Table top weaving

Christine brought along her inkle loom and her miniature heddle loom and showed us how the same weaving pattern could look different on both of them. She tended to prefer the pattern on her inkle loom but we all liked both of them. They are both good patterns for different reasons. Setting up a big loom can be daunting but is worth the effort of learning. Christine is showing us you can have small looms and turn out lovely weaving which can be used for all sorts of things. The table top heddle loom gives you more options but the inkle loom is totally transportable.

There are some good free patterns and plenty of weaving information on interweave.

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Sleeveless jacket

knitted sleeveless jacketThis sleeveless jacket is knitted in one piece on round needles. Marjorie has dyed all the wool for it and spun it and now she has nearly finished her jacket. We can’t wait to see it when it is finished. It is a beautiful colour. It is thick and warm and will provide some good protection against the cold . it’s colour will be cheerful in winter. She is thinking of maybe putting some pearl buttons on the lapels.

There are some one piece knitting patterns on In the Loop if you want to try something like that.

 

Show and tell

We got the new year off to a good start despite the heat in Adelaide. We’d had a good break and were full of ideas and information.

Janette: Crocheted blanket for granddaughter’s birthday in her own spun wool with fawns and rainbow colours. Cake of spun camel’s hair and silk plied with llama fleece in fawns and browns.

Hilary: Adelaide Hills  Newsletter and Murray Bridge Newsletter, red plastic storage containers to give away.

Cathy: Cake of spun cotton plied with spun acrylic fibre in red white and blue, cake of spun camel hair and silk in a latte colour, Fair Isle beanie with fleece dyed with onion skins and then merino tops and pink mohair.

Christine: Woven band from her miniature heddle loom and flyers for fibre festival and new yarn store in Pt Adelaide. She also brought along craft things to share and sell.

Margaret: miniature crocheted sheep, crochet medallion in green and red with sparkle wool, two beanies in handspun wool one in black and one in midnight blue, purple crochet slippers, lace neck scarf in maroon and inky colours.

Karin: Cake of spun wool in lovely vibrant turquoises reds and greens .

It was good to be back spinning by the sea.

Christies Beach January 14th

Wet felting tutorials

Marie Spaulding takes you very carefully through the felting process she uses so that you can see and understand completely. Jan sent these links to us because she knows we like to learn new things or improve our skills. These videos and the LivingFelt channel provide very comprehensive help with regard to felting.

The bamboo,wooden mats can be a bit hard to come by these days. In our area there is a shop called Ishka which sells them.   The plastic, non slip matting can be found in the cheap shops and you can buy it by the roll and cut it to size. One of the Instagram felters uses plastic with a wider mesh so the gaps are about 1cm. She too, makes little felted bowls and pots.

Part 1 of the video is at the top and part 2 is at the bottom of the post.

You can also find some written instructions for resist wet felting on FiberArtsy.

Handpainting fibre

A lot of people like to hand paint dyes onto fibre because you can get some interesting effects. If you use darker colours, you get some really good colours , too. You need a good work space area and a place you can keep clean easily and then plenty of plastic and protective layers and rubber gloves. It doesn’t need to be messy but better to  be prudent prepare for that eventuality . In the end it is fun and creative. WoolWench provides  clear instructions.

Painting a wool batt

Mixing colours and making wool batts is creative and can be fun. You need to master the carding skills and then you can use colours and your imagination to come up with original and interesting wool batts. painting them adds hints of colour which creates a richness and colour depth. it is also a good way to use up odd bits of carded fleece which would otherwise go to waste. Hints of colour are what make colourways interesting!

Repairing a hole in your knitting

 

It happens to everyone. That beautifully knitted scarf or jumper gets a hole. Worse…the moths get at your knitted treasures. You can deter them with bars of soap, bay leaves or eucalyptus oil. If you do have a moth eaten garment you can choose to throw it out or renovate it creatively with visible darning, buttons, bits of fabric or lace. You decide. It’s your creative renovation. Be bold !

The video shows you have to repair a hole in your knitting. There are other videos on YouTube which might help you to. Patience and perseverance help and repair the damage in a thoughtful, unhurried way. The mend often isn’t very noticeable and so you can feel confident your woollen garment is not lost forever.

