Homely Habitat hat

I finished this project yesterday evening tried it on and it fits beautifully. Washed it an dried it flat, not much, ok, any blocking done really.  It didn’t shrink or grow hurrah!  Maybe my mojo has returned.

Ravelry link Sorry for the mirror shot but I had no other option, at least I took my mirror outside to get some natural light because the light inside my house is shocking today due to the lovely rain we’re having, also I did well getting 10 minutes when it wasn’t raining.

I can honestly say that there is nothing that I don’t love about this project, the yarn is just everything I love about a yarn, woolly, textured, beautiful colour.  Due to being woollen spun the stitch definition is slightly fuzzy but the cables still pop.  The pattern is intuitive and well written, the cables are just gorgeous and it fits and flatters too!  What’s not to love? It was also a speedy knit, extra bonus points!  With this in mind I will be buying more Shelter to knit up the other Jared Flood and Wool People patterns in my queue.  Talking of Wool People, I think it’s an absolutely perfect name for the look book, also there is a cabled beanie in there called St. Leger.  You may recall in my Yorkshire day post I wrote about the St. Leger races, ah ha!

Well I shall be off to start my new project.

ttfn Melanie x




I don’t think the thrill of making yarn will ever wear off.  The more I do it the better it gets.  Each new fibre is the opportunity to explore and create, the possiblities are vast.  I’ve spun half of the BFL angora silk tops that I dyed earlier in this post and Navajo plied the resulting singles because I’m still excited about Navajo plying, it means all of the singles get used so that’s good, I hate waste.

I love how the colours turned out.

On the needles is Habitat by Jared Flood.  How much am I enjoying cabling? It’s so much fun, I don’t know why I don’t do more.  The yarn is lovely to work with too, though judging by the weather I may not be wearing it until next year.

Despite this I think I may need to knit Seraphine very soon, Melbourne weather is after all notoriously fickle.

Happy Yorkshire Day

Happy Yorkshire day everyone! Today is the day that Yorkshire folk celebrate their Yorkshireness and all things Yorkshire.  I shall be wearing my White Rose of Yorkshire with pride at knit night tonight.

It came in a kit for from baa ram ewe Yorkshire’s loveliest yarn shop.  The yarn is British blue-faced Leicester produced in Halifax West Yorkshire, which kind of makes up for it not being made from a Yorkshire breed such as Wensleydale or Swaledale.

So I thought I would celebrate with posting some facts about my hometown of Doncaster in South Yorkshire as an expression of my pride.

Not a lot of people know but butterscotch, one of my favourite confections (which has no scotch in it but heaps of butter and other yumminess) originates from Doncaster.  It was made by a company called Parkinson’s and even got Royal approval after it was given to Queen Victoria when she opened the St. Leger horse race in Doncaster in 1766.  Now called The Grand St. Leger it is the oldest and longest horserace in history, not that I know a great deal about horse racing though I did once do a stint at silver service waitressing at the St. Leger.  Butterscotch is still being made by Parkinson’s in Doncaster after a recent revival, yay!

Quite aptly as today is Yorkshire day, hubby and I went to see the Grimethorpe colliery band  from South Yorkshire last night, they are touring Australia at the moment.  You may recall that Grimethorpe colliery band were made generally famous through the film Brassed Off.  Brassed off happens to be one of my all time favourite films, not only for the brilliant and emotive musical score and fantastic acting (Pete Postlethwaite, my absolute favourite actor) but because I grew up in a mining town and lived through that era so it has a particular poignancy for me. I have to say they proved themselves not only to be superlative musicians but also humorous entertainers too, we had a fantastic night.

ttfn Melanie x


I have a bit of a crush on Brooklyn Tweed.  The patterns and the yarn Shelter and now the look book Wool People is out making me fall hopelessly in lust.  So much so I briefly (half a day) considered purchasing 47 skeins of shelter to knit every Brooklyn Tweed and Wool People pattern I have queued.  I didn’t but I am still considering buying 28 skeins for the Autumn Leaves stole, Terra shawl, Guernsey wrap and Seraphine wrap (to start with anyway). Why, you ask considering that they are all shawly wrap type garments and you spin. Well…

