baby wool, then dip dyed and sponged to give it it's colour, it's beautiful and I do love it. Alot. 

I may or may not also be sitting here patting some other laceweight, and the 'parcel dude' may have just bought more. But it's not an obsession. No intervention required. Really. 


Anyways. On with the update, of things I really wanted to say. Of cabbages and kings. 

There's been a fair amount of sickness in our household this past fortnight.  Luckily, I was hit first - a touch of a sore throat that lasted a couple of days. It didn't worry me too much, but it heralded what was coming, expecially for Master Mayhem who seems seriously prone to throat infections. Sure enough a day or two later, it hit him, rather suddenly. All of a sudden it was all we could do to try and keep his fever down, and keep his fluids up. When that kid gets hit by something like that he gets hit, HARD. That lasted about 3 days, and then-Miss Chaos copped it. She wasn't too bad, it only really hit her for a day. But as of last night Big Mac informs me he has a sore throat also. It's certainly doing the rounds!

We now find ourselves almost half way through THAT MONTH of the year. You know the one. The one where the Jolly Fat Man visits. 

Now, normally, I do my best to keep the blog upbeat and happy with just that slight touch of smartass, but bear with me here. We are taking a turn for the serious. 

I've always loved christmas. I love the colours, I love the lights, I love the carols. I love the smell of fresh christmas trees. I love the food, dear lord how I love the food. Christmas in Australia is something completely different to Christmas in the states, or in Europe. While they have snow we have blistering heat. They pull on their hats, mitts, thick socks, winter coats and boots. All the while we are peeling off layers of clothing pulling on the sandals or thongs and going for a dip in the wading pool with the kids. When I was a kid we used to go camping on holidays after christmas, and I would like to start that tradition again this year, but it may not happen. I may have to wait until next year because I have left my run so very late. No matter. I've always felt it strange that so many Australians still insist on a hot roast lunch at christmas despite the fact it is generally a hot christmas day. That said no one had better stand between me and my slice of plum pudding, or there will be a forking. 

Since I grew up though, Christmas became hard. For me, ecspecially hard. I go into every Christmas season with the best of intentions, to make the christmas the best one yet for the kids, to really enjoy myself. And every year ever so slowly and surely, that gets harder and harder to maintain. Some 5 years ago now (good lord. 5 years?) round this time of year, I was a big round bellied individual with a lot of hope and dreams. But in the three days leading up to christmas they were shatterred. Modern medicine can provide a picture of whats going on inside a big round firm belly, and we found out first hand how it feels when that picture is not the story book you had hoped - or just assumed - it would be. We went through that Christmas with that knowledge, and the knowledge of what was to come. On the 29th of December that year, our first child, a little girl was born. Born far too soon, and far too ill equipped for life in this world. Every christmas since, I do my best to enjoy the season with the beautiful bright young siblings that came after her, while also doing my best to remember her, and to think about all she could of been. I don't want to forget. It seems wrong, to forget. But it's a very fine line, and one I frequently have trouble maintaining. 

Then, there are the other things that wear you down. The rudeness of some people, their entitlement. Going shopping at this time of year is always a hazard but some people make it more difficult for everyone else than others. I'll never understand why some people seem to think they are in more of a hurry than everyone else - more entitled to that parking space - and more hard done by than others. With every catalogue that falls through the mail box, with every commercial shown on TV, with every implication in the media and society at large that christmas should be BUY! BUY! BUY! and MORE! MORE! MORE! the whole point of christmas, the thing I've always loved about it is lost. 

To me, the whole point about Christmas is that it is the PERFECT excuse. For just about everything that you wanted to do or needed to do throughout the year but just couldn't justify because it took up too much of your time, it is the perfect excuse.  You can hang around with friends and family.. take your time, have a few laughs share some food. There really is nowhere else to be, nothing else you should be doing. It's christmas. Enjoy the company. Hang out on the floor with your kids, play with play dough, make monsters and aliens. It's kinda the whole point. Why be a grown up? It's christmas! Christmas is ecspecially important for children, so be a child. Remember what it was like through their eyes. Hang out on the couch on christmas eve, watch the carols on TV, knit something, sing along. It's christmas! Just be yourself. Screw the responsibilities, screw work, screw all the people who tell you that if your kid doesn't have the latest playstation / new bike / nintendo DS / portable dvd player they will be scarred for life. They won't be. The whole point is that they get to spend time with you, with family, with people they love and that love them. It's not the about WHAT they love, or WHAT they want, it's about what they love DOING, what they want to DO and who wants to do it WITH THEM. 

