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Friday, March 30, 2007

boobrocks in the wild

boobrocks in their intended habitat can be found on Kylie's blog - she won them as a door prize for Canberra's Harlot Happening!

There are still some tan ones available at my etsy shop - and due to a request I will be doing another run of pink boobies - but that may not be until after I relocate...

It's my party and I'll brag if I want too...

I had so much fun last night at Mandy and my joint birthday party that I forgot to take pictures, but luckily, Lara had the camera out and there are some photos up on her blog..

Unexpectedly, presents were given, and I just have to show them off...

From Candy - who not only knits, but also bakes (she supplied the yummy fudgilious gluten free cupcakes last night - oh, and also the live entertainment in the form of her 6yo son!) and quilts, I got this gorgeous handmade needle roll - in my colours, and also to suit DPNs and circulars, as Candy has noticed that I don't often use straights.

This folds in half and rolls up to about the size of a paperback. I'll have to hunt through the stash and notions to find the DPNs and fill 'er up!

Lara (and, I guess, Mark as well) gifted me this gorgeous swishy yarny goodness from her recent trip from New Zealand (hence the guys with the face paint and the tongues out on the card!)

There was also a bamboo crochet hook and a "sock knitter travel bag" - both from a 100-yen shop (aka- $2shop) Lara found in kiwi-land.

The soon-to-be-joining the ranks of bloggers, Sally (who was there with hubby David) gave me a little tools and notions bag with a couple of extra goodies inside - a metal needle sizer with a gauge square, and a touch of luxury - a skein of caramelly coloured cracksilk haze. I think I can understand why this might be addictive!

Kate gave me this cute little silky bag with some rowan botany and some yummy eucalypti dyed yarns, which I think she said was done by some clever member of the Blue Mountains Knitting Guild.

The card is by one of her favourite artists, and I love the way it co-ordinates with the rest of the gift.

Mandy was so excited to have a party, she made some cute little goodie bags to take home - these were plastic noodle boxes with easter eggs, bubble blowers, balloons - and toothpaste sample :)

We all got so excited about the goodie bags that we wish we had gone with a few more good memories from kiddie parties such as preparing some ubiquitous fairy bread!

Ness was also in attendance last night - and I'll use this opportunity to show off the book I received while at dinner the evening previous.

Knowing my love of books, Ness spent quite a bit of time at Borders, and decided that it was near impossible to get me a knitting book I didn't already have and grabbed this one instead.

All is good because I fancy myself a bit of a bossy boots!

Now - I have mentioned by fancy-smance knit-picks, but not that they were also a gift (albeit one I got early!)

Originally, these were to be my gift to myself, but Tuffers needed inspiration so he ended up paying for them over the phone for me to pick up. When I got to the shop he also had organised a $50 voucher for Tapestry Craft. I have decided to spend this on extra bits and peices to expand my knit-picks set - which hopefully will come in rather soon...

I did spend a bit of time looking at the yarns at Tapestry craft and fell in love with Jo Sharps Alpaca Kid Lustre - but because there is a slightly higher mark-up due to the store location etc etc... it was rather expensive and in order to make a garment I would have to add a substantial about of my own moollah to the voucher. I did a bit of searching on the net and found out the is having a sale on all their Jo Sharp range, so bought all they had - each ball being just shy of half the price of the same yarn in Tapestry Craft. This was my present to myself and I am using the yarn to play around with colour - my holey argyle is coming along nicely, but working from nine (yes, 9) balls of yarn at once makes it a stay at home project. I have taped a whole bunch of zip-lock baggies together to try and stop some of the inevitable tangling...

all in all - not a bad haul for this chickadee!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

hippo birdbath... and some q&a

No post yesterday - I was out and about having an extremely good day due to the fact that it was my birthday! Da-dum!

Because it was a wonderfully sunny, warm day, Pierre and I walked up the road and met Mandy for lunch, who insisted on shouting because it was my day (never mind that it is her birthday today!)

