We love Hilary’s knitted slippers. The bag ones are great because they are so easy to store or pack. It’s a great design and then they just stretch over your feet to make dainty slippers. The other ones are slipper socks and could well be knitted bigger and then felted. There are lots of knitted slipper patterns to choose from on guidepatterns which also has a Facebook page. The thing with knitted slippers is you can use up oddments and they don’t use a lot of yarn. Hilary had knitted the smaller ones in homespun yarn and then acrylic so we could see the difference in how they look and feel.
We had a really good meeting this week. Karin mentored us in the German short rows with wraps so we could do the 10 stitch blanket corners easily. We appreciate her help.
Janette: Limes. Cake of colourful merino yarn which she had spun.
Marjorie: Newsletter from the Murray Bridge Spinners and Weavers group
Hilary: 2 pairs of footsocks. One home spun in browns and one in acrylic in yellows and blues so we could see the difference. Foot scoks in crown, fawn and red homespun wool from a different pattern. Knitting patterns to share.
Alexis: 10 stitch blanket so we could see the difference if you do not do wraps. Bright colours and then autumn colours and n merino wool. A skein of spun merino wool in pinks and blues.
Marina: Knitted wool basket in grey with red trim. Example of broomstick crochet with the gadgets she had got from a crochet magazine.
Cathy: Hobbit boots felted in yellow, red, inky blue and green – a woolbatt colourway from Alexis . A Fair Isle beanie in black, navy blue, red and grey.
Peter: Woven wool mat which was his first (impressive) attempt at weaving. Soft , natural colours and then some glitter and dark green.
Wendy: Dried avocado pips and skins for natural dyeing
We are surrounded by beautiful colours in our group. They inspire us, make us talk and then we love seeing what people do with the colours they create. Sheila’s Anzac Day quilt top had such an impact in the room because of the richness of its colours. Jan’s blue and turquoise skein cheered us all up because they are Jan’s signature colours and we know she loves them. That eye popping carded wool of Hilary’s had becomeause an equally eyepopping green skein of wool that she’d spun. Such a striking colour. Christine’s hats were perfect. It is hard to work with green. This wasn’t sage she’d spun or olive. It was a lovely soft green colour which had no overwhelming impact. It was soothing and so very suitable for garments and the little beanies looked so nice. Then Alexis often brings along amazing hand dyed wool batts and the colourways always make us enthusiastic and it is the colour of these which inspire us to do good things. Colour is everything.
Sometimes you need a small project to spur you on through the bigger ones. We love our beanies, mittens, scarves , tiny teddies and whatever else for that reason. This week was no different. Hilary had spun wool and turned it into little bags which become the cutest fitted slippers which make dainty footwarmers. Marina had finished her fingerless mittens from an idea Margaret had given us all. We like those mittens. They use up the bits and are so colourful and stylish. Then Anne has been spinning and spinning and spinning her rare breeds wool . She decided to knit up a swatch and was so delighted she had lost none of the colours in her spinning . Her swatch showed they were all there and looked lovely. You need the little things to encourage you as you plough your way through the bigger, demanding times in life and projects.
We had some lovely crochet bags for show and tell this week. Cathy had made a bag with her core spun yarn, some art yarn in coral which Christine had spun and then some plied natural fleece with alpaca fleece. It’s mainly treble crochet and then the bag is joined front and back with a crochet join. She made a tassle for it from some of the leftover yarns. The bamboo handles were repurposed from an op shop bag . The bag is lined with soft cotton fabric.
Marina’s round bag was interesting. It is a good colour for summer with the light fawns and pastels and the shape is interesting because there is a bit of a gather in it.
Marina’s star stitch pouch created some interest because it was so neat and the star stitch makes a good, solid fabric which is suitable for zipped pouch bags. You don’t have to line it because star stitch is a pattern which doesn’t create gaps and holes. The pastel colours worked well on this bag.
Star stitch isn’t hard and you can follow Delyth Angharad’s tutorial on YouTube.
Pam always gets us enthusiastic about Christmas by bringing in the ornaments she crochets. At the moment she is making a lovely little amigurumi snowman. She is making the hat from variegated yarn but said it was a bit hard to work with because there was nylon in the yarn which kept catching on her hook and making it hard to draw the yarn through. That’s the other thing about Pam. She likes to use things which are on the market and road tests them for us so we know the pitfalls! It’s a cute little snowman and she was debating about putting a pompom on its hat but had decided not to.
There’s a nice pattern for an amigurumi snowman on Amigurumi Today.
It takes a lot of time to spin the wool and then knit a big jumper. We do it because we love it. Janette’s jumper is beautifully soft. It’s a generous size because she believes in knitting for the bigger people in life. The jumper is made from boldly coloured merino tops plied with light alpaca. The resultant look it very effective because the alpaca tones down the bright colours without losing their cheerful impact. There’s just about a whole rainbow in this jumper!
Hilary’s shrug was a show stopper. Sheila modelled it for us and we could see how well it fitted and sat. It is beautifully knitted and the autumn colours were what really took our fancy. The mustard is one of Alexis’ dyed wool batts and the other colour is from Marion Ridges. Just lovely colours. Hilary said she had over 600 stitches on her needles by the end of it because it is knitted in one piece. That’s after spinning all the wool. What an achievement and what a wonderful garment to add to your wardrobe.