When I think back to the fact that I have a small girl named Brannwen who *would* of been nearly 5 years old this christmas, and I look at my cheecky and mischevious 2 and 3 year old, I realise the most precious gift any of us have, for our children, for our families, for our partners and for ourselves, is time. This christmas, give them your time. Give yourself your time. After all, you are worthy of a gift too!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hop, hop - hippity hop. Welcome to Monday.

Hmmm. Mondays. I really hate them. I think I may have been garfield in a previous life. Todays Monday however, it's raining and pouring, I had a very busy weekend which I am exhuasted from, and Daylight savings began so my wake / sleep clock is buggerred. Pleasant, no?

I managed to start and finish in a little under a week, the Dream In Colour Shrug. 

I am really quite happy with it. It is knit directly from the pattern, in the yarn called for (such a rarity for me!) in the colourway 'Cocoa Kiss'. The colour is perfect for me and my kick of all things kinda natural coloured at the moment and it fits really well aside from one little issue. 

Once it's on - I can't get it off without assistance. My arms simply don't move that far behind me because of back issues. I continue to wear it anyways, because I love it so. I may even make more of these, slightly modified, because they look good and are so handy just to throw on. I never thought I would get into the 'shrug thing' but I guess I was wrong. Just like I was wrong when I thought cowls were pointless. NOW I want about 500 of them. All in different colours. 

Planning for Bendigo 2009 has begun in earnest around here. I can't say anything yet, but I am running myself fairly ragged over it!

Finally, I introduce the newest member of our family, who came to live with us this week. 

Meet Cap'n Jack (wabbit). Named after both Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Jack Harkness, take your pic as to which you like more. Jack is 5 weeks old, unbearably cute, not timid in the slightest, and is now Master Mayhem's new best friend. Upon waking this morning the first thing he said was 'Jack? Jack wabbit?'. 

Miss Chaos is also rather interested, but Master Mayhems interest borders on total adoration. That kid just LOVES animals. 

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Once more, with feeling!


Yup. The lurgy has me in its grip. It's miserable. My nose hurts from constant blowing and even the mega soft aloe vera and vitamin E tissues are no longer easing the pain. Bleeeeeeergh. 

However as is the case in times of misery, it's good to find cheery things to lift the spirits. Like the fact that we are suppossed to have 23 degrees here on Saturday. Wooohoo! Heatwave! 

And the fact that I had a parcel of pure unadulterated joy land on my doorstep this morning. The delectable Susan (Catsmum) recently ran a competition on her blog to celebrate her blogiversary. I was one of many people who left comments, and I won! What did I win may you ask? 

Within the parcel was a beautiful book on spinning (how she knew I loves me some technical type manuals, I don't know) two lots of fibre, one a bright funky orange, and the other a thankyou for a pattern book from the lovely Jeanette whom I met at the Bendigo Show - various deep reds. Ooooh lush, I love yellow and red based colours, yellows, reds, oranges, rusts. *drools a little* Also a wee book on Faerie Folklore which I will have great fun reading to and explaining about to the kiddies. Last but certainly not least, a CD by the Mafumani School Choir whom with Susan recently performed as part of the Castlemaine Choir. I desperately wanted to go along, as I just adore the vibrance and energy of African music, but sadly the Macbeast was still on nightshift, and a babysitter for the kids is not easily gotten. This CD is the next best thing!!

There was also a package of lollipops, which, predictably have been 'claimed' and are now living in the pantry to be doled out as treats. That boy of mine is very clever - he sees the postman walking down the path with a package now and starts going "yum!" - there's no sneaking anything past him anymore. 

Thankyou so much Susan, you really lifted my day! And with the Cd my days will continue to be lifted. Happy music is the best. 

And while I am on all things happy, here's my happy picture for the week. I didn't really need to take a picture, as it is directly outside my front window, but I did anyways. One of my favourite things is Cherry Blossoms. White, or pink, I love them. 2 days ago, the one in our front yard was bare except for the tiniest, most barely visible smattering of buds. Over the last two days it has exploded, like fireworks. Apologies for the dodgy picture taken at night but it truly is a thing of beauty and a sight to behold. They even LOOK like fireworks the way they shoot off in a zillion different directions. 

Spring has most certainly, sprung. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Update 3 of 3 - Rockstardom

Socks. Hand knit socks. There honestly is nothing better. The best hand knit there is, ecspecially in this yarn. These are my 'Rockstar Socks' - so dubbed because they were mostly knit in between rounds on Guitar Hero. Hahahaha, let me tell you I rock! BUT they are knit in Misti Alpaca Internation HandPaint in the colourway 'Bird In Paradise'. They are an alpaca/silk/nylon blend and man are they COMFY. I love them! New faves, it's bliss. 

