Wednesday, August 17, 2016


This last NEWT was a focus on Astronomy (in the HP game) with a bit of Arithmancy. For Arithmancy, I had to make at least 10 things, so I made 10 hats for the ten biggest moons. Then, for the other Astronomy part, I spun up a kilo of N4ply, most of which I'll use for a top in the next NEWT :)

All that N4ply, except for the reddish one (which I don't like much) is going towards a nice flowy Rosa for next term's NEWT. It's about DK-worsted weight, and I've already started knitting it. Loving  the colors.


Bit disappointed in Bendigo this year. It seemed to me that more and more people were selling knitted things, and there were lots of shops that were just part of the usual market, I think, nothing to do with wool crafts at all. Of the fibre, it seemed to be all merino, which is kind of dull, or alpaca. So I spent almost all my money at Moseley Park, who at least had some nice colors and interesting mixes, like Rose and Bamboo. Also got two lots of fleece (and I could hardly find any; also disappointing!)

I was so disappointed, in fact, that I don't think I'll go back next year.

Finished some socks for Zachary

And spun just under 5000m for the Tour de Fleece.

And now I'm working on NEWT 10! It's a History of Magic one, where I make things to represent people/ places/ events in the Harry Potter world. The second subject is Potions, so I can wash and card the fleece I bought (only way to get points for fleece prep). I've already done the two small projects, actually, because there was a deadline, but I'll tell you that story next time ;)


Friday, July 22, 2016

Catchup :)

It's been just about a month since I updated my knitting blog, so I've got lots of little finished things. Next 'term' of the HP game (which starts August for NEWT students) I'm going to take things a bit slower. I tend to try and make everything to get as many points as possible, but I often find that I can't "fit" the thing I wanted to make into any classes. So I'm going to make a bit less, and forget points and deadlines a bit more.

As for what I've finished in the last month:


These socks are done! First handspun, cranked socks.

Jasmine's 8th birthday socks. I think the dyeing here is a bit crazy, but she likes them.

I'm making some for Zac, now, and then Nathan wants some.

I finished a Wurm, with handspun between the purl sections. Wearing this one a lot.

This one is a fingering-weight cowl, made as a "MKAL". In a Mystery Knit A-Long, you only get part of the pattern at a time. I like it well enough, but for all that the patterns took a lot of effort, it does tend to just bunch up around my collar bone!

And then there's this :)

Hard to get a good photo of the whole thing, but this is my "HitchHiker" scarf, with 42 points. All the stripes seemed to stay the same width, as planned in the spinning stage, and I had a mere 8 yards of yarn left at the end! I don't quite know how to wrap it around, but it's garter stitch, and very warm and squishy :)


I've finished all my NEWT spinning, but I don't have a picture of it all together, yet. I'm still working on the last hat, so I'll do that next time.

As for other spinning, I've been playing Tour de Fleece again. I tried some of Kelly's banana fibre last month

and some Hemp this month

Both were kind of horrible to spin, but good to have a go of, just for something different. Both, but especially the banana, had tiny fibres flying up in the air like dust motes; felt like I was breathing them in and getting them in my mouth and nose. The banana fibre is soft and smooth when finished, like the Yak. The hemp is like spinning straw, but did soften a very little bit with a wash.

Like trying something new!

Then I went back to something old

South African Superfine in a colorway called "Elk Lake". I've also spun a coordinating color for it, which is a pale silver-grey semi-solid color, but it's still drying, so I don't have a picture.

Now I'm spinning some purple. I'm doing a 2ply mix of some purples, however much I can finish off before the TdF finishes. Luckily, I've had lots of time. I've been sick with a cold and fever, not enough to stop me spinning (most days) but enough to add a week to my week of annual leave.


I'd like to do another NEWT, but I'm struggling to decide what. I got some fleece in Bendigo, and Nathan wants some socks, and I want to make Elijah for Byron's teacher (and he wants hats for her) and am feeling the need for more Jaywalkers... Not sure if I can fit those into a NEWT subject. I'll have to think about it a bit more.

 More about the last NEWT and the trip to Bendigo next time...


Thursday, June 23, 2016

Handspun things

I think, as I normally do about two-thirds of the way through the month, that I've set myself a bit too much this month. I seem to spend a lot of time making lists and plotting how much time such-and-such will take to finish. Fortunately, it doesn't matter a whit if I do actually fail to finish a knitted thing by the end of the month; its just good to have goals and deadlines for the fun of trying to hit them.