Our show and tell table was truly spectacular yesterday. With the mentoring going on and then the long term projects being finished we couldn’t help but have a fine array of home made items to look at and learn from.
Janette: Limes . Handknitted, handspun jumper in primary colours plied with alpaca. Generous sizing.
Anne and Bill : Grapefruit
Christine: 3 homespun beanies in a lovely green. They have buttons to go on them to finish them off.
Hilary: Spectacular shrug in mustards and maroons which ended up having over 600 stitches on the needles and it was knitted in once piece. The mustard is one of Alexis’ colours and the other strand was Marion Ridges wool. Knitted slippers in maroon and fawn homespun wool. Once skein of bright green wool and a skein of pink/orange/salmon wool spun with woolly nylon.
Jan: Skein of hand dyed yarn in purple and turquoise.
Sheila : Quilt top from an Anzac Day quilt kit which she had worked with and improved. Stunning rich colours in gold, red, black.
Alexis: felted pixie hat in purple, yellows , greens and blue. It was partly felted first and then the colours and designs were added after.
Marina: Round crochet bag in homespun fawns greens and other colours. Crocheted purse in star stitch in pastel colours . Knitted and crocheted mittens in handspun wool with purple trim and colourful centres.
Cathy: Bag with tassle in corespun wool, art yarn and alpaca plied with fawn ramswool. Wooden handles in browns ,oranges, reds and fawns. Pair of felted woodland slippers in yellow, green and pink.
Karin: Felted mat/wallhanging with depictions of nature in reds, greens, blues and off white. Made with tuition from Alexis.
Margaret: A number of pieces likes hats, gloves and scarves which she had entered into the Claire show and had had awards and acknowledgement for. We congratulate her. Finished lace pattern shrug in dove grey.
You never know what people will be spinning. Sometimes you watch them spinning for weeks and then you finally discover what the yarn is going to make. It’s always a journey of colour, contrast, ideas and project planning.
Top right is Alexis’ wool batts which are spinning up in an interesting way. Seeing the skein of yarn is going to be good. Next are Marjorie’s natural coloured wool batts made from washed and carded fleece. Then Karin is spinning Alexis’ Tasmanian Blue Gum wool batts which we all love. It’s the colour ! Marina has been spinning light blue acrylic tops and from the first lot she has made a lovely market bag. Meryl is spinning the beautiful First Editions merino and silk batt and Hilary has her interesting metallic looking yarn which is so unusual and such a beautiful colour. All those colours inspire us as we look at them and all the yarn is used. There can never be enough yarn!
Alexis brought these hand felted boots along on Monday for our felting workshop to help us see the possibilities of felting boots. We were starting with baby booties but could look at these boots Alexis had made and know we could aim for something as cosy , comfy and warm as these. Alexis was explaining, as did Jan, that the sort of wool/fibre you use will change your success rate or the feel and look of the boots. The workshop wasn’t just about teaching us how to be better at felting , it was also about helping us to envision where this might all lead. Merino wool will create softer felt than say, Border Leicester. Alexis’ boots were made with 6 layers of felting. They were sturdy and the inlay of extra colour at the top was an attractive touch to the overall look of the boots.
Sally Gulbrandsen has a number of tutorials about wet felting slippers and boots. One of her techniques is to felt over plastic shoes and use a tumble dryer to felt them. Jan had recommended her as someone worth considering when looking for ideas for felting.
Jan also sent a link to a video about wet felting slippers one at a time. The trick here is to ensure they are both the same size. The video is a very good tutorial for learning how to do slippers that way.
Christine was excited to have finished her tubular socks. While she was making them she’d used it as an opportunity to try out different round needles to see which ones would be easiest for her to use. She had also been doing art yarn workshops and other things so it was a big achievement to get these spun wool socks finished. We loved the wool because it was so soft and then we were intrigued with how they looked. They fit snugly and comfortably.The colours are really good too. Tubular socks mean you don’t have to knit a heel and the ribbed pattern allows for stretch over the heel without distorting the look of the sock.
Mary Ann on Ravelry shares an easy pattern for tubular socks.
The Miss Mary Maxim site also shares a nice free pattern for tube socks.
The felting workshop was a triumph! Why? Because by the end of it , those who participated were all energised and confident. They had the felting bug! Last year’s workshop which Sheila ran was to help Marina and Cathy understand what wet felting meant, what the processes were and how you went about wet felting. By the end of it they knew what they could and couldn’t do, they could see what the possibilities were and they could follow it up with some sense of understanding. This year’s felting workshop , run by Jan, was about improving our skills. Those who participated were making a pair of baby booties. Jan co ordinated it all, Alexis facilitated and Pam and Karin did the pop in on the participants to offer some gentle help and guidance. We were all enabled. We were pointed in the right direction and then we had to experiment and trust ourselves . We were then given ideas and techniques by Jan and Alexis so we could improve. By the end of the workshop we all had a pair of booties, we were all wildly enthusiastic and we all had a confidence in being able to felt. Sonya thought she should have a certificate for being the most improved. That’s the thing. When you do something, and at last reach that sense of achievement, it does make you feel you are finally a success! The workshop was such fun and we all loved it. Even those who didn’t participate were happy for those who succeeded in their booties. Having a cheer squad just added to the positive aspect of the day.