In other news, I finally bought some yarn for a project that I have been lusting over. That's right, LUSTING. 

Dream In Colour Classy (worsted weight) in the colourway 'Cocoa Kiss'. It's for the Dream In Colour Shrug. (look it up, sorry I am link retarded) It's beautiful, and I can;t wait to cast on - but I am currently using my 5mm tips for Fintans Jumper so will need to finish that first. I can;t be naughty. (But don't think I didn't consider it).

And finally, some more handspun, which had not even started being spun when I did my last update, and as such needs to be included here. 

This is Merino and Angora blend from EGMTK, dyed in a colourway called 'Imperial Reign'. I was in lust at first sight with this baby, and upon being spun up, it sure didn;t dissapoint. It;s just my sort of colours, lush, vibrant auttumn tones. Again I have no idea what to do with it, but I am thinking perhaps a cowl for myself for next winter. It's 170 metres of 8ply-ish equivalent. 



And if this post seems a little scatterred to you, and a little like my brain is AWOL - that would be because it is. Both kids are sick, the Macbeast has been sick and now dum-dum-dum - I am sick. Blergh. No rest for the wicked though and must battle on, but am having a great deal of issue concentrating on anything for any real length of time. Welcome to the house of *cough* -sniff- ~sneeze~...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Update 2 of 3 - The new wheel and the handspun.

A couple of weeks ago, my new wheel arrived. She is a 'Rose' from Majacraft. Double treadle, upright wheel. Amazingly smooth, fast, and easy to spin on. And so quiet!! Not to mention far more portable than my old one. Absolutely money well spent, which is really saying something because she was far from cheap. And we all know what a tight ass I am.

Since she arrived, I have been trying to keep an even keel on my knitting and spinning time, but the fact remains I have two skeins of handspun here, and one not yet completed pair of socks. Hmm. buh-bow. When the spinning 'experience' (wank wank) is this good, it's kind of hard not to gravitate toward it though.

So far I have taken her to The Bendigo spinners and Weavers group Come and Try day. I have taken her for a visit to Catsmum's and I have also taken her to visit another friend. Just pop her on the passenger seat, put a seatbelt around, and off I go. Brilliant!

My spinning has improved with the new wheel too. Don't believe me?

Here is 100g of merino / bamboo in the 'Harvest Wine' colourway. Spun fingering weight, Navajo plied to keep the colour repeats intact.

I have no idea what to do with this yet. It's so girly, and would look great on Miss Chaos, but in what form I don't know.

However this - well I love this. Initially spun to be a beanie for Mister Mayhem because he lost his blue cabled beanie. Halfway through spinning it, he found the beanie, and now that its done the weather has started to warm up. So I think it may just become a yarn pet for a year or so until the weather cools down again. I love it alot though, so thats no hardship.
100% Polwarth in the 'Rifle Butt Road' colourway. A fractal spin, 2 ply that is about worsted weight or ten ply equivalent.


I was also RAOK'ed with some Noro Silk Garden Lite a couple of weeks back, which is living on my desk. Such beautiful colour. It's always good to have things to touch, things that make you happy, sitting around where they are accessible. I am a tactile person (yes - a tactile person. NOT a fibre/fabric/yarn whore, thanks lol) so when feeling a bit crappy the odd squish of some handspun, or just looking at something beautifully coloured or patterned makes me feel a bit better :)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Update 1 of 3 - Mayhem and Chaos

I have lots and lots and lots to update with. So I am breaking it down into three updates. This first one is concerned with Mayhem and Chaos, both Version 1.0 and version 2.0 - the kids, AND the shop I named after them.

The kids are going well. I've popped the photo up there as a reminder that nine times out of ten they really DO look like butter would not melt in their mouths. Even when you realise it is suspiciously quiet, and round the bench to find a tin of milo has been poured all over the kitchen floor, they look at you and grin, for all the world like total angels. It's lucky they are cute!

Master Mayhem now goes to daycare for 6 hours on a Friday, which has proved to be much better for him than I thought it would be. He's become more wordy since then, and alot more confident and independent which is a good thing. Although the wordiness I am in two minds over. We were so worried about his lack of speech for so long, but when I am working away on the computer with them next to me, and he drops something and goes "oh shiiiiit!" it makes me wonder why I worried at all. All in good time as they say. (Although I will admit to having to turn away so he wouldn't see me fighting my uncontrollable laughter)
He also appears to be going through a growth spurt at the moment - well, they both are actually - it's like spring has sprung and weeds and kids need to grow. All of a sudden our little boy who was kinda short, and a little bit swarthy and gnome-like because he was so broad, has shot up. Pants are becoming too short, as are sleeves.

