Knitting up a storm

P1020898I had the pleasure of previewing this yarn and the minute I got it, I fell in love and had to cast on straightaway!

The colour has such a “stormy” feel to it, but is buttery soft yet substantial. You have to feel it to understand.

I am using this lovely Gotland yarn in Charcoal for my Alice top. A lacy stunning vest which I plan to wear with a shirt to layer on in winter.

Knitting like a maniac to finish this soon so I can wear it!

Gotland sheep are originally from Scandinavia, but Cheryl has started her own herd here in Australia and processed her fibres and yarns in Australia. I have been a fIrm supporter of Australian made and processed, so have managed to score most of the small production from the farm for this year.

EcoOrganic-Cotton-Flamme-Group-lores_grande

Since autumn is here and heralds the coming cooler season, I am announcing a sale on  the favourite yarns of EcoOrganic CottonTreliske Organic Wool  and Organic Cotton Flamme for 2 weeks starting 4th May.

Last, but not least, have you seen Rhonda’s blog? Down To Earth Blog is such an inspiration to me. Her ethos and management of her home are something to aspire to. I have tried her techniques and tricks with great success. Check it out!

EcoOrganic Cotton and Angel Touch Alpaca

Rainbow_cotton_alpaca_scarf_1

I started this as a sampler project.

You know, to check gauge for the yarn combination and tried various stitches and test needles sizes and so on.

I started with one cotton colour (there are 40 colours!) and one alpaca colour( there are 7 colours), first I swapped the cotton colours around first, then changed the alpaca colours as well.

Eventually, the scarf ended up about 2.5m long and very rainbow!!! I do love it so.

My oldest is modelling it here, but she will have to fight me so she can wear it!

No pattern provided, but brief general instructions given below: 

Using 6 to 8 mm needles ( or size desired to achieve effect). I wanted a drapey fabric and the smaller needles gave me a much firmer fabric.

This is a good oppurtunity to see the changing effects of changing needle sizes.

Cast on 30 stitches loosely holding one strand of EcoOrganic Cotton and one strand of Angel Touch Baby Alpaca together.

Change colours (either cotton or alpaca) every 20 or 40 rows. Use garter stitch edges and any stitch pattern you desire. I used stocking stitch, moss stitch, double moss stitch, ribbing, garter stitch.

Knit to desired length ( ours was 2.5m) and cast off loosely. Weave in all ends.

Block if desired.

Rainbow_cotton_alpaca_scarf

 

Guess what we have been up to these last few months

If you have looked at our website over the last year, you might have noticed a few changes, such as adding a blog, patterns linked, new emails.

Today though, is our big day for the new website.

We are still testing it for the next day or so, so please be patient with us.

Any volunteers to test out the checkout would be much appreciated. 

If you are interested in testing out our checkout system, please write us an email. We will send some instructions including the password to access the shopping site while it is still password locked so you can put in a dummy order or two.

We are offering a gift voucher for volunteers for their time. We will be refunding all monies deducted from your Paypal account during the test checkout.

After the “test checkout” we would really appreciate any comments to improve your experience. 

 

 

Yarn Bombing as Art

What a glorious weekend it was! The sun was out and it was a balmy 20 degrees on Saturday. It was a perfect morning for a little visit to the Gosford City Markets. The markets are held every second Saturday of the month in Kibble Park from 8 am to 1 pm. Last Saturday they had a Christmas in July theme and there were performances held on stage the whole morning. 

As I meandered my way past the fresh bread stall to the fresh produce stalls, my husband pointed out that the bins were covered in crochet. I was rather puzzled but didn’t take much notice of it. My stomach was rumbling and I wanted food! Haha… So we bought a pie and fresh popcorn and nibbled at them while browsing the stalls selling lovely handmade bags and soft toys.

We were walking along and to my surprise, we saw this right near the stage. Yarn bombers!

Putting the heart in Gosford

A group of local ladies, lead by the Bowerbird Project in Gosford, were setting up an art display.

Putting the heart in Gosford

The display is called “Putting the heart in Gosford” and it involved dressing up the deciduous trees in Gosford’s City Centre with yarn.

Putting the heart in Gosford

It looked to me that the ladies had quite a bit of support from their family and friends too. Good on you fellas and littlies!

Putting the heart in Gosford

The artwork was not limited to the trees. Besides the bins being topped by crochet work, the mini bridge got a pretty dressing too.