We thank Jan for all the time and effort she put into organising this workshop. We thank Alexis for giving up quite a bit of her day to help us do well and we thank Pam and Karin for noticing when we might need help.
We used this site by Sally Gullbrandsen- how to make wet-felted booties – to help us.
On her travels this year, Marjorie had stopped at Nimbin and bought the most eyepopping, funky woolbatt you could imagine. So Nimbin and something which would appeal to Marjorie’s creativity. Like Hilary, she can manage the most outrageous colourways. We were wondering what she would be doing with this wool batt. She spun it and made some beautiful yarn of retro psychedelic colours. She has now made this funky beret which suits the yarn perfectly but it looks really cool. We loved it . Stark colours can be a challenge and it takes a good sense of colour and a good knowledge of spinning to tame them. Consider this wool batt gentrified now.
There are some nice beret patterns on All Free Knitting. Please note the All Day Beret links don’t seem to be working.
Maria crocheted this beautiful table piece. The are two smaller pieces to go with it. She has used crochet cotton and says the design is a Lebanese pattern. The diamonds and flowers are Tunisian crochet and the rest is normal crochet. It just looks beautiful and is a tribute to Maria’s capacity to be patient an accurate. It is difficult to find Lebanese crochet patterns. They do make very fine lace and it would be good to see more of these sorts of patterns for those people who like a challenge.
We had a great time yesterday because it was our felting workshop and it all went well. Our show and tell was a bonus on top of that. We are proud of the booties we learned to felt and we loved seeing what was on show. Such a good day.
Christine: Tubular socks in greens, blues, browns and pinks. Homespun wool.
Hilary: Cake of metallic looking wool from First Editions wool batt and fine silk. Coppery colours.
Alexis: Felted grey boots with a trim in blue ,green and dark pink. Six layers of felting. Wool.
Marina: Crochet market bag in pale turquoise made from acrylic from Cheap as Chips which she had spun.
Marjorie: Bright, beautiful beret made from the wool batt she had bought in Nimbin. Psychedelic colours.
Yarn still seems to be measured in Imperial standard measurements. People want to know the yardage as well as the weight .Wraps per inch is what you need if you are trying to determine the weight of the yarn for weaving , which crochet hook to use or which size knitting needles. People who work with yarn have to keep converting needle and hook sizes and then yarn weights. Luckily wraps per inch is easy. The Craft Yarn Council gives an easy conversion chart for wraps per inch so you can identify your yarn weight. Knitting Paradise gives you a chart so you know which hook or needle size to use. You can double the yarn (fold in half) and put through a needle gauge to work out what size needle. There are gadgets you can buy or make to determine wraps per inch. Karin had brought hers along last week to show Marina.
This video gives some good explanations about determining yarn weight:
Christine brought along her shoebox sized , locally made spinning wheel this week. It is small! The man who made is doesn’t want to make any more and that’s a shame. It is beautifully and thoughtfully designed and it is very efficient. It spins well, it takes up very little space, it is easy to work on and the design is very clean. It would make a great school or men’s shed project. Would we want baby spinning wheels? Yes. The smallness of them is attractive and then functional. They could be easily packed for travelling and take up so little space so great for caravans and small holiday areas. It was great to see this wheel. It’s very quiet.
This video will show you a woman who has built her own, bigger electric spinning wheel. The world is full of creative genius.
Maria told us this was a pattern they used to share a lot in our group a long time ago. We are coming up to being 45 years old! She is using self striping yarn for the baby jumper and knitting it in two pieces. It is coming along nicely and looks really effective. The two pieces mean you can add buttons at the neckline for a wider neck opening if you need to. Some babies just hate having things pulled over their heads. Others don’t seem to mind at all. What was astounding was Maria had the pattern on a business card size piece of paper. How handy is that for a pattern? No big bits of paper or a book, or a device where you have to keep logging in and getting the screen up… Just so very convenient.
We couldn’t find a two piece pattern but here is a straightforward one piece pattern on the Lion brand site. It’s in garter stitch but there is nothing to stop you using your own stitch, adding a ribbed border and even doing fair isle if you want to. Once you have a good pattern which works, you can do as you please!! This Lion brand one or Maria’s one could have buttons down the side too to make it a tunic top.
A while back , Margaret had brought along her crochet and knitted fingerless mittens to show us. They looked great, were an interesting design and inspired some mitten making!
Cathy’s fingerless mittens (left) were made from the leftover wool from the blanket she had been making. Homespun, natural dyes and then some commercial merino for the tops, cuffs and fingers.
Marina has been spinning small slivers of merino tops and crocheting them into granny squares. She has decided to try and make a pair of these gloves too (middle) and they look really colourful.
Margaret was wondering what these gloves would look like in thinner wool and so is using some wool she got from the Bendigo Sheep and wool Show earlier this year to try it out.(right)
These gloves are easy and fit well. With double knitting wool and a size 4 hook and double pointed needles you crochet 4 rounds. You pick up 32 stitches at he top and 36 at the bottom. You leave an opening for the thumb and pick up 18 stitches. How many rounds you work on the knitting is decided by how long you want everything to be. Some people like longer cuffs. Others like longer tops.