Mistress Chaos has always been on the tall side, however she is shooting up even further too. There is 13 months and 2 days difference between my kids, but she is about 2 inches shorter than her older brother, and there is about a millimetres difference in the sizes of their feet. They have both already worked out their shoes are interchangeable. This is a problem because Miss Chaos has inherited the shoe loving gene from her mother. Whereas Mister Mayhem inherited the bowerbird gene from his father and is obsessed with anything sparkly or shiny. Throw in one pair of silver sparkly glitter shoes, the realisation by Mayhem that he fits them too and you have trouble. A world of trouble.

Miss Chaos you see, is.. well.. a bit of a drama queen. And when I say a bit, I mean I need to enrol this kid in acting classes when she is old enough. She doesn't get a drink at the exact precise moment her brother does? Have a paddy. Accidentally dropped her dummy? Have a paddy. Something doesn't move out of her path when she looks at it sternly? Have a paddy. We are talking throw self down onto the floor, wail and squeal like its the end of the world, paddy. She's a princess too. If she has socks on or is barefoot, and steps in something? She will hop around on one foot, wailing, waving the dirty foot in the air until you clean it off. It's really quite amusing that one!

I am partly bemused and yet partly of the feeling its typical that my two really are far more speedy, and far more sneaky, than other kids their age. I look at other kids out and about who will sleep in a pram, or hang on to the trolley and walk with their mothers when Shopping and I think "Why can't mine do that instead of running off in the other direction hand in hand before deciding to have a headbutting competition in another aisle?". Then I realise if they didn't do that, they wouldn't be them. And for all the sneakiness they really are very clever, beautiful kids who are alot of fun. They make me giggle on a daily to hourly basis.

That's not to say I don't have my days where I feel I will scream if I have to say the words "no", "put that down", "look with your eyes not your hands!" , "don't touch that" , "get off the bench", "put the cat down", "don't kick your brother / sister" or "get back here!" again. Although having to tell Mister Mayhem the other day "don't lick the cat!" kind of made me feel like I had fallen down the rabbit hole and lost my mind along the way.

As for Mayhem and Chaos version 2, I am nearly ready to do another stocking. I am hoping to do proper, regular stockings from now on, and am looking into getting my own website up and running down the track rather than relying on Etsy. This update will have hand dyed 18 micron sliver for spinning, and sock yarn in 5 new colourways, and one old colourway. There will also be handspun yarn go up, but I have a few things on the way for future updates. Keep eyes peeled!

And while I am speaking all things handspun, hand made etc - I have a question to ask the blogosphere at random. (It also helps as I know some of the people I am addressing the question to read this lol). If you or your kids received hand made gifts for christmas be they hand knit, handspun or whatever - would you think the giver was stingy? Or a stooge? Would you mind receiving gifts or your kids receiving gifts that by their nature are not seasonally appropriate given christmas falls in the Australian summer - but would be useful when winter rolled around again? I am considering making some of my neices and nephews some hand knit stuff for christmas gifts, but am unsure of how they would be received. Any excuse for me to thumb twiddle over a dilemma and avoid the washing piling up in the laundry eh?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Finished - in more ways than one.

A quick entry in between other commitments (ie just before I put my wee girl to bed so I can get some other things done).

What a busy busy busy week we have had around here! I am going to have to put this in bullet point form I think, there's just so much whirling around in the headspace.

*I have ordered a new wheel, to be paid for when the tax return comes in. It's a Majacraft Rose, and hideously expensive BUT - I am hoping - worth every darn penny. I am now checking the bank account for the tax return on a daily basis, and near climbing out of my skin in anticipation of it arriving. Finally more than 50 grams out of one bobbin! yay!!!! Pics are promised when she arrives.

*I have finished the Helena cardi for Miss Chaos, it's very cute and suits her well. Perfect fit too! I was worried it would be too small on her and stressed even once it was finished. But the old adage is true - it really does all block out in the end ;)

* Things are getting a wee bit busy on the business front - there's been dyeing of some sort almost every day this week, and I'm enjoying it, but running myself ragged too. The need to get some care for the kids at least one day a week, or have a better set up so I can work with them around is very obvious.

* The Macbeast is looking to be transferred to dayshift (heh.. I almost just typed dayshit) as it seems night shift has become more of a sortanightshift. They are now starting perpetually at 9.30 pm, and this is a schedule that doesn't work for anyone in this family, least alone him. He is speaking to the shift co-ordinator about it this afternoon, so we will see what the outcome is. 