There is also some good help on Treehugger to help you repair your knitted garment.

Dyeing roving

People are often very insecure about dyeing fleece and roving. It is easier than you think but all that thinking can make you fearful to the point of inaction.  Once you have the process under control, you can experiment all you like. If you don’t especially like the colour it can be heavily disguised and carded into an art batt! The video shows you how to use chemical dyes.

Make art yarn

There’s been considerable interest in the magical art yarn post we put up the other day. People are excited about colour and colour blending. Great way to start the year. We love making our own art yarn. We like sharing ideas about colourways and how to spin something which looks both original and attractive. Colour and texture are always important. Art yarns can use up your bits and pieces of dyed or leftover fibre. You just need the ideas. The UrbanGypZ video does just that for you. Shows you a way of getting an interesting yarn together.

Art felting

Jan sent through a link to Carol Jensen’s felting blog. If you are at all interested in art felting or producing wet felted things which have the look and the edge, then Carol Jensen’s blog is worth looking at for ideas and technique. She is a wonderfully creative person. The video by LivingFelt is also worth a look because it goes through the process for creating a very effective and interesting art felted scarf. This way you can learn and master some of the techniques and produce something to be proud of.

Carding and spinning magical shells

 

This is lovely … and fun. Just watching how Nicole Frost cards the fibre to get the magical effect is worth it.  She is very good at explaining the process and showing you what you need to do. Margaret had spun some wool with beads through it and it looked lovely and very special. This magical fibre is guaranteed to put a sparkle into your life .

Hemp vs Cotton

The video shows the old way of processing hemp fibres in Romania. Hemp is a good alternative to cotton in 2018 but there are all sorts of issues associated with it because it is a cannabis plant. Industrial hemp is Cannabis sativa and is grown under strict regulation in Australia.  We import tonnes of hemp fibre and yarn and we really need to grow our own and constantly work on being able to process hemp fibre efficiently so we can provide for our own market and maybe export it too. It’s a challenge. Compared with cotton it needs half the water, very little by way of pesticides and is suited well to our climate.  It can be used for textiles, paper, rope, fuel, oil and stock feed as well as building materials, cosmetics, inks and pet feed. You either gear towards fibre production or seed production. The fibre is durable and breathes well , though not as well as cotton. You can look at the comparisons here. Hemp fibre can come in several natural colours and so there is an advantage there for spinners. It can obviously be dyed too.  Hemp can produce more fibre per acre than cotton and so for textiles it is well worth considering.

 

Using double pointed needles

Some people find using double pointed needles hard. It’s a balance thing and then a series of techniques. Those first couple of rows are important and need to be set up carefully and properly and then the rest is easy. Some things you can start with round needles but you will always get to the point here you have to use double pointed needles (dpns) because there are too few stitches to use a round needle.

You need to remember using four needles and a triangle is more stable than 5 needles and a square. Some patterns will call for 5 needles. It means you have to be even more careful when you set things up. You don’t want a twisted first row. You don’t want gaps as you knit around and need to start your new row.  You also need to try different types of dpns. Some are more comfortable to work with than others. Some people prefer metal, others plastic, others bamboo. Find the needle length and material which suits you and your hands.

The video gives you some good tips and then the loveknitting blog gives you some other ideas and a link to a good sock patterns.

Swirled knitted hat

 

swirled-ski-cap-main-620x315

Image: theknittingspace

Jan brought along a hat similar to this a while back which she had made in her own spun wool . We all liked it because it was a bit different and looked good. The hat takes on a different look depending on the colours you use. Cream would make it a real classic.

The pattern was advertised on theknittingspace and you can find the pattern on the craftyarncouncilsite.

Knitted beret

 

Berets make a nice change from beanies and give a different look. They can also use up small quantities of yarn. Cabling, Fair Isle and then yarn weight will all change the look of the beret. Sheila’s beret has a little top knot and a bow to decorate it. Her midnight blue homespun wool looks really lovely and her beret can be used with jeans or with a nice navy outfit.

There are some good beret patterns on AllFreeKnitting.