Christine showed us this video on Monday. It’s touching and heartwarming. It is beautiful to know that yarn skills can be so invaluable and make such a real difference in difficult circumstances. Last year we blogged about the Bolivian women who were using their weaving skills in a laboratory to hand weave custom heart occluders for children with holes in their heart. Yarn skills are vital . You can find out about the Magic Yarn project on their website. You can also look at the Magic Yarn tutorial to learn how to make a wig for a child undergoing chemotherapy. It changes their life for the better.
Knitting a mitred corner is a skill you can learn. You have to be able to do it your way, though, and the way which works best for you. Karin’s 10 stitch blanket has been a real inspiration and some can follow the video we put with the original post. Others have found their own way. Marina sent a link to this video on how to make a mitred corner because she finds this easier. The success of the blanket relies on neat mitred corners. Once you find a way of doing it , it’s easy and you can just knit your blanket as big as you want to without dreading getting to the corner.
Pure Wool Hand Knits has a Facebook page and it’s someone who creates strong , fuss free designs in hand knitted wearables. Margaret’s wrap in dove grey was one of Lisa Howard’s designs. It looks effective and Margaret was making it comfortably. The colour means it will go with anything and the design of the wrap means it is easy and comfortable to wear. It is not going to be one of those garments which slides around or gets in the way.
Janette: Limes and silverbeet.
Cathy : Crochet and knitted fingerless mittens from Margaret’s idea. Pinks, tans, green and browns. Oddments from her blanket last week.
Marina: Fingerless gloes, work in progress. Pinks, purples and blues.
Hilary: 3 skeins of spun wool . One from a wool batt of Alexis’ very popular Tasmanian Blue gum colours. Two from carded wool , silk, mohair and hand dyed colours in greens, blues aqua and yellow.
Christine : Art yarn in merino wool in coral and grey; crochet mobius scarf in the softest merino wool in clues and greys.
Wendy: Cream, hand knitted Aran jumper in the O’Brien clan pattern. Probably 10 ply wool and hand knitted in Ireland. For her husband. People were guessing it would have taken a good kilo of handspun wool.
Cathy saw some little knitted beanie faces on Instagram and wanted to make them. She has forgotten whose account inspired her and we’d like to acknowledge them if you know. We have knitted little bears as comfort bears for children but we love our beanies and so Cathy though maybe Beanie Buddies might be something we’d like to try as an alternative. They take little yarn and are quick to make. She made four to try out the idea. The faces are embroidered on before the Beanie Buddies are put together.
The pale blue one is in 2 ply wool on size 13 needs . You need double pointed needles for the beanie.
Cast on 12 stitches
Knit 50 rows
Cast on 36 stitches
Double rib 20 rows
K2 tog P2 tog until end of round
K1 P1 until end of round
K2 together and thread yarn through and pull tight.
Make a fork pom pom.
Embroider the face, sew both sides of the face. Fill. Stitch bottom. Attach hat with a few stitches.
*For double ply yarn use size 11 needles and dpns .
Cast on 10 stitches for the body and knit 40 rows.
For the beanie cast on 34 stitches and knit 10-12 rows then decrease:
K2 tog P2 tog until end of round
Knit 2 together
Pull yarn through all stitches to gather top.
Hilary has travelled widely and brings that keen sense of adventure to her spinning. She comfortably works with fluorescent and ultra bright colours and can combine them very successfully. She understands the magic of yarn and can make some very whimsical items which are very appealing and then she’ll suddenly blow us away with something like her stunning full length jacket which we all loved. Sonya , our roving reporter , is bringing us her story this week:
Hilary Our hero and Historian.
We’ve lived in Seaford since 1972. (I detect some stability here!)
Mum always used to knit for me and I sewed for Mum. (And I detect some notable generosity here.) My friend introduced me to spinning. At that time Eunice was asked to start up a group for women in the area. My friend found out about Eunice who had a group meeting at her home. We went there, with Eunice insisting that as we were beginners at spinning, we should start off by using a drop spindle!! (Let me assure you dear readers that the ancient art of using a spindle is not for the faint hearted, clumsy, or like me, the slow to learn.)
Eunice was very arty and crafty. As a weaver, she used the materials around and available. E.g. for dyeing she used whatever plants or leaves she thought might be worth a try. We had all sorts of workshops- dyeing, weaving, and felting. We explored the elements of making things with all sorts of fibres, such as wool, alpaca, silk etc. All this was done at her own home but even then it was known as the Seaford Spinners. The first place the group moved into when our numbers grew, was a church hall.
I bought a wheel which was a copy of the standard Ashford and I’ve never really stopped spinning since then.
When we were in Saudi Arabia in 1983-87 I took my wheel and fleece with me. I couldn’t buy any fleece there, so I used to ask anyone coming back from being on leave to bring fleeces and wool and other bits and pieces. In those times visitors were not allowed in Saudi, but we, with our work visas were allowed to come and go. At the end of the four years I sold my wheel and some fleece to an American woman whom I taught to spin. I had a break for about 15 years while we were travelling. (Lucky things!) Then I re-joined Seaford Spinners while they were occupying the bowling club at the top of the hill leading down to the Port Noarlunga village. (With the world’s most magnificent view, I reckon). When we had to vacate from there, we moved down the hill to the sunny little CWA hall. We eventually outgrew that venue and thanks to Clarrie whose son was the Commodore of the Yacht Club, we are here to this day. (With another magnificent view of the sea, which nearly laps at our verandah!)