*And finally.. I have resigned my post as moderator on EB and will be switched over to normal member this week sometime. With all the work going on with the business, and alot of other stuff regarding opportunities, something had to give. And that was the thing that had to give - I'm sure the person who is stepping up will fulfill everything admirably! I'll still be around though, don't get rid of me that easy.

It's a little girls nap time! I had best be off! I will be back to do the Tracey tags ;)

Monday, July 28, 2008

d00d! srsly.

A second blog update, on the SAME DAY. Have I been smoking crack? Well, no. If you count delicious fibre and yarn as crack though (and alot of spinners and knitters would) then you are close, very very close.

I said I would be back with pics of show purchases and whatnot, and so I am. I tried to take a picture of it all in one spot, but bench space is limited at the moment, and the fact that I managed nearly break a bloody hip tripping over one of the kids toys last night, pretty much prohibits climbing in a chair to ake a photo from a height my dodgy camera will allow. As a result - this post is seriously pic heavy. SERIOUSLY.

First off, some people pics from the show.
Here are Donnie (first two) and Mandie (third one). I think it's a great shot of Mandie , and the second shot of Donnie shows off the utterly STUNNING shawl she was wearing that she knit. A shawl which, I believe, found itself a new owner.

Here is a quick shot of Sally, shopping the EGMTK stall at the show:

And the gorgeous Naked Pippi (with vintagegrrl closeby) Flipping me the bird.  Oh come ON, it had to be in at least one pic?

I did take some other pictures at the bbq and the show, however due to aforementioned dodgy camera, they really aren't even worth posting. There are plenty of other who took great shots, and posted links to them on Rav, so I will just let those with fabulous cameras and mad photography skillz do the showing :)

A quick note on a couple of things I bought at the show but did not photograph: one was a niddynoddy, for helping the skein up my yarn :) yet to try it out, but am pleased to finally one! Now I have the niddy, the swift, all i need is the ball winder. 
Also, from the lovely Donnie, I bought a set of nickel plated knitpicks options. I put buying a set off for aaaaages, justifying it by saying I don't use circular needles *that* much.  MY use of circs has increased, but I still put it off. Finally I bought a set at the show, and I have been a knitting a 'Helena' cardigan for miss chaos from them and OMG. WHY did I wait? WHY did I put it off? So smooth! SO much easier on my hands! They certainly come HIGHLY reccomended from me. And considering I now know hoe to magic loop - I bought a couple smaller pairs of fixed knitpicks circs too. For socks, y'know?

Onto the montage!
To save some room on the blog, and not spend four and a half hours uploading effing pics because blogger isn't terribly good at allowing me to do that, I photoshopped up a little montage-y thing of the purchases I made.

From left, to right, top to bottom there is:
Two batts, from ArtemisArtemis on etsy, colourway 'Narcissus'. Technically not a Bendi purchase, but as they arrived on the Friday I have encluded them anyways. They contain silk, bamboo, firestar, merino, jeebus, a whole host of stuff!
Polwarth Merino and Mulberry Silk blend by Wendy Dennis. I spotted this on the Friday, but left it till the Saturday to purchase. I am a fan of yellow and this colour was spied by me from clear across the shed lol.
'Coldstream' mega blend from EGMTK. This is a blend of Optim, Soy and Bamboo and was chosen by Mac (watching him squish fibre is kinda amusing.. "ooh! oo-oo-ooh!" ROFL)
Chocoholic part uno - alpaca / merino / corriedale blend
Chocoholic part duex - merino / corriedale blend
Merino - 50g of each colour which i am planning on doing a gradient type spin with.
Fibreworks alpaca/merino/kid mohair blend yarn - so pretty with such lustre! I think I am going to use this one for a shrug for Miss Chaos to go over the top of whatever dress i make for her birthday
'Imperial Reign' merino angora blend from EGMTK. I love love love this
Finally some BFL soy blend, again from EGMTK. With those greens and yellows, I couldn't say no.
The red shot with black is merino and silk, blended and dyed by VintageGrrl and from all the girls is a thankyou for playing hotel :) Awwww
The beautifully bright and majorly funky orange yellow and blue is merino, from EGMTK. I haz no idea how it got into my bag. (thanks Mandie!!!)
Back to the left bottom is some Optim from Virgina Farms Woolworks
a small smidge of a preview of the scarf I am working on using some 8 ply Fibreworks yarn I bought, the colours of which are amazing
And finally my new spindle, gorgeous Apricot wood, hand turned By the lovely Lewis who was so friendly at the show. I was totally ecstatic to find this one was the last one left by Saturday when I got there - there had been about 20 there on Friday!! And it was the one I wanted. It is sitting on top of the other batt I got from artemisartemis, in rainbow colours. Such beautiful fibre, and a gorgeous spindle - I think this is my new happy picture of the month.