We followed lunch by doing a bit op-shopping at 'Vinnie's' and 'After-a-fashion' where it obviously was my day because I found the book on the right for a whopping 2 bucks! It was a perfect find because I have wanted the Kaffe Fassett pattern library for ages but don't want to fork over $90 on it, and I just happen to be trying a little colourwork in my next planned project. Intarsia here we come! (it won't be quite as adventurous as Kaffe Fassett but we all have to start somewhere) Also in the picture are some vintage plastic (i think) patons DPNs, wrapped together with original label that I couldn't resist. I doubt I will use them - but nice to add to my collection of useless stuff.

In the evening Ness invited me over for dinner, and cooked a great roast with a Dijon, tomato and cream sauce, and some of my favourite roast veggies (sweet potato, spuds, carrot and garlic!) before completely spoiling me with caramel and baileys gelati (she didn't tell me the gelato was there, so I filled up a bit too much on the savory without leaving room for desert) We got a bit of knitting and chatting time in as well - she is well into her second sock ever, and I cast on with my latest favourite yarn, Jo Sharp Alpaca Kid Lustre. So far, loving this yarn and can't wait to wear it and feel it against my skin!

I got lots of phone calls from friends and family in Geelong (to think - I may be seeing them on a daily basis in a months time!) - and was told that my family have all pitched in to get me a fantastic kniterature collection that my sister ordered online for me. I mentioned that I wouldn't mind the Yarn harlots new book, or to increase my Elizabeth Zimmerman collection (current books - 1) and discovered that they have ordered all the other Zimmermann books, and the yarn harlot book, and another book on sweater design. I think I read on Jussi's blog that her friends pitched in to buy her amazon wishlist for her, and I now know how she feels!

Tonight is a bit of a party with the Rubi&Lana gang + partners. Mandy is having the do at her place and we are all pitching in with the catering (I'm taking over my baby espresso machine and some coffee) and I expect it will be a great evening. I will miss my knitting buddies quite a bit when I move!


I have received a few questions in my comments I feel I should address -

  • In a post where I mentioned the Rubi&Lana knitting group I got the following question -
Taueret said...
oh! you knit at the Rubi + Lana group? Is your group open to new members?

The Rubi&Lana group is always open to more members. We meet every second Saturday from 11-2 - I am not sure when the next meet-up is, because it falls on the 7th Apr - Easter Saturday and the shop may not be open. Send an email to ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com and I will pass on the details as I get them.
  • And another post where I showed off my hand-dyed yarn spawned theses Q's
abe-hap said...
have you been spinning these skeins with the merino you got a while ago? because they look great if they are.

Unfortunately, the hand-dyed yarns are not the product of my own spinning - I am not yet competent enough to spin uniform fingering weight yarn. These are undyed skeins I ordered directly from a spinning mill. If you are interested, a couple of places sell undyed yarn - Bendigo Woollen Mills, Nundle Woollen Mills and The to name a few. I would recommend buying direct from the mill, and you will avoid a higher retail markup.

Jejune said...
Love the Shadow wool - what sort of black dye do you use / spill ?

So far I have been using food-dye and kool-aid for my dying experiments - I like the idea of using non-toxic dyes as 1- I use containers also used for food preparation when I dye, and 2 - I know any extra dye that goes down the drain won't have a huge negative impact on the environment. I use Queen Bee liquid food dyes in 6 colours - pillar box red, blue, green, yellow, rose pink and black. I find you can get some fantastic blending and mixing happening with these dyes. You do have to use vinegar with your dye as a fixing agent - just like colouring Easter eggs!

  • In another post about kool-aid dying

Did you sprinkle on the koolaid or did you premix it with water? Keli

I sprinkled the kool-aid on because I was trying to get a 'semi-solid' colour with some slight variation. If you dissolve it first you get a much more uniform colour.

In future I will try and answer questions as I get them!