Child’s cowl

You always need easy and quick projects but you want them to be useful. One good thing to make is a child’s cowl. If it has buttons, like this one, you can adjust it better to fit the child. Children need to be protected from cold , damp air so they don’t get respiratory problems and a cowl is a better option than a scarf which they might lose or take off when they are little. Teamed with a nice beanie it is a perfect winter accessory.

There is a little , crochet toddler cowl here on 5 little monsters .

30 Day Knitting Challenge

30dayphotochallenge

Broke Google again. We were actually looking for a spinning challenge! We are a spinners group. Why wouldn’t we want a spinning challenge? Google thinks it’s just to do with spin bikes. Google is not good at particular aspects of yarn and textile arts and crafts.

We found a knitting challenge which is explained on a very good blog. A number of people have picked this challenge up and have blogged about it. Sonya’s inside stories about the members of our group tell you how we got into yarn , knitting, crochet , weaving , felting, lace making , needlefelting and how we came to be spinners. For each of us it has been a unique story and interesting when you can look at how someone came to be so passionate about yarn!

One of the nicest things people did on Instagram this year was make yarn advent calendars. We might look into that and try and be ready for next year!

Enjoy your yarn challenges for the coming year!

The 30 Day Knitting Challenge

 

How to make a Hacky Sack

The yarn Christmas ornamemts reminded us of the hacky sack game children were playing here in the late 80s and 90s. All they need is a crocheted  hacky sack and it keeps them agile, amused and can be a real test of clever thinking. A way to keep them active and fit without needing to outlay a lot of money. The video shows you how to play the game.

Shiny happy world has instructions for making hacky sacks.

Christmas ornaments

Might be just a wee bit to late for this Christmas, but no reason not to make these lovely ornaments ready for next Christmas while you are in the mood! The ones in the video are knitted.

If you like crochet , you might like to make some of these lovely Christmas decorations and all of them are quick and effective…now, there’s a challenge…to get one made by this Christmas!

12 Free Christmas ornaments. 

Knitted socks

Cathy has started knitting tubular socks, inspired by the ones Christine had made a few weeks back. She has been able to use the sock wool she dyed at the dyeing workshop earlier this year. It was Cathy’s first attempt at cold dyeing so Hilary helped her with the colourway and doesn’t it look nice?

Socks are ever popular with us. Home knitted socks last, they can be made from oddments and they are easy knitting to carry around for a do anywhere project. They make nice gifts and they can be custom made to suit the person and their lifestyle.

Mary Anne on Ravelry has a good tubular socks pattern .

Arne and Carlos have a good socks pattern with helpful videos.

Interweave has some good fancy socks patterns.

Loveknitting has a whole range of socks patterns for free. Some easy and some a bit more demanding.

Get those double pointed needles out!

Amigurumi crochet clown

amigurumi clownJan’s amigurumi clown is so cute. Just perfect for a small child. It’s a Pierrot style clown rather than a circus one. The soft colours are lovely but it is the features which make this clown stand out in the crowd. It has been neatly crocheted but that face!! Those eyes! So much expression.

Grandmotherspatternbook has a lot of crocheted and knitted clowns for you to try. They can be colourful or soothing. That is all up to you and your creative mood. Clowns are great thing to make  to use up oddments in your stash .

Christmas Lunch

Christmas lunchChristmas lunchAt our last meeting we celebrated the end of our year with a lovely Christmas Lunch. Marjorie and Pam ensured everyone was properly served. John, Christine and Sonya made sure the dishes were done and then people like Wendy and Margaret made sure it was all running smoothly. Peter and Marina took photos. We all pitched in where necessary and it was a truly cheerful, Christmas event. We stopped to gather around the big table to eat lunch together and to chat. Not that we ever stop talking. One of the great things about our group is we are full of ideas and information to share and so it never stops. We were happy to get back to our wheels and creativity afterwards. Our Kris Kringle presents had had to be something we would use to do with our yarn arts and crafts and there were some lovely ideas and people brought along thoughtful presents so everyone was a winner. Nothing like something new to play with. Christine had brought her little electric Eel Wheel to spin on and we still love it. She had also brought along the most interesting folding stool which was easy to carry, easy to put up and then, as she showed us at lunch time, could double as a solid little table as well. How convenient 🙂

We have had a good year. We have run some very successful events to fund raise for charity and we have had some successes with our things going into exhibitions and shows. Our workshops have been inspiring and we have produced some really creative items this year. We had plenty to celebrate and look forward to another good year next year.