And lastly I will squeeze in a better picture of the scarf I am working on - yarn and pattern could not BE more made for each other than these two, and I am hanging out to get it finished, washed, blocked, and on my neck lol.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Let's do the time warp again

I am exhausted. Still! Bendigo sheep and wool show, and the additional bbq, were over a week ago now, and I have still not fully recovered from the amount of energy the whole thing sapped from me. It was the driving that did me in in the end, I know but phew! There ain't enough sleep in the world!

It all went very well though. The bbq was an absolute blast, with loads of people turning up for a feed and a good time. I had great fun with questions being asked to win the prizes, and everyone wearing handknit socks lining up and flashing their feet so I could choose two winners of sock yarn. Anyone else at the Lake that day must have thought we were a crazy bunch but what the heck! We are! lol.

The show itself was totally awe inspiring, with so many pretties to look at, so much amazing stuff by way of fibre, tools, yarn, and just colour, colour, everwhere you looked! I was shown so much love by ravelers as I walked around, it was brilliant and as corny as it sounds, i felt really uplifted by it all. I am set for stuff to spin for quite some time, but more on that a bit later - the next post I do will be fairly pic heavy once I get around to snapping shots of everything I bought (some of which is already in use lol)

Moving backwards though, I did head out to the show on the Friday to meet up with Catsmum, and that was thoroughly enjoyable, and aslo went to visit her on Thursday of this week gone also. I was shocked and awed by the amount of gorgeous things she has, and totally enamoured by her very cute little puppy. Miss Chaos also seemed to like the puppy, Mr Mayhem was not so sure, but they both really liked the goats! It was a nice trip all in all, and one I hope to do again soon.

A couple of days before the bbq, my package in the 'we've got you covered' swap arrived, and the clever organisers had made Bex my swap pal, so oh my - the haul of awesome stuff I got was great! There was much squealing and jumping about on the bed as I opened my 'pirate treasure' parcel. Inside was 50g of laceweight from the knittery, undyed! two badges with skulls on them for the children (got to warn the world of what is coming their way lol) two beautiful soaps, one cinnamon and one banana (I have been using the cinnamon one which I just love) a pair of gorgeous fingerless mitts in black, red and grey, and the most stunning cowl knit in pearl ten malabrigo. In all seriousness I have barely taken the cowl off since I got it, I love it that much. All nicely packaged in a leather jewelry box, shaped to look like a pirates treasure chest with skull and cross bones on top.


As for my swap pal? I sent her a nice teapot and cup set called tea for one that all pieces together. I made her some fingerless mitts, in nice autumn tones, the same pattern I then made for myself. I also sent along a block of maya gold green & blacks chocolate, and I bought some Merino and soysilk blend from Mandie of EGMTK in the 'brewed' colourway of copper and charcoal tones, and then spun it for her into a lovely hank of handspun yarn. Man, I hope she liked it! (it hurt to give that skein away, I loved it so!)

Next post - pictures of show haul and bbq!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Show us ya pink bits!

First off - last post I mentioned the symmetrical braided gauntlets I made for my swap pal, and how much I loved the fit. As it turns out, I had a skein of mmmalabrigo just begging to be made into a pair for me, and truly - who was I to say no? Out came the needles, and out came the malabrigo, and when they bred - they became my new mitts. Super warm, super cosy and just beautiful to wear. (please excuse the dressing gown - it's cold!) I love them a lot!

All in all it has been a really busy week around here. More planning for the Bendigo BBQ has occurred, knitting the gauntlets, the kids have been a smidge on the nutty side, and there's been loads going on. One of the main takers up of time though has been the quilt for my neice, which I wanted finished by Sunday morning, when we were headed to the IL's for a large family get together. I started cutting on Tuesday morning, for a single bed sized quilt. (yes, I can hear the screaming from some from here, and I am well aware many people just thought "you are an idiot!!!")