Who won the boobrock stitchmarkers??

Also, I'll be in town from about the 3rd to the 10th (I think, I don't have the diary in front of me) do you have any of your regular S'n'Bs during that period? I'd love to go hang at Starbucks with you :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ebay is a 4-letter word...

First and foremost - I have to say a big congrats to Lucy-lou and Hubby Lou for their new arrival yesterday. I have recieved word that Dilby now has a little brother, that, for purposes of this blog, I shall dub "Huey". Huey, welcome to the world!

And on that note, I will be venturing to Canberra for a week over Easter to meet Huey and provide some Nanny services for Dilby, and am hoping to gate-crash a Canberra s'n'b while I am there!

And now, why ebay is a 4-letter word...

A couple of mondays ago, I came home and found two boxes on my doorstep.

One was my rockin' sock club initiation parcel containing folder, sticker, badge, skein and the cutest ever mini-skein of emergency sock yarn :) (I haven't started the pattern yet - I need to get some smaller sock needles and want some knitpicks DPNs so am waiting for them to come in stock)

The other parcel, a big box which was a moment of insanity on ebay. If you ever see the words "I am reducing my stash, see my other items" DON'T click the link...

You may also end up with all of this on your living room floor....
disregarding the STR - I have there a bunch of blue Rowan cotton tape and "Rowan Cotton tape collection by Kim Hargreaves", Jo Sharp DK Heather in Viola and a copy of "Knitting Bohemia", Rowan linen drape, Debbie Bliss cashmerino super-chunky and a "The Cashmere collection" and two skeins of Lorna's Laces Shepard Sport. Oh, and Pierre with a toy, competing with the yarn for attention...

The yarn and books all came from the one ebay seller, whose stash I have now inherited.

And I don't really feel all that guilty.... I have really only seen the Cashmerino superchunky at one LYS and it retails for nearly $22 a ball - and this same place has "The Cashmere Collection" for just over $40... I got all of my goodies for less that the 10 skeins of superchunky would cost locally, and that's including shipping from the States. So really, four garments and a pair of socks - all of luxery yarns, is probably a fairly good buy.

However... I think I shall have to convince my internet security that ebay is an evail, dirty site and it should never, ever load it ever again on my computer to stop any more moments of insanity like this!

I'm off to pat my cashmerino!

Monday, March 26, 2007

finding spirit..

As much as I wish I could control every little detail affecting my life, I can't, and as I briefly touched upon yesterday, the last week or so required some very difficult decisions in response to decisions made for me by other people. In order to get through this period, I shut myself off from the world, picked up a project I could work directly from a pattern (so my mind could wander) and decided what I wanted.

And I want to go home. In a month or so, Pierre and I will be making the move interstate, back to small city Geelong, to rejoin the community I left just over two years ago for work. This decision feels right - and as such I spent the last week sorting out the details in my head (while sitting on the couch knitting).

If you listen to sticks&string, you would know that just over a week ago a few of us Rubi&Lana gals went on another road trip to catch up with the Blue Mountains faction of the NSW knitting guild. David invited us to visit his LYS in Katoomba (review coming) beforehand, and I bought this pattern:
... and 9 balls of Freedom spirit in colour #507 "essence". I cast on last Sunday, and late last night I wove in my final end to finish with this...
NAME: Spirit Bolero
PATTERN:Twilleys of Stamford, freedom Spirit leaflet#9039
YARN: Twilleys of stamford freedom spirit colour #507 'essence'
YARN SOURCE: Katoomba wool and craft store
NEEDLES: 4.5mm tulip bamboo 80cm circulars, Birch 5mm 80cm circulars and Knitpicks Options 4.5mm and 5mm (yes - knitpicks, in oz! and a needle review will be up shortly too!)
COMPLETED: 25 March 07

A quick knit in a great yarn - I had trouble with getting the required tension.I went up a needle size, and was still out, but like the feel of the fabric so I made a size larger than I required. Of course, I forgot that this also meant I was out on the row gauge, so had to recalculate the sleeve caps to fit, and pick up heaps of extra stitches for the collar.