My Hitch Hiker has stopped here, at thirty points, which is a little over half way (half-way being 28) and the stripes are looking pretty matched so far. Here's a dodgy photo of it, folded so you can see the begining (point) near the row on the needles.

I made a handspun hat for a quick class at the beginning of the month. It's a colorwork one called "Henny", and I used the "Trail Mix" spun back in Feb, the one with the purple separated out. Unfortunately I hit a dark green patch at the same time as the colorwork part, so it's not as visible as it should be, but I still like it.

I'll try it again with a better contrast, I think.

And I'm finally knitting up my "Horace the Cheese" yarn into socks. I cranked the handspun using the 54-stitch cylinder, finding it the right width, but running into a few problems. For one, the knitted fabric is a bit airy; the stitches are not tight enough, which is a problem because if you don't have dense fabric you'll wear holes in your socks in no time. But if I turned up the tightness, some of the yarn wouldn't go through, as it's a bit uneven in thickness. Problem 2: the tube ended up being 120cm long.

So I thought I'd attempt a solution to both problems by folding the end of the tube up inside. The foot, everything below the heel, is double thickness, and the toe will be added onto the fold. I've finished one sock now, knitting the live stitches to the beginning of the heel (on the bottom) and joining the live stitches to the top of the foot (on the inside). There's a bit of a bump, as I wasn't sure how to manage it while keeping the fabric stretchy, except to do my usually stretchy cast-off. But that lump will blend right in; the leg is so long that I'm going to wear it pushed down. I could pull them up near my knees, except that I failed to realize that 54 stitches, while great for my foot, was not the width of my calf.

I like the colors, though, and the way the grey (a different color of handspun Finn called Quiet Shade) matches the blue-grey parts in the tube.

I may be making socks for Jasmine, too. They're speckled with bright pink. I only have heels to go, but I'm hoping to make her a second pair for her birthday, and Byron a second pair, too. Then Zac will need a few pairs, I'm sure. He owns one sock that I made for Byron years ago, that's too small and has lost its mate, and he wears it a lot! :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016


Not sure how this one came about, except that when I was searching through the stash one day I found these two yarns, side by side, and decided they looked good together. I thought, before changing my CSM cylinders over, to make a loose-gauge 72-stitch tube with alternating stripes of each, and Kitchener the ends together into a long cowl.

On my CSM I cranked 30 rounds of each color before changing, and did 660 rounds in all. I didn’t think I’d get another repeat, so I stopped at 190g. I tried to block it a bit wider than longer, and it looks good wrapped twice around my neck, but could be wrapped 3 or 4. It’s about 200cm around.

The darker orange is Hedgehog Fibres "Sock" in Rusty Nail. I think it was a freebee (ie. one that Convent and Chapel sent me by mistake, instead of the BFL/nylon mix of "Twist" which I'd asked for, and they said I could keep the "Sock" free for my trouble). This is one of the few shades of orange I really seem to like. I have some Treppenviertel socks in the Twist they sent me. The lighter orange is Shire String in "Elinor Gardiner", one I bought just because it was dyed by a Ravelry friend, though I didn't know what to do with it.

Like this orange match up quite well. Then, I changed the CSM and made another orange thing, this one hand-dyed by me, and sent both orange things to Kelly for her birthday.

Hope it's not too orange for her :)

I haven't finished too many other things for  May. I started my Order of the Phoenix Mission, which is to make a completed 42-point HitchHiker (or as close as I can get with 600y of handspun). It's very addictive... mainly just plain knitting, but it's strangely compelling to do "just one more point". This is the yarn I spun earlier this year, dividing it up so that it will  hopefully have stripes of equal thickness, in spite of the longer and longer rows.

I also tried a new weaving technique called "Clasped weft" weaving. It's addictive, too. I used 3 colors of Hedgehog Fibres Sock for this one, too, a light purple/grey for the warp, with a purple and a pale pastels  pair for the weft. Afterwards I realized they were an alliterative trio called Ghost, Grape and Granny.

(Small things... Etc. Hehe.)