It is now known as the quilt of many lessons due to the many things that making it has taught me. The first of these lessons is that yes - a single bed sized quilt IS doable in less than a week from start to finish even for a beginner. However - you don't really want to do it quite so quickly. It's far from ideal. I had planned to make the quilt according to the pattern in a charmed quilts book Ihave. I bought one charm pack of 50 squares, then bought other fat quarters in matching and contrasting fabrics, and cut them into the same sized squares. Sewing began in earnest. I then cut out the appliques, and ironed them on. By this point, the squares on top were all sewn together in two halves, and appliques were ironed on, but certainly not sewn. I had the fabric for inner and outer borders and backing and batting sitting there ready to go, but they weren't cut either. It was Saturday morning. It was at this stage I decided to be tricky and satin stitch the appliques down after I had sandwiched the quilt together. I wasnt sold on them to be honest and I wondered if they made the whole thing just, too 'busy'. It was around this point I vividly remember telling online friends *ahh.. I'll be right. If Iend up finishing it at dawn, then thats ok. Won't be the first time I have pulled an all nighter!*

I sewed the two halves of the top together, then began cutting the inner and outer borders, and sewed them on. Ironed it all very carefully, then got Mac to lay out the backing on the loungeroom floor and sticky tape it down, and lay the batting over the top. I brought the quilt top down, lay it over it, and pinned it within an inch of it's life. It was, at this point 12.30am, Sunday morning. I headed back to the machines and began quilting.
By three 3.30am Sunday morning, those appliques were becoming a major issue. They were starting to look REALLY busy and I was itching to rip them off. I still hadn't satin stitched them down and I knew I had a choice to make. Either rip them off, and get it done in time for the gathering - OR - leave them on, go to bed and accept it couldn't be done in time, suck it up and post it in a week or two when I could bear to look at it again. I took a pic of it, partially quilted, appliques still on at this point, for posterity. Tell me - what would you have done?

What did I do? Ten minutes after I took that photo, the quilt top was sans applique. It hurt to pull them off, and I felt bad because pulling them off meant - in my head- admitting defeat or being lazy. However afterward, I hooked up another redbull to the metaphorical IV bag and headed back to the sewing machine, and something odd began to happen. The quilt which I had started off loving, then became less than enamoured with, began to get a nice sheen to it again. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a real big fan of pink. It's just - not me. So for me to be falling in love with it, ecspecially at 4am, and given it's pinkness - was odd. It was then I realised I really did like the combo of fabrics I picked for the squares. They were pretty, and girly, without being overwhelming in their pinkiness. And the appliques had seriously been overwhelming the plain beauty of the colours and patterns in the squares. Removing them was the best thing I could of done.
I finished the quilt, hung it over the couch and headed to bed at 6.30 am Sunday. By 9.30am I was out on the back deck, taking pics of the finished item.

Then, it was off to the IL's for a family gathering and present the birthday girl with her new quilt which was very well received.

I did learn a lot though. I learned that sometimes, less really IS more. I learned to trust my instincts again - if I had of ditched those appliques when I thought they were going to be a bit busy for the quilt, I would of had it finished a day early, and retained what little modicum of sanity I have left by actually sleeping. And when I finally got to bed last night, while I really did sleep the sleep of the dead, I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a steam train, and entirely unable to bend or twist. The muscles in my back are frozen and burning and I am in quite a bit of pain. And so I learned that I am no longer twenty years of age and able to pull an all nighter without batting an eyelid. Not that that is likely to stop me from doing it again.

Tonight - a long overdue date with my spinning wheel, followed by another rare, and early night for me. I MUST be getting old.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sweet Hearts for my sweetheart

I am back with an update! (see, I even amaze myself with this)

There has been quite a bit going on round here. I am flat chat between here and Bendi with quilts to make, jumpers to knit, things to organise and fibre to spin.

Todays update though is concerned with objects of the finished variety though!

A couple of days ago I completed a pair of fingerless mitts - the symmetrical braided gauntlets to be precise. I can't post a photo as they are for my secret swap pal on ravely, however I got to say - I love the pattern, and SUCH a good fit! I think I may have to make another pair, for me. Perhaps in the mmm mmm mmmalabrigo which arrived the other day in the post. I got a skein or velvet grapes, and one of paris nights. One skein is destinned to be a ziggy slouch hat, the other.. well, yeah I think fingerless mitts are on the cards. Thanks Ribs!!

My main finished object though is the quilt I have been making for Miss Chaos. After many trips to spotlight to just.. browse lol with no clue of what I was doing, and quite a bit of work it is finished! Completed last night, thrown in the wash then hung to dry. I love it and am very proud of it. I learned alot along the way and am now confident that my sewing machine is the best thing since sliced bread. Awesome!

Here she is hanging up outside for a photo shoot:

and here she is having a close up and showing off her bee-hind ;)

To come in the next update: a 500g bag of black lamb fibre. Mmmmmmmmmm.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Steep colour gradients ahead, and even steeper learning curves.

