Tubular Top

My first tubular cast on.

Just when I think I’m getting past beginner knitter stage I learn another technique. It’s like knitting is the crafting rainbow, you think you’re getting closer to the pot of gold and it’s always just out of reach. 😁

It only took 4 goes to get it right… It probably didn’t help that the yarn is so beautifully silky and the needles are pretty big and both of those things are outside my comfort zone.

The yarn is a gorgeous 50 percent merino 50 percent silk from New Zealand indy dyer and designer Harnie Hoolie that I got at Unwind in Dunedin earlier in the year. And the cast on is the Ranunculus sweater (this link opens in Ravelry)

I’ve cast on as part of a small knit along I’ve joined. I’m unsure about the top, I have a feeling it might not suit me, but I hear its a really quick knit so I’m giving it a go.

Spin, Weave, Sew

It’s been a pretty wet long weekend. I also took a couple of days off to make it extra long. So it’s been great to have loads of crafty time, to play and to go for nice bracing walks inbetween showers.

I finished my first proper weaving project and I’m totally stoked at how it’s turned out.

The edges were way more consistent and the start and the end are even the same width! I ended up using about 20grams of the purple merino sock yarn and 2 of the batts that I’d spun from Twisted Zisters. It probably took about 16 hours of weaving time all together, not including the hour or so to thread it up.

I have no idea what I’ll do with it – for now I’m just enjoying looking at it 🙂

I also spent a day spinning some fiber that I’d got from Anna Gratton Ltd, it’s a mix of Corridale, Mohair, Silk and Nylon Glitter.

The glitter was a bit hard on my fingers which were a bit tender by the end of the day, and the mohair got up my nose just a bit, it looks really pretty though, so I’m glad I persevered. I think it’s about a sport weight, I haven’t given it it’s bath yet, so it may or may not fluff up a bit more.

Then lastly the embroidery… this was supposed to be my main project for the weekend, and I’d organised in my head that I’d go and get my supplies on Friday and then get started on Saturday. But, best laid plans and all that… Seems that 20cm embroidery hoops have been in big demand because after lots of hunting around shops I didn’t find the right sized hoop until Tuesday, and by then I’d kind of lost motivation. So I started it, but only because I felt like I had to, rather than wanted to.

The carbon paper tracing was kind of fun and I thought I’d made a pretty good start – then I went wrong and had to unpick a bit, which meant un-threading my needle – and do you think I could re-thread it? I lost patience after the 5th attempt and put the whole thing away for another day!

The Weaving Bug

Gill here again….

I decided to try and make a ‘thing’ maybe a wrap or maybe material for a bag or something, anyway I started it.

One thing I wasn’t sure of (and have no idea how to find out yet – though I’m sure there are websites) is to work out how much yarn I need to do the weaving bit (the weft) to get what I want, so it will be a bit of trial and error.

I have three of these fabulous batts from Twisted Zisters, I’d spun two of them so I spun the last one and ended up with about 550 meters of a sport/DK weight yarn with some thick and thin bits (not quite art yarn, more like some lumpy spinning) I also had some nice purply merino 4ply from one of our wonderful NZ Indy Dyers (I can’t credit the right one though since I’ve annoyingly lost the tag!)

I ordered some 50 % merino / 50% rayon from Anna Gratton Ltd to use as my warp and got started.

And here it is so far….

In hindsight I think the warp might be a little thin for my inexperience and it took a long time and heaps of patience for me to thread the loom up without having loads of twisted threads, though now it’s on it’s way I’m really loving how it’s looking and that my handspun is looking pretty good.

I think the fabric might end up being a bit gappy (I think that’s called open-weave) and I’m so excited to see how it all looks at the end that I’m powering through and making great progress.

After this project I’m going to have to invest in some online learning, or try getting up to Auckland to a Handweavers Guild class so I can make the most of my wee loom and learn how to do patterns and stuff. Exciting!!

I bought an Ashford Knitters Loom

Kia ora. A couple of weeks ago I decided to treat myself to a loom. We don’t have a heap of space, and I lost my craft room when we moved to Tauranga which meant I needed something small. I chose the Ashford Knitters Loom because I can fold it up and pop it away under the bed or in the cupboard whenever it isn’t being used.

I’m not sure why I wanted to have a go at weaving really. I’d made myself a pin loom a few years ago and played with some tapestry weaving which was fun (but fiddly!) but I didn’t have the ‘weaving bug’.

But I do now!