Putting the heart in Gosford

And even the rocks were not spared! So much colour and texture packed into a small park.

Putting the heart in Gosford

It was really exciting to see yarn bombing being brought to life on the Central Coast. We are not the big city like Sydney but the passion for knitting and crocheting is well and truly alive here. Big thumbs up to all those involved. Thanks for making Gosford a less dreary place to visit.

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Teapot Cosies and a Quick Catchup

Hello again! How have you been? I’m well and plodding along with my big belly, feeling more and more like an ogre than a woman at times.

I’m also rather forgetful. It’s taken me a month to remember that I wanted to share the Teapot Cozy Exhibition with you. Oops!

2012-06-09 Fishermans Wharf

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Woy Woy. It’s early June and the weather is starting to feel real cold at times. We went for coffee with my in-laws and had a nice stroll along the waterfront after that.

2012-06-09 Fishermans Wharf 2

The trees were stunning at this time of year. I love the crimson oranges and reds in the leaves against the bluest of blue skies. There were lots of people out and about enjoying the sunshine. No one seemed to mind the cold when the sun is out like this.

We walked around the corner towards the Country Women’s Association building and realised that the yearly Tea Cozy Exhibition was on! They even had tables and chairs out on the lawn where you can have yourself a nice Devonshire Tea. Too bad we had already eaten. But naturally we had to have a stickybeak at the tea cosies.

There were two main categories you could enter your tea cosies into – Children’s Stories and General Section. I especially like the entries into the Children’s Stories.

Tea Cozy Exhibition 2012 - Owl

Tea Cozy Exhibition 2012 - Tea with Grug

Aren’t they just the cutest? Such creative handiwork! I love the Grug!

Tea Cozy Exhibition 2012 - Winners

And the picture above is the winners’ table. I personally would have picked some other cosies to win. But there were many good entries so judging must have been quite hard.

Looking at the pictures now make me feel like having a pot of tea. Hehe… But I’ll control myself (for now) and just talk to you a wee bit longer.

I have been knitting and crocheting a little. But my arm and shoulder gets really sore pretty quick nowadays. I’ve been told that pregnancy may cause carpal tunnel so I’ve been careful not to overdo things. This, however, means that progress on my projects are moving at a snail’s pace.

I started this baby kicking/sleeping bag for Yasmin in late May and I’m only halfway done. 🙁

Kicking Bag WIP

Do you recognise the yarn? It’s the sock yarn that Vivian jelly dyed for me. Pretty isn’t it? If you missed Vivian’s tutorial, you can check it out HERE. It’s so cool how you can dye yarn using ordinary jelly crystals and the microwave.

Anyway, fingers and toes crossed that I get the sleeping bag finished before my munchkin is born. It’s less than 5 weeks away! Boy, oh boy, time flies when you’re having fun.

Keep those hands busy and stay warm everyone. Chat again soon. Ta taaa!

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Ruffles here, there, everywhere

I don’t know if it’s because I’m having a baby girl, but I’ve been adding ruffles to everything. Well, not everything but you know what I mean. If you look at my Ravelry project page, I haven’t used ruffles before I got pregnant. Must be the hormones.

First I knitted a shawl for myself and added ruffles to the edge.

Silk Shawl
Ravelry project page

Then I knitted a small pinwheel blanket for the bubba and added a ruffle edge to that. It’s actually a lace border but it turned out ruffley anyway.

Pinwheel blanket
Ravelry project page

Finally I finished off the Milo baby vest with even more ruffles!

Milo with ruffles 1

I blogged about this soft cotton vest two months ago and I finally got enough motivation to finish it recently. My gauge was off. So instead of fitting my girl in spring, it’ll fit her in summer or fall next year. Oh well. Better too big then too small.

I did learn two new techniques from knitting this little vest:
1. Cabling without a needle. Easier than I thought it’ll be and the cables went much faster.
2. Decrease (or lace) bind off to create a stretchy bottom hem.

The ruffles were crocheted and it was just trial and error really. What do you think?

Milo with ruffles 2

Pattern: Milo (Ravelry)

Yarn: EcoOrganic Cotton from Ecoyarns

Needles: 4 mm

Ravelry project page 

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Ecoyarns Top Down Socks Part 3 Foot and Toes

Early announcement we are unveiling a new shopfront in the next few weeks, so look out for it!

Meanwhile, to clear stock of yarns are we will no longer carry, there is a 30% off sale till the end of June on many many items.