The yarn itself is exquisite, woollen spun from Targhee breed of sheep, where am I going to purchase Targhee fibre in Australia?  Because it’s woollen spun and not overly processed it is light and squishy and will be beautifully warm and there appears to be some degree of varying thickness and twist in the ply that I personally feel, gives the yarn some interest. This is in contrast to those rather homogenised mass produced yarns that I have in my stash such as Sublime and Zarina  that I’ve lost the love for since I started spinning, they seem to vaguely resemble wool in the way that Kraft cheese slices vaguely resemble cheese (no offence and I intend to knit with these yarns still, it just won’t afford me the same delight).  Also the tweedy colours are just delicious and have such warm and inviting names like, homemade jam and button jar which are my particular favourites.  As for spinning the yarn myself, I feel my spinning and dyeing skills which, though they have improved would not be nearly good enough to produce enough yarn for all these patterns and I’m not going to never purchase yarn now that I can spin if the yarn is this beautiful. Lastly, Jared Flood is an independent designer who has put his money where his mouth is and gone out to produce yarn that he feels a passion for and I have to admire that (and feel a little bit envious).

As for the obsession with shawls and wraps, well, they are perfect for Melbourne’s varying weather and so much easier to wear than a jumper or a cardigan.  The patterns themselves appear to be both uncomplicated but interesting and well designed.  The Seraphine wrap from the Wool People look book is actually designed by Lucy Sweetland and I surprised myself by being determined to knit this despite it being knit in pieces and sewn together which is usually an immediate turn off.  I can see that this is a necessary aspect of the design so I’m willing to cast aside my usual prejudices, plus I have to have it in my wardrobe!

Because I’m not a complete idiot who goes out and purchases a vast amount of yarn before she has ever tried it, no, really, I’m not! I’m planning to cast on for the Habitat hat by Brooklyn Tweed next, out of the skein pictured above to see how it knits up.  He he, I’m knitting Habitat out of Shelter, which makes me giggle a bit, well you know even non-idiots can be a bit silly.

N is for…

…Navajo plying. Which is what I’ve been playing with recently.

It started with the two locks that I photographed for the Bendigo post.  I washed them to see how they looked clean and both of them came up beautifully.  I’m excited to have new fleecy possibilities to explore but I don’t want to rush into anything.  However, lately there has been a lot of conversation of carding amongst my friends, Sharon has just become the proud owner of a Fancy Kitty drum carder, I recently purchased a pair of Ashford hand carders from Spun Out and we met Richard Ashford at Bendigo who was utterly charming and generous and gave me a lesson on drum carding resulting in free batts for both Sonia and I.  So with all of this carding excitement going on I picked up my hand carders and began to card the two locks together.  I spun the resulting rolag with one of my Ken Ledbetter spindles and then had a go at Navajo plying the single.  Heaps of fun!  Although I can be a bit project orientated I do love to play around with fibre just for the fun of it.

I think it has a rustic charm, though I don’t think I will be blending the two fleeces when I come to spinning them proper.

Anyway, so the Navajo plying, I don’t know why but I had got it in my head that it was way more complicated than it actually is.  I do this occasionally, spend ages looking for the trick when there is none, it really is that simple, just my brain getting in the way.  I fear I am doing the same with crochet and hopefully one day soon that too will just click.  So yesterday I had another attempt using the singles left over from Julie’s birthday yarn.

I made a N just because I can!  I’m quite happy with my dabblings so far there are lengths of yarn that are beautiful though more practice is needed.  I fudged a bit when the singles broke which looks a little bit shit but hey, practicing this is fun. I’m also practicing my long-draw but I don’t have anything worth showing there. Hopefully that too will click with time but I think that’s a muscle memory/co-ordination thing rather than a silly mental block, or maybe it isn’t, time will tell.

Well, I better get back to the gift knitting and musing about fleecy possibilities.  Going back to work is going to be a real wrench that’s for sure!

ttfn Melanie x


Yesterday I went to the Bendigo wool and sheep show for the first time.  I can’t believe I haven’t been before, what on earth was I thinking, missing the highlight of the woolly year here in Victoria, how stupid of me not to have gone before now.  Anyway, that mistake has been rectified and I now intend to go every year.

For those of you who don’t know, the Bendigo show is literally a three day celebration of all that is woolly and pertaining to wool.  There are sheep dog trials, sheep shearing and sheep showing, woodturners creating spindles, distaffs, shawl pins etc and stalls and stalls of fibre, fleece and yarn and everything else a knitter/spinner/felter/weaver could need plus the two big spinning wheel companies from New Zealand, Ashford and Majacraft were here to show their wares.  It’s a bit flippin’ exciting, the sheep fumes and the buzz of retail therapy, the heady, heady thrill of it all!