It took me a couple of goes to get going. I found that the yarn picked for warping is really important because it can stick together and get all tangled, or it’s not strong enough and breaks (I tried not to cry as I had to unwrap all of those 1.5 meter lengths and put them in the scraps box)

I’m a bit of a trial and error learner so just kind of made it up as I went along and went looking for help when things weren’t working as planned. (Ashford have some great video tutorials!)

This is my first go, hopefully you can see how I got a bit better as I went along – the blue bit is where I started, and my tension is all over the place. I gave myself permission just to play and have no outcome in mind, so I used scraps of yarn with lots of different colours and weights so I could get the feel for what it might turn out like. Once I got used to the beating bit, I found the edges (I think it’s called the selvage) hard to get consistent and I think that might be a work in progress….

I’m really proud of my first lump of fabric. It won’t become anything. It’s too short to be a wrap and too fat to be a scarf, and I don’t trust my weaving not to fall apart if I sew it into a bag, but it’s pretty 🙂 maybe it’ll be a table runner…

The Traffic Knitting Paradox

Often when I sit in stationary traffic I go to grab my handbag knitting or crochet project and try and do a few stitches, and unless there is a big accident or total gridlock it is inevitable that as soon as I have it ready in my lap the traffic moves.

I know as an absolute factoid (an item of unreliable information) that if I hadn’t picked up my knitting or crochet the traffic would not have moved.

This is something I have done multiple experiments over the past 2 years so there’s research to back this up.

I call it the Traffic Knitting Paradox.

Don’t believe me? The next time you’re stuck in traffic, grab your knitting or crochet * and see if the traffic starts moving for you.

*Neither Teaandayarn nor Kiwibelleknits endorse or encourage the use of needles or hooks whilst in charge of a moving vehicle and trust you will act as responsible adults.

To crop or not to crop

Late last year I knitted the Party Top and to my utter suprise it fit me well, (it can be worn out of the house and everything!). Then I knitted the Confetti Crop Top which was another roaring success. And this weekend I cast off Umberellas which also fits perfectly (I made it a lot shorter than the pattern calls for).

Confetti Crop and Part Top

I’m mainly surprised because my swatching is not good. I have read enough to know to do it, so I do. And then when it doesn’t quite match what it’s supposed to match I just wing it. But that’s another conversation..

I have on my needles at the moment the Shifty sweater (another crop) and then this weekend I cast on the Soldotna crop.

Soldotna Crop

These two I have on the needles are pretty short which means I will finish them quickly, which is a bonus and one has short sleeves, even better bonus!

I wonder if by starting my garment adventure and having such good results with these crops it’ll mean that I never do a full length top? And will it limit my knitting repertoire and keep my knitting growth as stunted as the bodies of my sweaters? And can all sweaters just be knitted shorter if you want?

I’m hoping to find out the answer to the last question in Dunedin at one of my Unwind classes 🤞 and I guess time will tell for the other answers.

Dye Day Spinning Results

I was itching to see how the dyed fiber would turn out. Since both bits had the same pink and green I thought that together they’d look pretty cool.

After spinning them the lighter one had more pink than I thought it would, the green kind of dissolved into the yarn, and the multicoloured one was a lot more brighter and stripey than I thought it was.

After I plyed them both together I ended up with 330 metres of fingering/sport weight yarn. And I love the way it’s turned out.

Next to try is the locks…. I have a lot of YouTube how to’s to watch first 😁

Dye Day!

Last weekend we went to the dye day that was held at the Auckland Creative Fibre club rooms. Our tutor was the amazing Annette Montgomery from Twisted Zisters.

We dyed 2 pieces of roving – one by adding dye to the pot and another by ‘hand painting’ the roving. I put hand painting in ” because we didn’t really paint it (you can’t really unless you want it felted).

We dyed silk, silk hankies, superwash roving, plain hanks and also played with overdying.

We used pots on the hob, slow cookers, microwaves and also talked about dyeing using the sun

It was a fantastic learning atmosphere – nothing we did was wrong, it was all part of the process of learning what we liked and what we didn’t, what worked and what didn’t. And it was great to see what colours other people put together.

I feel another new fibre hobby coming on……..

Comtemporary Korowai

I am calling this project my Contemporary Korowai.

Journey started from meeting StephenBe (Stephen Berg) at KAN Ten 2019 in Ahuriri, NZ (Knit August Nights). Unlocking Creative Potential and Embrace My Fibre Future.

 A group of us took StephenBe workshop at My Eden guildrooms. We were asked to bring 3 weights of yarn, eg lace weight, fingering and mohair. As I left the house I grabbed some old fur yarn that I have had in stash for 4 years. Stephen said “you gotta cast this on” and so I did.