What Hilary hasn’t talked about are the many years she has carried a load of responsibilities in the Seaford Spinners. She has worked tirelessly and unobtrusively at organizing workshops, bus outings, opening and closing the rooms, club celebrations, Christmas festivities, writing up the minutes, running meetings, and all those things that “someone needs to do something about”. In spite of all this, Hilary is a regular contributor to our Show and Tell table, with works of wonderful colours and beautiful craftsmanship.
There is weaving and then there is weaving. There are all sorts of looms and some looms require a lot of setting up before you can actually weave. Others are quicker. Weaving is a very good way to keep your memory sharp. People don’t often think of that. With the bigger looms you have to remember processes and how to do things so the constant recall is good for developing memory skills. Christine is very skilled at weaving and loves sharing her skills. Peter and Marina have been learning how to set up and use a big loom but it is mainly so Peter to use. They have been trying different looms to see which one is better and hen they have had to put in the time to learn. They are married so Marina is learning some of it as well because when are stuck , two heads are better than one. You can see the level of concentration on their faces. Warping this kind of big loom can take about two hours . It’s something Christine enjoys more than the actual weaving . Why? It’s the challenge. It’s something which absorbs her and uses her talent. We all need different things to get the best out of ourselves which it is why it is important to share and learn new skills. You never know which ones will bring out your hidden talents.
This video series shows a much simpler version of weaving so you can set up a loom, learn some basics and then do some clever things.
We must want the spring weather. Our wool always reflects our environment. Spring has been rather dull and grey this year with a couple of beautiful days. To compensate people have been spinning beautiful spring colours in their yarn so we have some spring to look at . It is really interesting how each person has combined the greens with other colours to get a completely different look for each of the spring yarns. Janette’s cake of yarn looks like a spring forest. Alexis’ yarn top left looks like the Adelaide Hills and Margaret’s yarn at eh bottom looks like tropical green colours of our green frogs and rainforests. All beautiful yarns.
We waste nothing. Alexis had spun the wool for a jumper she knitted for herself and then didn’t like how the jumper looked. It just wasn’t for her. We have all been there. She loved the colours, though. She unpicked the jumper and then cut and handstitched the new pieces with wool and upcycled it into this beautiful bag. The bag is strong and roomy. It is well designed because it doesn’t look as big as it actually is. It does the job without taking over all the space. It’s a deep bag with a round bottom. Once she had hand sewn the pieces she felted it in her washing machine keeping a keen eye on it so that it felted to her wishes. It’s something which requires concentration and so Alexis doesn’t allow herself to be interrupted during that washing machine phase. She doesn’t leave anything to chance. Alexis takes control of the processes she uses to create something.
The colours are beautiful and we were all very enthusiastic about this bag.
The video is about 14 minutes long and worth the watch because it is a good reminder as to why you need a teacher! Learning things from the internet can work if you already have a grasp of some of the basic concepts. Without that you are like Brandon Farris. You know you are intelligent. You know you can work this out but the way it is being explained to you is making you get it all wrong! When you really don’t know – you really don’t. Even the most basic things escape you. Brandon Farris is great for putting this up on YouTube. For knitters it becomes really amusing to see how he struggles and then he is demonstrating clearly how careful we have to be if we make How To videos. It’s why our club succeeds. If you don’t know then there are people who will show you and they will keep helping you in different ways until you have mastered whatever it is you want to master. Having a real person with knitting skills alongside him would have helped Brandon master the longtail cast on without the confusion. This is funny , though, and worth a look to remind us all when you don’t know , you don’t know and to be forever patient with those who don’t.
Another two big projects were finished this week. When you work on big projects they take forever and then you feel like you are not doing anything. When you see the finished items, though, it has always been so worth it. Karin’s 10 stitch blanket has been much admired and popular. When we saw it finished we just loved it. She hadn’t chosen the colours as such. She was knitting from her yarn left over from other projects and deciding which colour to do when she got to the next bit. The blanket looks really good. It’s warm, inviting and the colours are restful.
Cathy has been spinning and dyeing wool for her crochet blanket all year. Most of it is natural colour from FinnX, alpaca and then natural dyes like avocado, onion skins, Tasmanian blue gum leaves and red cabbage. There are bits of red and green from Susie Horn’s bit and then some orange and yellow and banana fibre silk from Kathy’s Fibres. There is ramswool and BorderLeicesterX. Cathy joined the group in June last year and knew nothing so this blanket is about what she has learned from the group. The autumn colours look good.
We had a good day. Very productive and full of learning and ideas. The big projects continue to come in now.
Janette: Limes and spun wool in forest colours of greens and browns
Karin: 10 stitch blanket in muted colours to use up oddments. Pattern is here on our blog:
Cathy: Crochet blanket in spun wool mostly from naturally dyed colours ; 4 beanie buddies in assorted colours.
Marina: Ball of wool spun from oddments of wool batts; crochet squares from colourful slivers of spun wool, electric spun skein of wool from Susie Horn’s bag of bits, same colours spun on a mechanical wheel; tiny wooden spinning wheel which works; spun mohair in pink.
Marjorie: Spun wool made from a dark strand of Jenny Gunston’s fleece and a light strand from Deb Hopton’s fleece.
Alexis: Felted bag made from a repurposed jumper which she had made in her own spun wool. Purples and greys.