Blog Stats

posts and pages 2019. It’s been a good year an we have done well. We’ll just look at the top posts for the year today because it is an interesting mix. We have had 7559 visits to the blog page and 178 followers. Our top five countries are Australia, America, UK, Canada and Belgium but our visitors come from all over the world now.

Our top post for the year is Christine’s crescent shawl from homespun wool. We then have had a lot of interest in the spinning and knitting sites  and the site on Australian spinning wheels we recommended. Margaret’s sheep cushion from Better Homes and Gardens has been a winner because she used her own colours and homespun wool. Sonya’s report on Alan came into the top 3 from being posted late in the year. We’ll have to blame that on Clarrie! Christine’s celtic knot scarf she tried out also did exceptionally well. It’s interesting and a good knitting challenge. Visitors to our blog like a challenge knit. Then there was Wendy’s cream poncho which looks just beautiful. Such a classic and it suits her well. Like Instagram it’s mainly knitting but the sheep was crocheted. Part of our success is the fact we can spin our own wool and create something which is very original because we can customise the yarn weight and colour when we want to . Such a nice reward for all our hard work!

 

Pantone Colour of the year 2019

Take 10 minutes to feast your eyes on this beautiful coral colour. It is one which Christine has often favoured in our group and Alexis’ electronic spinner has been swathed in clouds of this beautiful coral during the year. We spin by the sea. Coral is a colour which really appeals to us. Next year we shall truly be in our element!  We are going to love Pantone Living Coral 16-1546.

Instagram best 9 for 2018

Instagram best nine 2018

Instagram obviously likes blues and greys this year and Wendy’s feather and fan scarves from her homespun wool were clearly a favourite. Then comes Margaret’s chicken for the chicken challenge. On the second row is Janette’s homespun hat with the gathered top, then Marina’s striped beanie and Maria’s socks. On the bottom row Margaret’s Aran knitting which has done well since it was a recent addition to our photos. In the middle at the bottom is Marjorie’s reversible man’s jumper which was so warm and clever. Last, but by no means least , are Christine’s knitted koala and knitted sheep . Interesting that it is all knitting this year.  All that and more this year. We have done well!!

Wonderful weaving

John is a self taught weaver. H got interested in it and then became very methodical and thorough in his learning. He says he has mainly used books and has found those the easiest to follow and learn from. There is also plenty on You Tube to help anyone who wants to learn to weave. It is something which takes time and thought. It is something you need to practice. John likes working on traditional patterns and learning how to make them.To the left is a long piece which can be cut down into woven place mats. All you have to do is hem the side edges. The other piece is a traditional eastern European pattern . John’s work is incredibly neat and weaving is something he likes to think about and improve.

Spinning cotton

spun cottonA while back , Hilary brought in a bulk purchase of cotton to spin and we could buy it a tiny prices. Marina had decided to spin hers and she found out it spins far better on a bigger, older wheel than on a small wheel. You need a strong pull on the fibre to get the cotton to spin nicely, so a wheel where you have a good chance of changing ratios and tension. The dyed cotton wasn’t actually something we thought looked particularly good but now we have seen it spun up it looks great and can be plied with itself or some silk and makes a really nice yarn. If you don’t try things, you don’t know. Looking at it tells you nothing. Cotton is good for bags, tops and wash cloths. It is totally sustainable and cotton growers are getting smarter at using less water. As a plant based fibre it is easily composted. As a lightweight, breathable fibre it is good to wear next to your skin so learning to spin cotton gives you more yarn choices for projects. Some people are allergic to wool.

Crochet blanket

Homemade blankets always seem to find an owner and a home. They are always in use. Homepsun ones are particularly warm and then are totally original. We all liked Karin’s homespun crochet blanket because of the visual effect and the colours. Homespun loves being crocheted. You can make blankets from crochet afghans but his one is a once piece blanket and it looks lovely.

There are some good, free crochet blanket patterns on Favecrafts.