Based on Silk n Scibbles by StevenBe pattern, I held together Hedgehog skinny single Jelly and Malabrigo Lace “Damask” knit 2 rows and 2 rows Plymouth Yarn Just Fur Kicks, colour Tiger .

This gave a nice korowai fabric with the hot colours popping.

A korowai is traditionally longways rectangular cloak, my design being a triangle is “different”.

The actual knitting was easy and quick on 10mm needles, the fabric grew very fast, which led me to figure out how to finish.

Ideas came very quickly. The finishing band must be firm and decorative. Dabbled with 3-5 rows of icord on top of each other. Dabbled with a possible loom purchase.

I had a hat pattern in my queue for sometime, I really liked latvian braid. Purchased Westward by Stephen West. The braid is perfect, decision made.

Next yarn decisions, what is in stash ? and what I may need to purchase.

Westward recommends Malabrigo Twist , I had previously purchased Twist from Knit n Stitch (NZ), Wool and Flax now Woolarium (AUST) AND Webs (USA) intended for Hemisphere hat. After playing with colours online and what would match Tiger (brown), Jelly (hot pink) and Damask. I have now decided on Malabrigo Twist Applewood (AU) and Damask (Ravelry Detash USA) – Main issue is yardage, will I have enough Malabrigo Twist (100g 150 yd) to knit a tight gauge braid band

As I did not have both Applewood and Damask Malabrigo Twist, decided to cast on a head band braid using NZ Outlaw Bandit DK 100% Wool Light Grey Escapade and Hot Pink Kan Ten on 4.5mm needles. This was loosey goosey, will rip back and re cast on with 4.00 mm needles.

Very happy with Braid and Arrow cables. Malabrigo Twist is the perfect yarn for korowai edging, twist is very firm, wool I can image will stretch and not hold its shape.

I managed to purchase and you shop Malabrigo Twist, 3 skeins of Damask which is the same colourway I am using between Fur rows.

I have an issue sourcing discontinued Malabrigo Twist, pleasant surprise to find a “brown” colourway called Teron, 3 skeins in an Australian Ravely Destash. Unfortunately the lady can not find my much needed skeins.

Alternative thoughts are: I have 1 skein of Applewood and 1 skein of Natural. Woolarium in Melbourne has skeins of Black, Natural, Sunset and Applewood.

Do I buy 2 skeins of Natural and coffee dye or dye a Chocolate Brown ? Or do I purchase Natural and Black, alternate skeins in the background and Damask to be a cable. Can not picture that in my mind as yet. Hmmm Chocolate Brown idea is at the forefront.

This project has also blown what I would say is my shawl or project limit of NZD $120. Not only in yarn but shipping has added up.

Maori would say Korowai is a treasure “taonga” and you cant really put a price on a treasure. Ok now that is settled, money not an option. Ka Kite for now.

26 Nov 2019, I am still waiting on 3 skeins of Natural Malabrigo Twist from Woolarium in Melbourne. I drew out my design on paper to give it a visual of end project. I wanted to added another layer without adding weight. I like the idea of light feathers in lace weight, as well as keeping the triangle shape.

Fabulous Fibre in the Mail (Gills spinning post)

Since we moved to Tauranga just over a week ago and are still unpacking I can’t really justify the 6 hour round trip this weekend to Kumeu to Fibre Fiesta to get a top up of fibre fabulousness, so I did a little bit of online shopping instead 🙂

Up until this purchase I have been pretty exclusive with my choice of New Zealand of indie dyers and fibres for spinning, so I don’t feel too guilty about buying merino from an international dyer, especially since I am supporting Cindy who is also a fab NZ indie dyer 🙂 I’m really looking forward to seeing how the Dye Candy spins (or more like – how well I can spin it!)

I also got 100 grams of different coloured Ashford corriedale from the Agridome in Rotorua a couple of weekends ago, watched some youtube videos, and on Sunday I made what might almost be artyarn.

I started with trying to wrap the fibre around a commercial yarn a technique called core spinning. I gave up pretty quickly though – it was so fiddly! I suppose my not being very practiced at drafting corriedale (I much prefer merino and alpaca) wouldn’t have helped!

I then went onto fat and thin spinning and trying to get some kind of a regular rhythm and pattern. This was a bit easier so I went with this for a while and then tried spiral plying it on to some silver glittery nylon that I got from spotlight. And the result is what you can see.

I think it’s okay for a first go, and It’s something I want to try more of, but I don’t like ‘wasting’ fibre (or yarn for that matter!) so I’m going to do it properly and I’ll be looking out for classes at the guild and at Creative Fibre so I can learn from a pro. And I really want to be able to do beehives, I spend way to long drooling over them pinterest 🙂