Fair Isle Beanies

FairIsle BeaniesAlexis brought along a trio of Fair Isle beanies on Monday and the colour choices and designs made a strong statement about the value of Fair Isle knitting. Traditionally, it is from a tiny island in the north of Scotland which forms part of the Shetlands. There are traditional patterns to follow and then there are the pseudo Fair Isle patterns because people want to do something similar but not the same. There are some free Fair isle knitting patterns on Knitting Patterns Galore  there are also some  free colour work patterns on Let’sknit but some of those are Nordic and free form colour patterns. A picture of Alexis’ dark beanie went up on Instagram late yesterday because Instagram has #fairislefriday to celebrate Fair Isle knitting. Overnight the picture has garnered 29 likes. People like and value Fair Isle and you can see why from the beanies .


Class act

red felted hatWe have a number of expert felters in our group. They create the most amazing things both in terms of design and colour. As we said yesterday, it really is all about the colour and it’s something we talk about a  lot. Jan is one of our expert felters and her inspired creations have been on display at Gallery M at the Marion Cultural Centre. The gallery is very good at supporting local artists and artisans. Jan’s bold and confident use of colour make her work a class act. Enjoy.

red felted beret

red felted hat and jewellery display

Navajo plying

This group is keen on Navajo plying. Never a week goes by without hearing about it:

“I think I’ll Navajo ply this.”

“Why don’t you Navajo ply it?”

“This will look good if I Navajo ply it.”

“Not sure what to do with this but I think I’ll Navajo ply it.”

“Have you thought of Navajo plying it?”

navajo plying
Why don’t you Navajo ply it?

Navajo plying is a learned skill as is using a spinning wheel in the first place. You can’t just do it. You have to learn how to do it and let time do the work. The more you practise, the better you get. This group encourages new people to learn new skills with any old wool just to get the techniques and confidence. There is no fear of failure and no crying over spilt milk! You can then concentrate on your skills and not have the burden of worrying about whether you are wasting good yarn and fleece because you cannot easily do something you think you ought to be able to do easily. Spinning is a real art. Sarah Anderson explains Navaho plying in the video well. Not everyone makes a long loop. Some people find it easier to make a short loop. Others make a really long loop. Margaret’s Navajo plied wool shows you just how lovely and squishy it is. It maintains the colour integrity of the wool you have spun and creates a thicker 3 ply wool you can use. It’s worth the effort and practice to give you texture and colour options as you spin.

Yarn addicts

Yarn addicts guide
We’ll use any yarn, cheap or not!

We love to spin. With the change of season from winter to spring our colours have changed. We had a cold, wet winter and it is still going on to some extent. Some days have brought the brilliant Adelaide sunshine. To keep ourselves going through winter we had some local fleece, wool and fibre sellers coming to visit . We could enthuse at what was available and it kept us cheery and motivated. Now that spring seems to be settling in the colours on the wheels have changed. During winter we wanted something new and different.


spinning spring coloursNow that spring is here some have been through their stashes and found gems of fleece and carded wool to spin. The colours  are always well chosen but people seem to have got in touch with their inner colour palette to bring out some stunning colour combinations and choices. The wheels have been spinning. The yarns from these wheels are going to be a cut above because we have kept ourselves motivated and inspired. We are not prejudiced when it comes to yarn addiction. Spinning means we can create our own , stunning, high quality skeins of any fibre we choose…but we’ll be just as enthusiastic about yarns we bought in sales and we don’t mind where we bought it. We are true yarn connoisseurs.

Measuring yarn yardage

Marjorie started a really animated conversation about yardage one week when she brought along the yarn meter she had just purchased. She was showing us how it worked, we were wondering how easy it would be to use and then great conversations started about why you needed to know the yardage and the weight. For handspun wool , especially, it is important to know the yardage you’ll need to compete a project. You cannot always do it by weight because of the texture of the spun wool you have created. So yardage is a thing and people need to get their maths out. There is a good review of yarn meters on Nancy’s Knit Knacks. Fresh Stitches goes through very clearly how to calculate yardage  and then the video explains a number of things about what you need to do to prepare wool after spinning so that you are ready to use it.

Dyed wool

dyed wool
Colour feast of dyed wool

Dyed wool can come into your life all sorts of ways! Dyeing wool is both an art and  a real skill. You have to be able to dye wool competently and then choose appropriate colours which work together. Dyeing can be done in different ways. The video shows one way. Care and knowledge are essential. Our show and tell table this week was such a colourful sight which we were so enthusiastic about. The amount of time and effort which had gone into the colour choices and then creation of the wool was impressive and gave a colourful overview of what can be achieved with wool dyeing.

Marjorie shared a skein of spun yarn wool/silk & alpaca in grey.

Margaret knitted beret from spun dyed fleece from  Susie Horn’s.

Jan  shared a spun skein of Alexis’ dyed turquoise tops.

Janette  brought 3 lovely balls of spun wool in aqua/white/grey. The colours were so soft.

Alexis brought in her 5 latest dyed coloured tops which were instantly popular and created a lot of colour discussion, 2 carded batts which had some beautiful colours  & a skein of spun dyed fleece in light pastel colours.

Seafoam scarf

Seafoam scarfAndrea wasn’t able to make it to the group yesterday but she sent along a great pile of  free patterns and we were so excited! She had chosen the patterns well and they were the sorts of things we really liked.  Andrea knows us well. One popular one was the Seafoam scarf. If you look at the images on the Ravelry site you can see how choosing different yarns and colours really changes the appearance of the scarf. It’s a good pattern to use to play with colour effects. You can change texture by altering the needle size and weight of the wool and the sort of wool/yarn you use. Again it will impact on the look of the scarf. From that point of view it’s a very good pattern to have in your knitting arsenal! You can get a free copy of the pattern here from Ali G on Ravelry.

Come and join us on Facebook

We are on Facebook! Please come and join our group. Alan has made the group and so we are up and running. If you are on Facebook type in SEAFORD SPINNERS and WEAVERS into the search box  as in the picture. If you love yarn arts and crafts like we do you are a welcome member. It’s a public group. We have just started it so it will become what you help to make it. A big thank you to Alan for setting it up. Seaford Spinners and Weavers on Facebook

Colourful Beanies

spool of woolMargaret has been spinning some beautiful colours from a bag of Suzie Horn’s wool. Her spool can look so interesting as she spins the colours. This time she spun the wool to make two colourful beanies and they are so cheerful in their appearance.  Just because the weather is dull, you don’t have to be.

margaret's beanies

Knitted baby jacket

baby hoodieCathy brought a knitted  hooded baby jacket for show and tell. It was the first garment she had been able to make from her homespun wool. She is new to spinning this year so the jacket marks a milestone. The jacket pattern is free on Yarnspirations. It is knitted in garter stitch in one piece from wrist to wrist and then the hood is knitted on separately. The yarns used are alpaca, merino and ram’s wool and all the colours are natural fleece colours.