We love our gloves. We like knitting them for ourselves and others. We like to make gloves which look and feel good and have a bit of style. it is a good challenge and a good way to use up smaller quantities of yard. Marjorie’s homespun gloves are a lovely colour and the colour changes are what make them interesting and original. The embossed emblem on the back gives them a bit of style. To knit cloves with fingers you really need to master double pointed needles or you cannot knit the small round fingers. Once you get going it’s easy but it’s important to find the double pointed needles which suit you. Some people are better with bamboo or plastic. Others are better with steel needles and then it’s a matter of whether you are more comfortable with longer or shorter needs. The half hour video takes you through all of this so you can hopefully feel more comfortable with double pointed needs and knitting fingers on your gloves.
We’d like to congratulate Alan on this third place prize at the Royal Adelaide Show this year for his needle felted poodle. It is a replica of his own award winning standard poodle and he used the hair he had brushed from her. We watched him making this from scratch. He had brought the fibre, his needles and equipment and a photo of his beautiful dog. He was thinking it out carefully as he created this picture. The competition must have been really strong because this was a beautifully made image of his dog. He particularly thought out the eyes and nose. He thinks he maybe should not have put it behind glass because you don’t see the full effect of the fibre and expertise. We were really impressed and we are very proud of Alan. Well done!
Alan shared a post on our Facebook page from Hint Fashion Magazine. It was for crochet jumpsuits/onesies for men. Throw back to hippie days and the powder puff rock of the 70s. Some men were always wearing jumpsuits then. Would crochet ones take off these days with some men? We’ll find out. They are now cutting edge fashion. There are lots of examples of crochet for men now. Parisian dandies of the 1830s used to wear flamboyant, colourful clothes and would wear corsets to get the right silhouette so this isn’t new. Pinterest has some interesting , current crochet clothes for men.
If you prefer more subdued garments for men there are some patterns on allfreecrochet. There is also a book, Crochetterie by a Finnish professional crocheter who has taken the time to put together patterns and projects for men who like to crochet. In Finland the boys learn to crochet and make their own beanies for winter but there is a whole history of carving hooks and sourcing materials too.
It was really good to welcome Peter and Marina back from their road tripping and have a visit from Helen and Marie , two former members of the club who now live elsewhere. Christine got Marina and Peter to work straight away teaching them how to weave. No escaping yarn with us. We realised in the midst of all our activity this year we had neglected to celebrate our 45th anniversary. We might just have to do something about that.
Alan brought in his prize winning needle felted picture of one of his poodles, very realistic.
Marjorie has knitted a pair of gloves with a knitted motif on the back in alpaca/wool mix in aqua/purple.
Christine brought in one of her loom’s to show Marina & Peter how to set up the procedure from the start with a warping loom, then on to the loom for weaving.
Alexis’ red shawl stood out brightly in the room last week. The red was really catching the light. She had brought along knitting because she was running the silent auction and it was something she could pick up and put down as need be. We all need our easy knits. One of the things Alexis does as an easy knit is a shawl. Round shawl techniques need to be mastered but once done it is something you can do without too much fuss and bother and the finished project always looks impressive.
Derya Davenport has 5 easy ways of starting a shawl on Ravelry and it’s worth a look. The video steps you through making a Pi shawl.
September last year we joined WordPress and social media. We haven’t looked back. It has been a heartwarming, interesting journey where we have connected with others and they have connected with us. September this year we actually got ourselves into an online paper.li for textiles. They are like online magazines and it was nice to see us there.
We also did very well in September on the Twitter analytics with 2 700 impressions of our tweets from this blog and one of the recent successes was the textile picture by Marjorie and Christine. Twitter has also liked our blankets, gloves and gallery visits.
We have always been welcome on Instagram and get good interaction from our followers and people who find us. Instagram liked Janette’s shawl and woven scarves, Alexis blue crochet blanket, the textile picture is going extremely well , Hilary’s jacket was a big success and then spinning from Karin and Margaret. Instagram likes whatever we do and then there ware waves of enthusiasm about something we have put up or other things will become popular again because they are there and people find out account. It’s a good way to interact with others and see the value of what we do.
As for the blog itself, we currently have 166 followers and have had 5,950 visits form all over the world. We are starting to get visitors from Asia and Africa more often now.
Our links continue to be of interest to people and our posts are of value so we get good support from WordPress reader , as always, and our search engine responses have increased considerably. We then have a number of other solid ways of getting visitors to our blog and finally, finally people are coming from Twitter.
Our posts for September brought in good traffic and were popular. After a year in cyberspace we can feel pleased with ourselves. People like us because we are passionate about what we do and we like doing what we do. We share and they share back. That’s a nice way to be. The post about Anne and Bill really struck a chord because it was about overcoming adversity and then people were really happy for us because we’d been a year on our blog. That’s nice!
The last of our Odd Socks Day posts. We had such a great day. It was good for our group to meet with the Victor Harbour group because we all had such a lot in common and shared a love of fibre , fun and fundraising. Our club rooms were packed and there was a friendly, festive atmosphere which was good for all of us. That and the ocean views. It was a great day and we achieved our aims of connecting with the Victor Harbour group and raising a creditable amount of money for Odd Socks Day as well. It means our two fundraisers for the year have been very successful and that makes us feel good. It was really lovely to see the show and tell things from the Victor Harbour group. They had some beautiful felting , felted knitting and knitting. We all learned a lot from each other.