Needle felted poodle

We have watched Alan needle felt this poodle picture from the first piece of fibre. It has been an interesting , creative journey. Alan  put a lot of thought into how he was going to create the poodle. He has used an unusual fibres mix for the body . He had to think about the face and features. One of the things Alan does is get our input and then feedback online. That’s something we can all do these days: put our things online and garner peer review and support. For him , it was all helpful and so he could finish this lovely picture very confidently.

Christmas crochet

Maria just knows how to create the spirit of Christmas and how to bring the cheer into any space. Last year she brought us little beautifully decorated German spice biscuits to add to our Christmas break up party. This year she has led the way with a lovely Christmas crochet collection. She was making little Father Christmas faces and had decided not to use plain white. She thought it wasn’t very Christmassy to have a plain white beard so she was using a yarn with a silver thread through it to give her Father Christmas faces a bit of cheer and sparkle. She also brought along some simple but effective crochet things to make her workspace Christmassy. The little mouse was so cute. The Christmas tree coaster was lovely and then the crochet mat to put the candle on was lovely. In a small area , Maria had created a spirit and atmosphere which added to our day. It’s what she does. She is always showing us how simple changes can make such a difference.

Here’s a Christmas  Santa Claus face for you to crochet:

All the spinning

We love spinning and it’s good to see all the colours and then yarns which are produces. It is then even better when we get to see what happens to all these lovely yarns. Marina plied some colourful tops and then she plied a blue wool batt from Alexis with some silk. Cathy had learned to use a carder better and was spinning a wool batt she had carded. Margaret was spinning one of Suzie Horn’s lovely greens. Janette had spun  camel hair and silk and plied it with llama fleece. Karin likes to use merino and alpaca to make her woven scarves. She has trimmed this one with her own spun wool. Such lovely colours and textures and all so original.

Lots of knitting

Plenty of knitting going on at the moment. Marina has finally settled on a good way of making her 10 stitch blanket . She has worked at finding the best way of doing it for her and the result now is a lovely blanket which is growing each week. Meryl’s blue best is expertly knitted and is very neat. It is soft and drapes and the back had some interesting Aran effect knitting so it’s a very stylish vest. Sonya’s slippers, based on Hilary’s pattern are coming along and are so cheerful and colourful. Jan’s cream slouch beanie looks good. We tried it with her felted purple hat and that made a visually interesting impact on the hat which really dressed it up. It’s a good hat because you can style it. Think the knitting needles are still out because our weather has been very erratic and we have hat a lot of cold , windy and wet days which stop us form easily being outside as we normally are at this time of the year.

Woven wonders

It’s been good to see the weaving resurface in Seaford Spinners and Weavers . Like felting and other things we have waves of activity which come and go with our moods and members. It’s good because it keeps us interested. We have always enjoyed it when Christine has brought in her inkle looms. Anne, Karin , John and now Peter are all competent weavers and having the big looms there each week is giving us a chance to looks at another form of textile creativity. Learning the big looms takes time, practice and dedication. We can see now , though , the sorts of things and fabrics which can be produced on a big loom. Well worth the effort of learning. Peter’s new cream scarf is a credit to him since he is new to all of this. John’s plaid, checked and then the lovely cream and red scarf are so beautifully mad and would have taken time because they are made from fine yarn. The thicker blue fabric is probably Karin’s because she likes to weave in merino and alpaca to get a real softness into her pieces. It is interesting how the different yarns produce different fabrics and how the colours can be combined.

Knitted felted bag

Wendy is new to felting and was one of the felting workshop participants. She has chosen to follow through on that and do some experimenting. You never know if you do not try. She has tried out an idea for a knitted, felted pouch. She used homespun wool, made her bag , put it in a hot washing machine for and hour and a half and here is the result. The bag has a really great texture and the knitting is invisible. The hints of pink and blue on the dove grey give it a nice artistic effect. Less is more and the simple, effective use of colour works well. She is using the pouch for her electric wheel foot peddle and cords. Karin pointed out, just to remind us, that a pouch like this would suit a tablet but you have to be careful because it might slide out too easily and it’s something you need to check. Experience is a great teacher!

Homespun shawl

homespun shawlJanette had a clever idea. She had spun wool left over from her rainbow jumper so she decided to knit a shawl. As she was trying it on she realised it would look nice , and a bit different , if it had a collar. It would also protect better against the drafts and wind around your neck. So here it is! Guaranteed to be your best friend on a cold day.