We made a road trip of it, Bendigo being about 2 1/2 hours away, Julie was our designated driver and Sonia, Sharon and Ursula made up the rest of the posse.  Sonia and Sharon are Bendigo veterans and us three English expats the noobs.

The day before I was panicking a bit, it’s winter here and I needed a warm jumper to wear.  I had intended to wear Owls to Bendigo and since that wasn’t going to happen I decided that Idlewood would be second best.  However Idlewood is short sleeved and it occurred to me it might be cold so at around dinner time I decided I might attempt to make a pair of arm warmers to wear, encouraged by Sharon.  I cast on for toast just before dinner and stopped knitting for the night at midnight.  The next day I started knitting whilst I waited for the girls to arrive and managed to finish just as we pulled into the Show-ground car park, I tucked the ends in as I didn’t have time to weave them in and wore them all day.  I reckon about 8 hours knitting in total, what a knitter can achieve when she’s determined is not to be sniffed at!

As it happens, it was a beautiful day and the sun shone, all day. Before we even set off Sharon gave me a kilo of beautiful brown fleece, that is OMG gorgeous, thank you, thank you, thank you I love it.

Sonia gave me a mini skein of Wensleydale that she spun, which is just beautiful (I’m so spoilt).

So excellent start to the day already! However, here’s my haul…

A darning mushroom, because I’ve lusted after one since seeing Sonia’s.  I don’t know how to darn YET, but I WILL learn.  Purchased from a man wearing a knitted Viking costume no less.

2 skeins of Stranded in Oz sock yarn in ‘Fairies in the garden’ colourway yummy or what!

Pear Tree had a clearance sale, 1 kilo for $40 of mixed skeins, I went halves with Sharon.

700g of Polwarth roving from Dennis Polwarths, they look like different colours in the photo but they are both the same colour the one on the left being the most accurate colour.

1/2 a coated Polwarth fleece from Andyle.  I’m a bit in love with Polwarth which is a breed from Merino crossed with Lincolns, I’m also a bit in love with Andyle fleeces, they were all so gorgeous, choosing was a very difficult task.

I also bought stuff like dyes, stitch markers and wool scour, wash and rinse from Unicorn, posh scented moth repelling thingys and a spinners control card from Spun Out but I won’t bore you with a photo of them.  I made two carded batts using an Ashford drum carder with the help of Richard Ashford himself who was utterly lovely. I was allowed to keep mine (below) and Sonia was given the second.

The day couldn’t have been more perfect, we bumped into other knitting and spinning friends which was fantastic. We ate lunch whist watching the sheep dog trials with Debs, Susanne and Raoul and compared acquisitions.  I have to say that all of the stallholders were so genuinely friendly and passionate and not at all pushy or insincere which was wonderful because I’m allergic to pushy, insincere salespeople.  I am so looking forward to next year’s show.

ttfn Melanie x


Knits for the men

I’ve been busy knitting knits for my men. They all have something new and warm and woolly now.

The first beanie was too big for hubby so eldest son happily claimed it…
So the next day I set about knitting another beanie which would hopefully fit hubby.  Again another Wooly Wormhead pattern but this time in Icelandic Lopi mmmm, snuggly warm.

It fits, huzzah!

Youngest son then decided he would quite like a scarf and as it was his birthday last weekend I couldn’t refuse.  I didn’t have any black aran weight yarn in my stash so I ordered 5 balls of Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran in coal from the Woolbaa that night and sent hubby to collect it the next day as he works near there.  I decided to use Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s one-row handspun scarf pattern because it’s reversible and I really like it.

He gets the “moon tan” from me, I tried several times to take photo’s in different areas and they all had that, I’m a stranger to daylight look.  Any tips Damian?  The scarf was completed 2 days after his birthday and he’s very happy with it because it’s not itchy.  The grass looks that vivid because it’s just rained.

I’m now occupied with secret gift knitting and will be for a few weeks so there will be no sneaky peeks until they are with the recipients.  However, on Friday I’m going with some of the Richmond Knitters to Bendigo wool and sheep fayre so I hall have heaps to show and tell after that.  It will be my first time and I am giddy beyond belief.  There will be sheep and fibre and yarn and all manner of woolly stuff, I believe camelids too but… meh!  The men are a tad worried that I might come back with a sheep or three but as vivid as the grass looks after rain I think perhaps it is insufficient to sustain even one sheep.  Perhaps we could move before next year’s Bendigo though.