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 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.

It is a truth universally known…

That is, universally amongst knitters, that sock yarn does not count as stash.  In the case of talented dyers, I believe it doesn’t count as stash because it’s art.  This week I received four exquisite skeins of art that I’d ordered from Skein.  However, previously my attempts to photograph yarn from Skein has been “a little bit shit”.  Yesterday, in an bid to rectify my poor photography skills and do the yarn justice I asked for advice from Sonia’s lovely hubby, Damian Young.  I’ve often admired Damian’s photographs when I’ve visited their home and he very kindly gave me some hints and tips.

Here goes…

The four skeins are, from left to right, Quill, Opaque, Industrial Age and Dolce, they are all BFL sock (of course).  I like the colour saturation of this one but the shadows on the corners I’m less happy with.  Then I took some close ups of individual skeins.


So thanks Damian, I’m quite happy with these last four and hopefully I will continue to improve.

Three colours Shetland

This weekend I finished spinning and plying 3 of the 5 Shetland sample tops from Jamieson and Smith. They were utterly gorgeous to spin on my spindles and I love the finished hank.  I spun the singles simultaneously but making sure that the lengths of the different colours were unevenly matched so that I had an marl type overlap when plying as advised by Binkaboo Jen.  In hindsight I should have been a bit more precise about this and made sure that the overlapping/marl lengths and plain lengths were more or less equal but I’m chalking that up to experience, I’m sure there will be a next time.  It’s still a bit damp so I haven’t weighed it or checked wpi but I will be adding it to my Ravelry stash page tomorrow.  It is dry enough to take a photo of though and because I’m excited to share here it is…

Anyway, a little factual something about Shetland that I have learned since I began spinning with this wonderful fibre.  Shetland sheep are a primitive breed like Icelandic and Finn and Jacobs with a fine inner and longer coarser outer coat.  Traditionally it has been used to make exquisite lace shawls, Fair Isle jumpers and carpeting so clearly it’s a very versatile  fibre anything between 12-40 microns.  It is an excellent steeking wool which is handy considering that’s an integral part of Fair Isle knitting, hmm what came first?.  It also comes in many different natural colours, one day I plan to knit a Fair Isle jumper from all the natural colours, but before then I shall have to learn Fair Isle, which I plan to do this September.  I’m planning Endpaper mitts and to spin the fibre (Shetland of course) for them myself, it seems silly not to really.

According to Clara Parkes “knitters book of wool” it’s best spun “woollen” for Fair Isle purposes as the fibre then blooms and this conveniently hides the yarn that is carried behind.  As my fibre came as combed tops and I don’t have a drum carder (yet) I spun this hank semi-worsted.  Given that Shetland is a low lustre fibre though means that there are no losses in the lustre department with spinning woollen.

I’m beginning to see that spinning from combed tops has it’s restrictions when it comes to learning about different breeds and their fibre.  I realised this the other day when admiring a friends recently acquired fleece how much of the character of the fleece is lost, this is probably down to all the processing the fibre has undergone which makes for a very homogenized fibre.  Unfortunately as I live in Australia I cannot import unprocessed fibre for my spinning adventures so I guess for now I shall just have to suck it up.  I’m definitely not put off and shall continue to purchase combed tops of British breeds because it’s fun but will just have to save and plan for a spinning holiday around Britain in the meantime.  Something to look forward to don’t you agree?  Speaking of something to look forward to I have purchase a wheel now that I’m completely hooked on spinning.  It should be in my possession in 3-4 weeks because of the public holidays, I’m soooooooooo excited.

ttfn xMelanie



Two of my parcels have arrived, I’m so excited!

First up some beautiful hand-dyed merino sock yarn from Knitsch in New Zealand.

I’m planning to knit Ysolda’s Damson shawl in the 3 beautiful silver-grey skeins.  For the funky green-purple skeins which go by the name of Mystery Machine, presumably inspired by Scooby Doo I shall knit socks, either Herringbone rib or Leyburn, I haven’t completely decided.  Anyway for now they sit on my desk and make me smile, I sniff them and snuggle them frequently.

The second parcel came from Renaissance dyeing in France.  This company specialises in natural dyes and dyeing.  They first caught my eye when Ysolda published her Farinelli gloves which I absolutely love.  The colour of the original Farinelli are the most perfect cherry red colour, I’m very picky about red but this one I adore.  So obviously I bought a skein of cherry 4 ply and as it’s one of my favourite colours and a skein of Ciel 4 ply, a pretty sky blue.  I shall be copying Ysolda and knitting Farinelli in the cherry red but I’m still undecided about what to make with the blue.

