Winter is lovely this year

On most Sundays of the year, the Newcastle Farmers’ Markets are on at the Broadmeadow showground. It is my absolute favourite place to be on Sunday mornings. There is an active, relaxed atmosphere of farmers, artisans and vendors of all sorts with jazz music in the background. The food is fresh, the smells delicious, the colours bright and the people happy. Do go and visit if you are in the area. PS I have some  yarns in the Umbrella Artisan’s store in the first shed (closest to the gate).

In the afternoon, we went out in the lovely weather and walked along the Newcastle foreshore, soaking up the atmosphere, eating Harry’s pies and ice cream, listening to live music at The Brewery, walking the dogs and observing the Novocastrians wandering past.

Remember the vest I was knitting? It is complete and warm and has generated several positive comments :). I chose not to block it, but might do it after its first bath.

The new hand spun, vegetable dyed Hemp yarns are here. They are rugged and tough.

Suggestions for use include : kitchen scrubbers, bath scrubbers, Warp for weaving, mesh warp for rugs and carpets and crochet carry bags, plant pot holders, wrapping parcels and garden uses.

Crocheted Kitchen Washer is made from just under 1 ball.

Set up row : Chain 33 with 4.5mm hook.

Row 1: Working back to beginning, first 3st are first tr, insert hook into 4th chain from end, tr in every chain, turn. Total of 31st.

Row 2: Chain 3 (as first tr), tr in next stitch until end of row, turn. Total 31st.

Repeat Row 2 until there is a square fabric. Chain 12 stitches and slip stich into base of the 1st chain. Pull end through and weave in all ends.

TADA! Use to scrub dirty dishes or dirty feet.

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!

Visiting the Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013

This post is dedicated to all the farmers, primary producers and supporting industries that supply us with our basic need : FOOD.

On Easter Monday, we visited the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I love this spectacular display of the strong agricultural basis of the state. I grow veggies at home and own some chickens, so thinking about all the growing that occurs on the huge commercial scale is just incredible. Australia is an amazing place to be able to produce so much produce and of such high quality.

Up at 6am, caught 7am train to Homebush, dived into the show and got lost amongst the chickens, alpacas, horses and other animals. The male turkeys gave us a display which made us all laugh. They spread their tails, strutted around the cage, lowered their snood, and gave us a “gobble, goobble, gloobbley GOOP” !

My favourite display is always in the Art and Craft Pavilion. Some other favourites that I have not included pictures of include the Giant Food Art displays, the Pig Diving, the Grand Parade, the Dog Shows, the Sheep Shearing. There is so much more to see and do, so the next time I visit, I think I might get a 2 day pass so I actually get to see everything.

Are you looking at me?
Are you looking at me?
Hi I am an alpaca. The sheep are in the next shed.
Hi I am an alpaca. The sheep are in the next shed.
A face only a mother could love.
A face only a mother could love
Amazing! Where's my cup of tea?
Amazing! Where’s my cup of tea?
First Prize winner SREA2013 Wedding Cake. Just Incredible.
First Prize winner SREA2013 Wedding Cake. Just Incredible.
P1020853
First Prize Showcase SRES2013
Ferris Wheel Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013
Ferris Wheel Sydney Royal Easter Show 2013
Rides, rides and more rides!
Rides, rides and more rides!
Last stop : kids got home happy.
Last stop : kids got home happy.

Weaving Post 1

I thought that weaving was “too hard” for me to learn. But since 2007, I have owned and loved the Ashford Knitters Loom, which is simple enough to learn in 30 minutes, and I have completed a scarf in under 4 hours.

By chance, Ecoyarns had a stand (at the Craft show in the Racecourse) right next to Gay Epstein who runs Ashford Australia in Cooma, and the very talented and patient Nicola Bota ( she runs the craft shop at Ashford New Zealand), who taught me to warp and weave in about 30 minutes, then tolerated me asking them a million questions.

My most recent project was commenced at the Majacraft Camp last September, with a lot of new (to me) techniques, as taught by the highly talented and enthusiastic teacher Donyale Grant of Moggy and Me.

That scarf is finally finished and I must say it is a very textured scarf that my OCD tendencies would otherwise have not let me create. This unstructured (my opinion) method of free weaving really challenged by my usual strict edges, no loose threads policy.

I can see a world of possibilities open up with those pesky yarn ends from completed projects. (Oh yeah, I keep them too. Hoarding tendency?)

See what you think.

 

Weaving_post_1_closeup_2
Weaving_post_1
Weaving_post_1_closeup

Brief guide to what I did :

Using the 30cm Knitters Loom and the 10dpi reed, warp 60 ends.

Collect a random assortment of materials that you might like to see together.

I used : crochet cotton, DK cotton, handspun (various types), sari ribbon, novelty yarns, smooth 8 ply wool various colours, tufts of fibre, silk georgette offcuts, novelty yarns, silk ribbon.

Begin the first few rows with a smooth yarn, then try any technique you like.

When you get to the end of the warp with about 12cm left, use a smooth yarn for a few rows to finish.

Twist ends to form fringe. Dunk scarf in hot water and gently roll in a towel, the bash the towel around, rinse in cold water. Dry flat.

 

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.

Salihan-blog-sign-off

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

Vivian-blog-signoff

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