I keep forgetting, or simply not finding the time to post. Apologies, gentle readers. I’ve needed the making more than I’ve been inclined to post about it this last while. But I’ve been spinning Malcolm’s Kangaroo Island “black” Merino cross (left), and leftover batts of local Finn cross (right) and clearly there was a day when they posed with leaves and flowers…
When we were at Marion Bay (cough) I carded a lot of wool, and did some blending.
But I’ve also spun up all manner of wool dyed previously, including the last of the earth palette dyed wool. There was a request for bulky yarn from one friend in particular. She’s managing the state of the world by knitting a lot of beanies and gauntlets. So I sent more yarn. And there was some very pale woad dyed wool that went into a vat with soursobs I weeded at someone else’s house.
But the big excitement is the Suffolk/Silk/Kid Mohair blend for #tuffsocksnaturally. The last of which is in the dyepot with some leaves on the day I am drafting this post. To be continued…
The leafy log cabin workshop went ahead recently, and it was a lovely day of stitching, dyeing, company and cake. So much cake! I took one photo near the start…
And one photo of a silk bag at the end.
Evidently, I didn’t take any in between! I dyed a lot of fabric in advance of this workshop, so I’ve had a lot of fun with it already. I had a surprise success in getting green from maple leaves. Kangaroo Paw prints was another happy surprise outcome. And I have what are sure to be the first of many more leafy log cabin blocks. It was great fun watching what other people made with some of the fabric I’d dyed (and in some cases, fabric they had dyed), and their own big imaginations. I was very struck by how many others expressed what I often feel: reluctance to use beautiful materials. Wanting to start with whatever is leftover or unwanted. Patchwork is a bit of a happy place for people who have this orientation toward using things up, I think.
And as well as the pleasure of spending time with lovely women, sewing and sharing and exploring, I had the pleasure of Susan’s home and hospitality, and since we spent the night before the workshop nearby, the joy of Aldinga beach at sunset too.
What is it about brioche knitting? I can honestly tell you that I do not know. It is all over the internet of knitters. There are designers who are all about the brioche. And there’s more. Like Stephen West’s videos of wildness. Brace yourself if you’re new to Stephen West. If someone had asked me if an over-the-top, camp, intensely colourful aesthetic could grip the imagination of thousands of knitters, I am not sure I would have seen this knitting phenomenon coming. But I love that it is even possible. If you’re curious, follow him on Instagram! But he is not alone–there are calmer, gentler, more quietly coloured brioche patterns and books out there too.
Then brioche started appearing in patterns I was proof reading. One of Kit Couture’s signature designs is a brioche jumper (sweater). I like it very much though I am not convinced it is designed for a person of my shape nor climate. But reading the instructions made me think I needed to try it out with wool to understand. I decided to try a hat to see if I could do it, and helpfully Stephen West has created one, and as a bonus, it uses up small quantities of yarn in a weight I use and spin a lot. I took this to Marion Bay. Oh, Marion Bay!
I didn’t finish it there, but in the end I finished it and improved my understanding a lot. Ta da!
Postscript: after I’d finished this hat and added it to my little stack of beanies, I had a call from a treasure who has some pet sheep. I either spin her sheeps’ fleece, or find people who would like to spin it and gift it on. This time she didn’t want yarn and I couldn’t figure out a return gift, until I suggested beanies. I left the whole beanie stash for her to consider when she dropped off fleeces, and this is the one she chose!
Some considerable time ago, I bought a blue faced leicester/texel/silk blend roving designed for socks, and spun it into three-ply yarn. A very fine yarn! I seriously overachieved on spinning sock weight. I finally decided to buy finer needles in order to knit it, and now it has become my first pair of no-nylon, no-superwash socks for the #tuffsocksnaturally project.
Here it is at a coffee shop where I believe I was knitting while reading (some of the) hundreds of pages of papers for a meeting.
Here it is at the Park-n-Ride (that’s a car park servicing a train station, basically) where I get off the train and wait for the bus. There is just no way to know what the other passengers think of all the sock shenanigans. A few offer me shy grins and one bus passenger recently told me she used to knit a lot but no one wants her knitting anymore. I feel blessed for my friends, all over again!
Here it is on the wide open road headed for a long weekend at Marion Bay. The photographer may have leaned over a bit.
Marion Bay was glorious. Here, I’ll show you a little bit. But also there were dolphins, lots of dolphins, emus, lots of emus, kangaroos, and ladybirds, lots of ladybirds, and very many, very shy birds indeed.
And here the socks are, finished, in all their whimsically cabled glory.
The old ironing board cover was made from a lovely but pre-loved piece of bark cloth that had begun to wear right through to the previous cover. It was time. I might be taking this ironing board to a workshop, so I want it to be in good shape! I had a big piece of stout orange and white striped cotton fabric my daughter gave me for a birthday. It bears an IKEA label but she has begun to give me only second hand gifts, which I just love! It makes me feel… that she sees me somehow. So this item, perhaps a table cloth, has passed from hand to hand a few times in its lifetime with apparently little use, and in the right hand image I’m tracing around the ironing board before cutting out.
Next steps: finishing the edge and creating a casing, discovering a tool for threading cord through a very long casing in my sewing table, and inserting recycled cotton yarn into the casing.
Then, fitting damp cover over ironing board, tightening cord, and massaging into position. Ta-da!
I know I’ve mentioned Danish knitting kits… and I finished another one.
About to embark on grafting the toe on the train.
Stripes on a plane!
Sunny day at my place of work.
Knitting on Kaurna land…
And the finished article. There was a hitch in which I failed to recognise that the pattern called for a change of colour for the heel. If I had actually done that (or gone back when I realised my mistake much later), I might have had enough yarn to make the toes match. However, the dear friend whose very large feet these socks are destined for won’t be troubled, and I am guessing those mismatched toes will often be inside shoes…
My recent experience of Danish knitting kits had me in mind of Yarn Harlot’s DIY knitting kits. I seem to remember her setting up her own sock club, with yarn, needles and patterns already in her possession, tucked into bags, set up and ready to go the moment she needed a knitting project. So, I got out my empty project bags and prepared myself for weeks of meetings.
This one is Bendigo Woollen Mills alpaca and some of Joyce’s handspun. That became a hat in one day.
There was black alpaca left from that kit, so I switched it for the natural yarns in the kit below.
That hat flew out in less than two days.
Finally, I decided to use up the remainders of the jumper I made a while back.
I made some random design decisions (I use the word “design” lightly here) in the middle of a meeting and that’s how this hat came about. At the end of this week of knitting kits, I decided I could probably set up a kit for a jumper provided it had lots of mindless simple knitting–and knit that in meetings. So much casting on…!