Pompom makers are one of life’s gifts. So much easier than using cardboard rounds. There are different pompom makers around and it is important to find one that you can use. It doesn’t matter if other people can use it. It is really important you can use it. Try before you buy if you can and that might be talking to people who have pompom makers or borrowing one to use from a friend. YouTube has demonstrations of different pompom makers. One really good trick for very small pompoms is to use a fork and here is a video link of how to make fork pompoms. Marjorie had brought along a Clover pompom maker for show and tell which she had seen in a group when she was away. It’s not obvious what it is if you don’t know one pompom maker from another!
Odd Socks Day is October 5th but it does run all month as is stated on their site:
“With 50% of Australians enduring a mental illness at some point in their lives, every person, family, community or organisation will be impacted. Grow has a remarkable Program for mental well being that has quietly achieved remarkable results for the last 60 years.
Our Program is unique in the mental health landscape and provides free, unlimited, anonymous and accessible support and powerful transformational tools for those struggling with their mental health. To keep offering support to Australians enduring mental illness, we need yours!
Odd Socks Day runs all month so get your colleagues together, chuck on some odd socks, fundraise for Grow and stomp out stigma! “
We had decided we wanted to help fundraise this year because we like to do that to help some community organisations. The date was a bit tricky because a number of people had other commitments at eh beginning of October, we don’t meet on a Friday which October 5th is and we had the public holiday on the 1st when we don’t meet. We decided on the day we had invited the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group and they were happy to participate in our day. It worked really well and , as Sonya said, it was a triumph. We all came out of it feeling really energised and happy. In terms of fundraising it exceeded expectation because the silent auction Alexis had suggested and then organised was well supported and became a lovely part of our day.
We had also contacted two local suppliers of wool and fleece to add to the atmosphere and enjoyment of the day. Deb , of Eagleview, is a supplier of coloured fleece and mohair. Brenda, who loves felting, of the Felting Ewe had lovely wool plaits , merino tops and colourful packages of fibres.
All in all it was a good social and fibre day for us and a successful fundraiser for Odd Socks Day.
Alexis wore her show and tell last Monday. Why not? It was eye catching and stylish. She had felted fabric and made herself a really lovely tunic which sat properly, moved properly and fitted properly. Alexis confessed she doesn’t like to sew very much. Why would she if she can make garments like this with little or no sewing? The colours are well chosen and thoughtfully understated but make a visual impact. The movement of the lighter blue colours across the black and then the white designs is well conceived. It’s a beautiful tunic and suits Alexis well. She has used fine merino wool for this so that it produces a malleable fabric which is nice to wear. It’s actually good to see artistic felting used for something truly wearable as opposed to textile art which has display value but you cannot use it. Wearable art is as much a valuable skill and challenge.
For our last meeting we had invited the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers be a part of our Odd Socks Fundraising Day (more about that in a later post). Oddly enough we didn’t go for the odd socks. As spinners and weavers we are always making socks and socks are a big part of our year but for Odd Socks Day it just didn’t happen because we were focused on the fund raising. Alexis had suggested a silent auction as a way of raising funds. She competently took charge of it in terms of explaining the principle beforehand and then the organisation of it on the day. It was such a fun, relevant way for us to raise money. We were invited to bring along something which would suit us as a group of spinners and weavers. Each item had a bidding paper and then Alexis set the tables up so we had a view of the ocean as we looked at what we could bid on. A lot of spinners and weavers like sewing too so there were some lovely sewing caddies, Japanese bags and other fabric items as well as wool, fleece, fibre and things to help with our spinning and weaving. Even plants for our gardens because we like our gardens. They produce natural dyes and we like to encourage the bees.
We had two hours for bidding. Even those who didn’t want to bid enjoyed looking at all the items which had been put into the auction. There were so many good conversations about how the things were made or what you could do with the fleece or fibre. It was feeding our thoughts as well as our coffers. You had to keep an eye on the items you were bidding for because we were adept at sneaky bidding which added to the success of it. At the end, Alexis gave us our papers if we had won the item and we got to pay our money. She really had organised this well and so the beauty of it was we had fun raising money and came home with goodies as well for our stash. It was a way of helping ourselves and as well as others so it was a huge success. We raised a lot of money but won’t reveal the amount until we have the official acknowledgement from the Odd Socks people.
Marjorie and Christine made this picture together as a creative adventure. It is good to see people combining their skills to challenge themselves and come up with something different. It is all spun wool. Until you try something new, you do not put yourself in any kind of place to learn and grow. Putting two heads together means you have the chance to discuss and develop ideas. Christine did the weaving for the background. Marjorie used her oddments to create the balls of wool, the shells (because we spin by the sea!) and the knitting. She crocheted the basket. The toothpick knitting needles with the red tops are cute. It gave both of them things to think about and then they had to work out how this was all going to go together. Project based learning works because the project forces you to use your brain to rethink in a new set of circumstances and then you have to research techniques and find resources. It’s a voyage of discovery. The picture is very soft to touch. Well done to Christine and Marjorie for creating such an original oddments project which represents us.