As I was feeling adventurous and wanting to delve deeper into my yarn-affair I  also bought 2 dye your own sock yarn kits and some extra dye pigments.

The dye extracts are woad, madder, chlorophyll, logwood and persian berries.  The idea of dyeing yarn with these ancient dyes fascinates me, I once saw the Bayeux tapestry during a holiday to Normandy and was struck by the richness of the colours even after all this time.  Woad in particular is something that intrigues me, it seems so mystical, ancient and steeped in legend.  I am giddy with excitement but I am going to think long and hard about the effects I want to achieve and do some research first, starting with the literature Renaissance dyes have sent me.  I need to purchase more undyed yarn too as I have heaps of dye extract to play with.

I’m still awaiting 2 more parcels, come on Mr postman!

As for knitting news, I have almost finished the first of Ian’s socks.  As I’m knitting them I’m remembering how Mum would knit navy blue jumpers/cardigans for the 5 of us for our school uniform every year, I never appreciated how knitting with dark yarn can strain your eyes, I do now.

Happy knitting X

The postman takes forever…

I’ve been waiting  forever for the postman to deliver some pretties to me, as if to tease me, today he left the least exciting of my packages.

They have the potential to be very pretty though.  I fancied making some buttons and bought them from this local etsy shop.

But I still feel a bit woebegotten (love that phrase) and the yarn store near my doctors (I have been a bit poorly lately) they’re having a sale so I have treated myself to some sale yarn, 20% off at The Stitchery in Essendon for any Melbournites, woohoo!

I’m thinking the grey for Ysolda’s Urchin beret don’t know what I’m going to do with the blue but it’s pretty and on sale so there!

No postman till Monday but this weekend, we are booked in to bottle the English Bitter we brewed a couple of weeks ago although it can’t be drunk for 3 weeks.  Then, of course, there’s always knitting.

Have a great weekend everyone x

Handmade with love

Just to let you know that progress is still being made on Coraline and Manu though slowly and I have decided to make a red clapotis but haven’t bought the yarn yet, sock yarn has arrived from baaramewe for my menfolk, but I need to buy needles.  So needle and yarn buying are on the agenda for this coming week but in the meantime I have made a couple of spontaneous purchases that have made me very happy.

I don’t know about you, but being a knitter has increased my love of the handmade and the original, buying from independent craftspeople has always made me giddy with joy, partly because of owning something unique and partly because supporting cottage industries has always been important to me.

My first purchase occurred on a visit to Abbotsford Convent to buy freshly roasted and ground coffee and enjoy an indulgent Sunday morning breakfast (Mocha french toast with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, yumdiddlyscrumptious).  Happily, we just happened to be there for the skirt and shirt market, so after brekkie we wandered around the market where many beautiful handmade goodies were on display.  My eye was caught by a dress in a lovely grey and brown wool fabric with hand dyed silk ties that can be worn in many different ways.  I chatted for ages with the designer and maker, a lovely Croatian woman called Sunčana and she showed me the many ways I could wear it, my favourite are shown below.

It makes me want to learn dressmaking especially as I’m constantly disappointed by the lack of and quality of dresses and skirts in the shops.  Especially, as I have recently resolved to avoid wearing trousers and jeans as they are unflattering on me, yoga pants for the participating in yoga are allowed though for obvious reasons.  Ho hum, will just have to buy more handmade.  The skirt and shirt market is on, on the third Sunday of the month between 10am and 4pm at Abbotsford Convent, Melbourne and Sunčana also sells at the Rose Street Market at Fitzroy, Melbourne.

My second spontaneous purchase occurred as I was whiling away some time waiting for my boots to be repaired, so I wandered into The Stitchery in Essendon to check out yarn, as you do.  I was massively pleased to find that they now stock more boutique, independent yarns than previously and found myself deliberating between some Aslanyarns Merino and Alpaca or a Mohair and Jasper handspun 12ply from Peru.  The handspun won out as there was only one skein and they wouldn’t be getting any more in, here it is.

I only know that it is really soft, 250g, 12ply but, have no idea about yardage or who spun it. I want to make some kind of shrug/scarf/shawl with it, any suggestions? It should go very well with my new dress and many other garments in my wardrobe.  The button I am holding in the last dress picture was bought in The Stitchery to go with the yarn, my purchases might be spontaneous but they are co-ordinated.

Now ISO red yarn and red boots…