Amigurumi Bear

amigurumi bearWe loved Jan’s dark apricot bear. So cute and the features are so well done. We were talking about child safety and whether the plastic eyes were safe even though they have the lock on safety backs. Sometimes it’s even safer to go with the crocheted eyes. Jan was the one who mentioned it first and rightly so. It’s is the first thing you  think of when you are making something for a small child. Lots of toys have plastic eyes and live to tell the story of childhood. This is not a hard bear to make but has its little tricks. If you can double crochet , you can do amigurumi and it’s usually important to keep stitch markers on your work so you know where you have begun your row. Jan also mentioned not to overstuff crochet things because otherwise you get holes showing in your work. This is a nice, squishy bear.

There are some nice free crochet bear patterns for all different sized bears on  the spruce Crafts.   Great way to use up small quantities of yarn.

Show and tell

show and tell December 3rd

Show and Tell was awesome this week and our table was laden with beautifully made things. We are pretty impressive, really 🙂

Janette: Capsicum seedlings . Cloak shawl in rainbow colours from handspun wool. Spun camel hair and silk plied with llama plied llama fleece.

Cathy: Cake of dyed handspun wool in inky blue.

Jan: Two felted bead necklaces. One in blues and the other in red, black and white. A beautiful felted purple flower brooch.  A cream knitted slouch beanie in spun wool. An apricot teddy in amigurumi crochet.

Wendy: Knitted felted pouch bag in dove grey , blue and pink.

Meryl : Handknitted vest in navy blue wool . Aran design.

Marina: Two skeins of Alexis’ blue  spun wool batts plied with cotton. Two skeins of merino tops she had got from Meryl  in greens, pinks and blues.

Karin: Woven dark red scarf  in alpaca and merino yarn with blue homespun fringe.

John: Woven white scarf with attractive red inlay, some of it with glitter yarn. Impressive plaid woven scarf in red, white and black.

Christine , who was facilitating show and tell, made a point that all the woven items had perfectly straight and neat selvages.

Rose Fibre

Rose fibre is obviously celullose based. It is one of the plant fibres which is becoming increasingly popular , partly because people are experimenting with unusual fibres and partly because vegans do not want to use animal based fibres. It is completely sustainable and eco-friendly. It can be mixed in with other fibres to increase the drape of the knitted, felted or crocheted fabric. If you are going to dye it, you need to ensure you are using a dye suitable for cellulose based fibres. It’s easy to spin but if you watch the video you can see how the woman pulls the fibres apart and loosens them before she spins them. It adds sheen and shine. We are all looking forward to using our rose fibre which we have bought this year but haven’t yet worked out how we are going to use it. Are we going to spin it separately , as this woman has, or are we going to mix it in with other fibres? Rose fibre is regenerated and similar to bamboo. The plats are broken down to the cellulose and the fibre is made from that. Different from cotton which is produced directly from the plant.

Knitted blanket squares

knitted blanket squareJill came to visit us this week. She used to be a member and it was really nice to see her again because she is a warm, friendly lady. She had brought along her knitting. She is knitting blanket squares for another group she goes to. They are collecting the squares from members to make into blankets. This is a great project for anyone and any age group. You can keep it simple with just garter stitch squares for beginner knitters or those who just want to knit without any bother. You can also get people to try out new stitches , mitred squares or Aran squares so they upskill. The blankets can be gifted or raffled. They never go to waste. It’s a great way to use up oddments too .

Jill was using wool she had spun . It was dyed merino tops plied with silk and the colours were just so soft and lovely as was the wool.

There are some good patterns for blanket squares on Craftsy.

Needlefelting on polystyrene

needle felting penguin onto polystyrene

Pam had her penguin drawn on her polystyrene shape and wanted to try felting it. She is someone who likes to try new and different things so she can fully appreciate and understand the process.  She combed the wool finely. It took a lot of stabbing to get the wool to adhere to the polystyrene shape and she showed us how many holes you get. The white fleece , though, she did get onto the penguin very neatly and evenly. It’s exacting, time consuming work which requirse the sort of infinite patience Pam has. Why was she stabbing penguins? Like the rest of us, she has craft things at home and she hates seeing them go to waste or being unused so she looks for creative uses for these things.