There can never be enough beanies. Friends and family need them, homeless people need them, you need spares and choices. Beanies are a great way to use oddments and Cathy had made her fair isle beanie from oddments of acrylic yarn she had been using for other things. It’s a simple beanie of 96 stitches with 8 ply yarn on round size 4 needles. Once you are ready to make the crown/top of the beanie then it’s the classic knit 6 stitches, knit two together – repeat – to the end of the row, knit one row. Knit 5 stitches, knit two together – repeat – until the end of the row, knit one row…4, 3, 2 , 1. Then knit two together and draw the yarn through those stitches and sew the top of the hat and put on the pom pom. It is easy to remember a pattern like that and you can do the two colour work as you choose when you are making the beanie. The video has a simple beanie pattern two for those people who like the double rib monocolour beanies.
Another big project done and dusted! Marjorie’s husband’s jumper is very impressive and well worth all the time and effort. Not everything can be accomplished quickly and long haul projects take a long time! This is made from home spun Corriedale wool so it ‘s the natural fleece colour and the spinning required to make enough wool for a jumper this size is a big job in itself. Then Marjorie knitted the jumper. It’s a clever jumper because it is reversible. If you turn it inside out you get a really nice ridge pattern. Her husband now has two jumpers for the price of one. Great effort on that one, Marjorie. We all loved it.
Maria had made this little doll for Margaret’s birthday. It’s a lovely little doll character and Maria always knows how to get the features just right. Maria was particularly taken with the doll’s ears. She thought they made the doll look really cute. She has used her sense of fun to turn the egg apron into a place to put the little sheep she made to go with the doll. Margaret is a spinner. She needs a sheep. The doll has a little handbag too.
There are some nice free doll patterns on Moogly. They are really helpful because they give you the basic doll shapes and then ideas of how to make them into your own unique persona.
Jan is bold with colour and teaches us to be brave. She is modest in what she can and has accomplished. She cares passionately about fibre arts and textile skills. Over the years she has influenced this in Adelaide by pursuing her love of style and colour. She loves felting and in our group she tries to show newcomers ways and means of being able to felt something worthwhile and interesting. She works with the Marion Cultural Centre to help develop Gallery M where she has her felted pieces in the shop and she has been part of their exhibitions. This breakthrough in elevating the importance of textile art in Adelaide is thanks to people like Jan. Her work is featured left. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story:
I have been sewing since my primary school days. Mum used to make all our clothes, as folks did in those days. In grade 7 we all made a baby’s dress with smocking, then sewing it up and crocheting around the edging.
I attended Marion High School in its 1st year of opening. From there I went to work at Toy Wholesales in their office for 7 years. Then for the next 7 years I worked at the Shell Company. That all ended after I got married and had a baby. I used to do a bit of embroidery at that time. When my son was 5 years old I went back to work in several different offices. I decided I would sooner work in a business of my own than continue working for others. So I bought a craft shop at Aldgate, called The Spindle House. It stocked spinning wheels, fleece, lazy Kates and various other things to do with spinning and craft. And that’s when I learned to spin. We also stocked leadlight supplies, so I learned to cut glass and do lead lighting.
Eventually I moved the shop to Brighton Road. I sold commercial wool there, as well. It was a big shop too. But I eventually sold that because I could see that weekend work would be coming in the future and I didn’t want to do that.
Fast forward some years.
When I retired I joined the Embroiderers’ Guild. I then started felting from the Internet but found it difficult to locate the wool I needed for that. Someone told me I could buy it at the Spinners and Weavers Guild. And that’s where I met Hilary and some of the other spinners. They asked me to come to their group and demonstrate how I made felted flowers. It was there that I discovered the Seaford Spinners, joined up and have been a member ever since.
Jan, your work is haute couture standard. Exquisitely crafted and the colours you use are always stunningly beautiful. We are indeed privileged to have you in our midst.
Today was exciting because we had visitors form the Victor Harbour Spinners and Weavers group and our Odd Socks fund raising day. We also had two people with stands selling fleece and other woolly goodness. It was such a successful day in terms of fundraising and then sharing our love of fibre and fibre techniques.
Show and Tell:
Margaret: canvas work pincushion with felted top and bottom in blue, purple and brown. Spun Finn wool from Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show with medulated fibre. About 200gms
Cathy: Fair Isle beanie with pom pom in acrylic yarn oddments in black, blue , ice blue and teal.
Marjorie: Pom pom maker. Man’s reversible jumper in hand spun corriedale wool. Brown. Spinach
Beth: Felted angel cushion with little angel in a pocket in cream, pink, blue with a soft plush back in pinks and fawns. Lace edging.
Maria: Doll with egg pocket apron with a little sheep and bag. Green, yellow and cream.
Alexis: felted tabard top/ tunic in teal, white, blue and black. Merino wool.
Janette: Grapefruit and limes
The Victor Harbour Group also did a show and tell for their group and it was great to see their beautiful things:
We can never get enough socks and mittens. We love making them and each time there is a new way of looking at them.
To the left are Maria’s self striping socks. The effect of the yarn is interesting and the colours are nice. These are medium weight socks. Maria likes knitting on double pointed needles and is very adept at using them. The socks will look very professional when they are finished.
Margaret had spun some wool and then she threaded beads onto black cotton. She plied those two strands together to make yarn for her mittens on the right. They are fingerless gloves with a lace pattern and are going to look really swish. We loved the colour of her spun wool.