BACK TO THE SOCK CHANNEL

If you have come this far, then its a home run from here. Take it step by step and soon you will have a handknitted sock! 

Foot

You should have 16 st on Needle 1, 32 st on Needle 2, 16 st on Needle 3.

Knit in pattern across the 32 stitches for the top of the foot. (Needle2)

Knit in stocking stitch for sole of foot. ( Needles 1 and 3) Stocking stitch is knit every round.

Continue until the foot of the sock measures 5cm less than the length of your foot.

Sock_foot_done

Decreasing toe stitches

Round 1

Needle 1: Knit to 3 stitches before Needle 2, k2tog, k1.

Needle 2: K1, k2tog, knit to 3 stitches before Needle 3, k2tog, k1.

Needle 3: k1, k2tog, knit to end.

Round 2

Knit all stitches.

Repeats rounds 1 and 2 until there are 16 stitches left on Needle 2.

Kitchener stitch the toe closed. Its not as scary as some make it seem, though it can be confusing. This link may be helpful or check out this video.

I love the Kitchener stitch seamless toes. I always finish weaving all the stitches together before adjusting each stitch to make it as even as possible on the toe.

Alternatively you can 3 needle bind off, but then you will have a ridge on the toe of your socks.

Sock_almost_there

YAY! one sock done, now weave in the yarn ends and knit sock 2.

Then wear with panache!

Sock_finished

Log fires and wintry nights

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This pattern will be available as a download in the new shop.

DIY Yarn Organizer

Have you ever finished a project and had a tiny bit of yarn leftover? It’s such a shame to just chuck it back into the stash and forget about it. That’s exactly what happened to me after I finished knitting the baby kimono. I really wanted to knit a pair of booties to match the kimono but the question is do I have enough yarn? Oh, the stress!

leftover yarn

I wanted to use every last bit of the yarn so I had two choices. I could weigh the yarn and knit precisely half the amount per bootie.

The second option was to cast on both booties at the same time using the two ends of the ball of yarn and knit both sides at the same time. This is what I chose to do. 

knit from both ends

But there was a small hitch. The yarn kept tangling up! Bugger. 

So my hero aka hubby came to the rescue. I asked him to make me a yarn organiser. Naturally he had no idea what I was talking about but he was more than happy to help.

1. Start with a plastic container. I used a round one with a screw on top.

2. Mark 2 holes on opposite sides of the lid. Drill holes. Tidy up any sharp edges with a file. You don’t want your yarn to get caught in the holes.

drill holes in plastic container

You can stop here if you haven’t cast on yet. Just pop the yarn into the container and thread the ends of the yarn through the holes. BUT if you’re like me and in the middle of a project, you will need the following steps.

3. Using a small serrated knife, cut through the lid towards the holes. Use the pictures below to guide you. Again use a file to make sure all the edges are smooth.

Cut lid

Lid with holes

Drop the ball of yarn into your new yarn organizer. Using the slits on the lid, thread the yarn into the holes. Screw the lid back on. Knit away!

knitting with yarn organiser

Pretty easy, huh? So I knitted until I ran out of one colour and then changed to the other colour. I ran out of yarn for the soles and just used a small amount of unlabelled pink yarn from my stash. Worked out perfectly actually! Who would have thought.

stay on baby booties

Free pattern: Stay-on baby booties 
Yarn: Treliske Organic Merino 4 ply from Ecoyarns and Kathy’s Fibres SW Sock
Needles: 2.5mm
Ravelry project page

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Ecoyarns Top Down Socks Part 2 Heel Turn

This part of the sock recipe is the one that makes beginners nervous. Never fear, give it a try and we have provided a wordy version of the heel turn with pictures to help.

Abbreviations

Sl: Slip 

k: knit 

p: purl 

k2tog: knit 2 together

p2tog: purl 2 together

ssk: slip 2 stitches knitwise, insert left needle into front of the 2 slipped stitches, knit through back loops.

Heel flap

Redistribute stitches for 32 stitches on one needle (Heel stitches) and 16 stitches each on 2 other needles. 

Sock_heel_setup_

Working back and forth only on the 32 heel stitches 

Row 1: (Slip 1, knit 1) repeat until end of needle.

Row 2: Sl 1 purl to end. 

Row 3: Sl 1, (sl 1, k1) repeat until 1 stitch is left, k1.

Row 4: Sl 1, purl to end.

Repeat these 4 rows until there are 31 rows in total, finish with Row 3.