I like learning new things. New ways of doing things.
And in that vein I tried 'fractal spinning' with the other half of the happy hippie roving. Fractal spinning is spinning one half of the roving slit into lengthways strips (worsted spin) to get short colour repeats. Then you spin the other half from the top, or along the width of the roving (woollen spin), which gives you looooong colour repeats. You then take the two yarns you pade, and ply them together, and the result means you rarely get overlapping colours in the ply. I prefer a really tight ply, so thats what I did.

Here's a pic of the finished product, yarn wise. It's a dodgy photo and the colour is slightly askew, but you get the idea.

And today, I knit it up into a calorimetry for myself. The fractal spin gives it a speckled look close up, but from a distance you can see the long colour gradient repeats over all. I like it a lot!

Also this week I finally succuumbed to the lure of quilting. Not that I have done anything yet. But I scrounged and found my cutting mat, went and bought myself a rotary cutter, and a stack of fat quarters. There's also a dusky purple not pictured below, don;t know why I forgot to put it in - brain was evidently not operating fully at the time.
And no. I have no idea what to do with them lol.

I also hit the mills the other day and got myself some 'Cameo' - 10 ply, 85% wool and 15% angora. I got two oversized balls in Eucalypt which is a nice sagey green. It's earmarked for the February Lady Sweater for mum.

And finally, today I got packages!!! Two of them!!! Anyone who knows me know the highlight of just about any day for me is if I see that parcel dude headed on down the white stone path. Today he brought me a copy of the 'any hat, any size, any yarn' book by Sarah Bradberry. And a box containing a special something for a special someone, a 5 pack of dyes, and my next fibre club of the month - merino/soy! Woo!

Yay for package days :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Put a spin on it....

Brrr. Old man winter has certainly arrived in our part of the world. More frequently lately the overnight temperatures are dropping to 0 degrees or below, and we have had plenty of our usual frosty mornings.

It is lucky then that I have finally knit big Mac a pair of his own thick 100% wool socks, which he loves. He rarely takes them off and I must say I am pretty happy with them. Here is his massive clodhoppers in his 'Thuja' socks

I also finished another pair for myself. These are 'Pomatomus' socks, by CookieA, knit in cashmerino from The Knittery which was purchased with a gift voucher mum and dad got me for my birthday. It was a tricky knit, that hurt my hands with all the knitting through the back loop, and I stuffed the first sock and had to re-start repeatedly. Once everything was said and done though, they look great, and are deliciously soft and fuzzy.

And lastly, I am finally starting to churn stuff from my spinning wheel that LOOKS and FEELS just like.. *gasp* yarn!
It took me a few goes on a the spinning wheel to get the right feel for it, and after a couple of yummy efforts, things then would fall apart. I've learned a lot from this. Mainly - don;t keep spinning if it doesn't feel right, blaming yourself for being shite and hoping it gets better - DO actually attempt to adjust the tension lol. And secondly - oil the wheel regularly. I had an issue last night with constant backspinning, and a hard to treadle wheel, which was making me increasingly frustrated. Until I realised I had not oiled it since I got it. A little bit of oil later and she span like a dream all over again. 

Thus far here is my pride and joy, from roving, through to yarn, through to a finished object.
Firstly, the roving. This is what I received for the first months installment of the Ewe Give Me The Knits mixed bag fibre club. It is 100% BFL, labeled as 130grams +, in a colourway she calls 'Happy Hippie'. Appropriate name, no?

From there, I divided it in half, and used half of it to spin a single ply at a DK / 8ply weight yarn. It's a little thick and thin in parts, but overall I was pretty happy with the level of evenness it spun at. I got 113 metres from it! Only HALF of that roving!!!! It had such sheen and was so very soft.

As tempted as I was to keep it a pet and just pat it every so often, my wee Chaos girl took quite a shine to it, and colours looked lovely against her ever so pale skin. So, I started knitting. a little contrasting plain 8 ply and some crochet flowers I had sitting about (thanks Sue!)  and we have a cute wee hat wich will see her through this winter, and hopefully the next too. She's too cute, and I love the hat - so pleased with how it turned out.

She looks like butter wouldn't melt in her mouth, doesn't she?
We are still not speaking of the incident earlier in the week where both Miss Chaos and Master Mayhem broke into my craft room and my stash.. and then Master Mayhem proceeded to pain and wipe and smear with something that came out of his nappy. I'm sure one day in the distnat future I will laugh about it, but at this stage I can barely speak about it. Mac and I were smart though - we went out on the same day and bought latch locks for the top of the door.

And Finally - we are getting closer and closer to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show! Very excited!  However if you were hoping to pop along to the BBQ brekkie on the Saturday, we are very close to reaching capacity for the event - so if you want to come along, get your skates on and get RSVP'ing!