Pam Duthie, in the video, didn’t find it to be a very rewarding activity and she shows you exactly what we saw with Pam on Monday but our Pam was quite successful in getting a respectable felted finish on her shape. It might be something you consider doing as a long term project to overcome some of the issues.

Unusual fibres

It was Christine and Margaret who got us all enthusiastic about rare breeds and unusual fibres because they had seen them at the Bendigo Wool and Sheep Show this year. Margaret has been spinning different breeds and fibres she bought. It was good , then, that we could visit the rare breeds and fibres shop at Salisbury when we were out for Equipment Day. We really enjoyed having a chance to look at and feel the fibres and fleeces advertised on their site.

Janette has been spinning the camel and silk fibre. It’s like iced coffee in colour and so soft. There’s a nice sheen to it too. There was some lovely llama fibre (right) she had purchased too which is the colour of milk chocolate and also very soft. These fibres are good to spin but also make a change because  while you are spinning you are thinking about how you will use them. They encourage your creative thinking because of the look and texture. We are all still wondering what we shall do with the rose fibre a number of us bought…it will happen!

One piece baby jacket

one piece knitted baby jacket

Maria was doing clever things on Monday. She was knitting a one piece baby jacket which was more or less a rectangle and then you folded it it cleverly and voilà – it was a stylish baby jacket! It was a lot of fun testing our brains to get it folded properly and so it ended up being a good brain training exercise. She’d used lovely caramel and white variegated acrylic yarn. Babies need easy care garments.

There are some lovely free knitting patterns for baby jackets on Craftsy.

baby jacket knitted once piece

It’s all Clarrie’s fault!

needle felted diaporamaAlan is someone who shows us how to just take life’s experiences, good or bad, and make them work for you. His flexible thinking has enabled him to take on so many creative opportunities because Alan sees everything as a challenge rather than a block. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you his story this week:

Like some of the wool we spin up, our Alan is indeed a rare breed! He is one of four precious males in our group. To be cherished and wondered at. But not merely because of his rarity but because of his  prodigious output of felted articles. When I mused that he must have made good money out of all this, Alan assured me that has not been the case. He has given away most of his creations!

In 2008 I brought my wife Andrea along to Seaford Spinners to get some advice about her craft work. (You Tube does all that nowadays) The 3rd time I brought Andrea along, Clarrie waylaid me and I just went on from there.

Prior to that I had no experience of spinning at all. I had gone to a felting workshop in Tasmania instructing us on how to felt a hat. I later learnt how to make beanies. But I used the advice given there, as what not to do when felting a hat! So I was a raw recruit when Clarrie got on to me. I used the worst wool imaginable when I started spinning. Short  dirty wool. It was like an anchor rope . I remember Clarrie saying ‘If you can spin that, you’ll be able to spin anything!’   I eventually  got enough wool spun up, to make a really good beanie. Someone else knitted it for me.

I use a circular loom now to make beanies because I’ve never really got into knitting. I leave that for Andrea who is a really good knitter.  (who does remarkably delicate gossamer work.)

As I watch Alan spinning silk looking nearly as fine as a spider web, I think he’s achieved amazing quality and output since his relatively recent debut in 2008.

In 2009 I called in on Highland Felting in Oberon NSW. I bought a book, some foam, some needles and some batts. I had a 10 minute verbal instruction on how to make a hat. Then I went back to the campground where we were staying in Canberra and made one! I’ve made a lot of hats since then. I’ve run workshops here and at Aldinga. I’ve also made some big felted bags, scarves and wraps.

One year we all had to make a doll to hang on the Christmas tree. Most people knitted theirs, but I felted mine. It was a figure that was me.

I started needle felting when doing hats and since then I’ve felted a lot of 3D miniature doggies. One year for the Royal Show I made stand up figures of me and the group of 7 dogs I was showing (See that amazing picture).I won 1st prize for that. I’ve even felted fish! I’m currently needle felting a picture of a poodle, and I’m using dog’s hair. I use a colour print on the paper, and I work on either a canvas or paper. If its paper, I just pull it away when I’ve done my felting. When using a canvas, I can print up the background and needle felt the dog straight on to that.