I finished off some greenish spinning, too, Polwarth and Silk, and now I'm back onto the NEWT stuff again. I've got lots of spinning to do for it this month, as I've neglected it a bit in May, but it's a reasonably easy-going sort of NEWT, as they go. :)

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Byron 9

Last year, Byron asked for a jumper that wasn't "itchy" for his birthday, so I made him one in cotton. I don't think he's worn it since! (He doesn't like giving them to his brother, and he likes getting them, but not wearing them.) This year, he asked for socks and gloves. So I dyed and knit up these

and ran out of time for gloves, so I bought him some. I made these partly on the CSM. I changed the cylinder to a 54-stitch one, and used sport weight sock yarn. It fits him (and me) really well on the foot, but he has skinny little ankles, so the only CSM part is below the ribbing, not including the toe or heel. LOL. And I underestimated the length (his feet are 22cm already) so the heel sits under his foot a bit.

Still, he wore them to basketball, to school the next day, to bed, to school again, and then I literally pulled them off his feet. He loves them.


Out with the birthday jumpers, in with socks. More to come. Jasmine and Zac have both "ordered" some, and I made myself this pair, using more hand-dyed sport-weight sock yarn (I got 10 skeins of Knitpicks Stroll Sport in "Bare" for dyeing fun).

I finished a few skeins for the NEWT. This Mars one

which I'm not too fond of. Never been a fan of red and green together, and the plying was less than careful as a result. This is one SCF I may actually overdye one day. But I have to admit that red dirt and little green men is very Mars. ;)

And these two, which are mixes of Moss (green) and Closer to Home (blue/green/brown). One is 3/4 Moss and one is 3/4 CTH, in the manner of Navajo 4ply.

Also, spun up this Yak that my sister sent me for my birthday last month. (She also sent Banana and Hemp, which I'll try soon). It was difficult to spin, because the fibres are so short. I couldn't stretch out the fibre (as you do when drafting) more than an inch, but once twist was added it behaved just like any nice wool. It's really, really soft! I left it white, but I may yet dye it. (Didn't want to felt it all up by dyeing it first).

I've done more dyeing (more of the thicker sock yarn, soon to be socks)

A cheerful blue, this time, with shots of color, as I've done a few times before.

I have a few more hats, some finished, some half-done, spinning just out of the 'bath', and a half-done Mystery Cowl, for which I'm using the "Byron" colorway I found at Bendigo last year. I'll start a handspun shawl/scarf in a few days, and might weave a "clasped weft" scarf this week. We'll see :)

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Free Soup

This is the Ballarat Soup Bus. I haven't seen it in action, but I went up to see the bus today, and the new one they're just starting to do up (which you can see there on the right)

They put a request on Facebook this week for cans and sugar and milk, etc. because they'd run right out. I think they got a good response! This is their donation morning (Saturday 9-10:30 at the corner of Eureka and Fussell Sts) and there were cars all over and their little storeroom was a chaos of new donations. I'd taken some cans and milk and sugar with me, too, but mainly I wanted to finally donate my little stash of hats.

Here are some quick shots of them all as I packed them into ziplock bags.

So! Much! Fun! I've finished another NEWT hat and I'm working on number 7 and 8. My holidays are almost up, but I've gotten a good head start. And my NY resolution of 50 hats for the Soup Bus is going well. 16 of these are from this year, so 34 to go :)

Monday, April 18, 2016


Hats. I'm a bit ahead in hats for this NEWT project, but a bit behind in spinning. Five of the six I need for "50%" are done. Still have quite a bit of spinning to do, though, and some plying.

These all look big on Jasmine. I think I like them big and slouchy. I'm packing up some hats from the hat box, now, since I told the Soup Bus people I'd have a bag of hats for them in April. Now that Jasmine has helped me get pics I can add them to the box.

I've only spun the singles of two lots of "Closer to Home" so far, and now I'm spinning the Mars one. It's not my favorite colorway, actually, so my spinning mojo is a bit low. However, in between the last two, I re-plied my BFL sock yarn from the last NEWT. I wasn't very happy with the twist, and so I took David's advice and overplied it, forgetting "balance".

When I held up the skein it twisted on itself a few times (which means it's unbalanced: ie. The twist of the singles should equal the opposite twist of the plying). But as soon as I washed it, it hung straight! So I finally have a 2ply I'm quite happy with. I still think it's a bit thin for my CSM, but I'll give it a try (next month) and see. Looks much better than the old twist, anyway.

Old twist

New twist

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