Heel turn

Next row, start heel turn: purl 18, p2tog, p1, turn. 

(These are short rows and you only knit SOME of the stitches in each row)

Sl 1, k5, ssk, k1, turn.

Sl 1, p6, p2tog, p1, turn.

Sl 1, k7, ssk, k1, turn.

Sl 1, p8, p2tog, p1, turn. Continue in this way until all stitches are used.

The last ssk, will NOT have a matching k1, and the last p2tog also does not have a matching p1,but it requires a yarnover to start the next row. Please see picture.

How to Yarnover at the beginning of a row: bring yarn to the front, insert needle into first stitch as to knit, bring yarn over the needle to the back to knit this first stitch.

(Note: The yarnover is to reduce the chance of a hole forming at this spot. If the instructions are too confusing, just omit this yarnover for simplicity, it will not change the pattern. Optional instructions are in italics.)

Sock_heel_yo1Sock_heel_yo2

There should be 1 yarnover and 18 stitches on your needle.

Sock_heel_turn

Rearrange the 2 needles holding 16 stitches each for the top of the foot to 1 needle holding 32 stitches.

Pick up 16 stitches along the edge of the heel flap. I picked up 15 stitches along the edge, then the 16th stitch was from the stitch in the corner turn. This minimises a hole in that area. Place Marker. 

Sock_pick_upSock_pick_up_2Sock_corner

Knit in pattern across the 32 stitches for the top of the foot. Place Marker.

Pick up 1 stitch in the corner between the leg of the sock and the heel flap, then pick up 15 stitches along the side of the heel flap. 16 stitches picked up. 

Slip the yarnover from the previous row then knit across 9 heel stitches.

At this point, you should have 27 stitches on Needle 1, MARKER 1, 32 stitches on Needle 2, MARKER 2, 27 stitches plus 1 yo on Needle 3.

Decreasing heel stitches

Decrease round: K to 3 stitches before Marker 1, k2tog, k1, slip marker. Knit in pattern across top of foot. Slip Marker 2, k1, ssk, knit to stitch before the yarnover, slip yarnover as if to knit slip the next stitch, knit these 2 stitches through the back loop, then knit to base of heel.

This completes the first round of decreasing. 

All subsequent decrease rounds will not have the extra ssk for the yarnover.

Plain round: Knit all stitches to marker, slip marker, knit in pattern across top of foot, slip marker 2, knit all stitches.

Repeat these two rounds until each of the two heel needles have 16 stitches remaining on each.

Sock_heel_ndl1Sock_heel_ndl2

Additional Note: In case you did not notice from the photos, I do not actually use stitch markers, but use the space between two needles as the indicator for decreasing the heel stitches.

 

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Kawaii baby kimono

Hiya! Hope you’re happy and healthy where you are. It’s the cold and flu season around here and it’s been like walking acoss a minefield when I’m out and about, dodging the sneezing and coughing. Thankfully I haven’t caught anything serious. Phew!

So do you remember the baby kimono I showed you in my previous blog post? Well I used the nicely wound mini skein of handdyed yarn to neaten up the edges around that baby kimono. As you can see from the photo below, the bind off edge around the neckline has left a rather ugly stair step. Yuck. We can’t leave it like that, can we?

20120506 attached i-cord on baby kimono

To neaten this up, I knitted an attached i-cord right around the edges. I’m not very good at remembering technical stuff so I used this attached i-cord tutorial from Purl Bee to refresh my memory. The colourful i-cord also added a much needed zing to the kimono. It is after all for a baby.

And here is the finished jacket. Ta-da! A super kawaii (cute) baby kimono for my girl.

Baby Kimono

Interesting fact – Did you know that kimonos are worn left over right? It doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. They only dress corpses right over left! So take note when knitting a kimono for yourself. You don’t want to wear it the wrong way. Might be bad luck or something.

Free pattern: Garter stitch baby kimono (Ravelry download)
Yarn: Treliske Organic Merino 4ply from Ecoyarns and Kathy’s Fibres SW Sock
Needles: 2.5 mm and 3.0 mm
Mods: Cast on for newborn but knit length longer (1-3 months length) to make it less boxy. Attached i-cord edging.  
Ravelry project page

baby kimono and stay-on booties

I had some leftover yarn from the jacket so I knitted booties to match. But there’s a bit of a story and a tutorial with those booties. So until next time, stay warm and keep on knitting!

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