So here I am today busy with my felting, and thinking it all started with Clarrie, rounding me up and teaching me to spin. So you could sort of say that all this is Clarrie’s fault!   (and what a marvellous fault, dear Clarrie!)

Show and Tell

show and tell

Show and Tell was a bit light on but we felt no shame. Our table has been laden with superb hand made and handspun goodies these last few weeks and we have had an awesome year! We are also back into making the bigger projects again which require a lot of spinning and then making time.

Margaret: The graph knitting book she had got at Equipment Day .

Cathy: Cake of dyed handspun wool in oranges and fawns made from one strand of Brenda Coulter’s dyed plait and a strand of dyed polwarth fleece (pinkish and dark yellow) mixed with magenta banana fibre silk.

Janette: Bay leaves which can be used for cooking or protecting stored wool.

Marina: Flat top , knitted hat in dark grey. Fluorescent green hand knitted socks.

Woolly Wonders

We have fun. We love fleece and we love yarn and it is always good to see what people are doing. Peter tried on the woven wrap Jack had made. It has a central piece and then a scarf piece  attached in a contrasting colour and looks really good. Alexis produced some beautiful squishy wool from her own dyed colourway. The colours are lovely. Sheila decided to dye some Border Leicester with food colour and the result was eye-popping colour . What you can’t see is the sheen on the fleece. Maria is knitting another one piece baby jumper because it is a good go anywhere project and the lovely apricot would be so nice for a baby. Anne is delighted with how her rare breeds yarn is spinning up and then knitting so she has got to work on her vest. It looks great.

Electric Eel Wheel

Christine brought along her Electric Eel wheel  mini to show us on Monday. It could sit on an A5 piece of paper, that’s how compact it is. It had us all interested because it is light, tiny and could go anywhere. It spins properly and is just so cute! You could seriously use it if you have very limited space but it would also pack in a bag and go anywhere. Then there is the novelty appeal. Have one because you can. There is a strong Ravelry community for this wheel and all the people are very enthusiastic. It’s about creativity and innovation. There is a kickstarter for the second version of the mini wheel which has far exceeded expectation and so Maurice Ribble has included stretch goals now to improve on this offering. It is good to see people encouraging others to be productive and creative and all in the name of yarn!

Amigurumi Snowman

Jan’s amigurumi snowman stole our hearts.

It is his face and the bright turquoise accessories. Jan had used Pam’s pattern and like Pam she was not overly fond of crocheting with glitter yarn. It can be really tricky to work with on the small double crochet stitches. We have to say it was well worth it.

10 stitch blanket

10 stitch knitted blanket
Marina’s blanket

Karin’s 10 stitch blanket tutorial the other week has really got people going. There are several people making the 10 stitch blanket now and Alexis brought in hers so we could see what it would look like if you don’t do the wraps at the corners. There is such enthusiasm for this now and it is good to watch the blankets grow. Marina count in hers. She has worked on different techniques and tired different things and is now happy with what she is doing. That’s the thing. This is a project where you want it to look the way you want ti to look and you want to be able to knit it the way you want to be able to knit it.

Apparently , you can knit a 10 stitch blanket on a loom too. The comments underneath this video tend to suggest it may or may not work well. Certainly worth a try if you have a loom and want to try something different.

Have we got hats!

We love making hats. They can be a good way to use up oddments or smaller amounts of spun yarn. They can encourage us to think creatively and then we can always think about style and colour. This week we had some really good hats.

Alexis had some flat topped knitted hats which she had made from her own dyed and spun wool. Lovely colours and a different sort of design for a hat which was a bit more stylish than a beret or beanie. The felt trims were a nice addition but the colours! The lavender one had such a lovely mix of other colours in it which were picking up the light.

Cathy made a fluffy , puffy child’s beanie from the acrylic yarn leftovers he had. Some acrylic art yarn gives an interesting effect. She mixed them, with some fawn linen yarn . Making a pompom from acrylic , fluffy yarn wasn’t so easy.

Christine had made 3 green hats from her spun wool. It’s a lovely green and the pastel buttons just go so nicely on these hats to break the colour and then add a cheerful visual lift.