Even with adding in extra rows for the sleeves, and extra stitches in the collar, I still have a bunch of yarn left over.

90 gms - just shy of two whole balls, but it is actually five partial balls. Due to the fact that I was getting two different effects in the yarn (even though it was all the same dye lot) I started each piece of the pattern with a new ball. You will notice that the left and right front have a different pattern on them - the right has bold stripes while the left has more subtle narrow stripes. It is not quite as obvious as in the photo, but rather than stress I decided to just follow the pattern and go with the spirit!

I just finished sewing a green button on, so the bolero is now completely done!

And just a funny picture of Pierre - just so you know that I am not neglecting him with my marathon knitting.
Oh - and apologies to all tropfest DVD winners... due to the hair-pin turn in life they haven't yet made it to the post office.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

short story - life got in the way...

Sorry for the silence of late - but life took a sharp hair-pin turn, I had to make a couple of big decisions and got a lot of knitting done (will show you the FO tomorrow!)

That's all I'm gonna tell for now - but I'm back...and kicking off with...


Title: Victorian Lace Today
Author: Jane Sowerby
ISBN-10: 1933064072
ISBN-13: 9781933064079
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 192
Publisher: XRX Books,US
Published: 2006
Book Source: The Book Depository
Price: £12.22 - approx $AUD 30, delivery free with any order at
Skill level/Audience: Beginners to Master Knitters

Sally did quite a bit of research in order to find this book for the best possible price - several possible sources including internet suppliers and bulk orders from local retailers before ordering five copies of this from the book depository. The volumes were not only available at a decent price (RRP is $US30 - A few days ago I saw it in a craft store for $AUD69.96) but with free delivery - which was very efficient (the books arrived at Sally's doorstep in less than two weeks)

Needless to say - with a good price and speedy delivery like that I was already pleased with this kniterature purchase before I'd even collected it from Sally - however, a detailed review still follows..

First impressions -

When I first opened this book, I found it impossible to flick through the pages - the photography (by Alexis Xenakis) is marvellous - it is the type of text you can pop on your coffee table and watch as your guests ignore the knitting content in order to enjoy the brilliant scenic on-location shots that jump out at you from nearly every page.

The pictures help to set the scene, put you in the right frame of mind to enjoy the period in which most of these stunning garments were originally conceived. A brief introduction about knitting and lace in Victorian England further sets the scene before Sowerby delves into the women who popularized knitted lace with printed patterns.

The chapters -

Each section shares more about these ladies, with an extract or illustration from the publication(s) Sowerby took the inspirations and patterns from to modernise for the book. These start off quite simply - with lace consisting of knit, purl and yarn overs - before becoming more complex toward the end of the book. One abstract I particularly like is an early chart - which look rather like gibberish, very involved and confusing - which is similar to the sorts of patterns the author had to sift through and translate for the book.

The PatternsEach individual pattern is beautifully photographed - usually more than once - in a way that allows you to clearly see the detail of the lace. Part of what I find so appealing about the book, is that the garments are completed in gorgeous, bright colours and the models are dressed in contemporary clothing, which makes your fingers itch to pick up the needles and get started.

And getting started is easy .Each project has

  • a clear label of beginner, intermediate or experience lace (so you know what you are getting yourself into).
  • a clear schematic diagram
  • dimensions of the finished project
  • tension required
  • yarn weight and yardage
  • needle size and length
  • crochet hook size (if required)
  • and extras, such as stitchmarkers, beads, needles and scrap yarn for provisional cast on

The charts for each project are well sized, with a clear key for each one.

Each garment also has clear diagrams of how to construct it, and in which order.The patterns include directions such as the best cast on to use, how to complete the borders and blocking instructions.In some of the patterns, a special stitch is required - and clear step-by-step instructions with pictures are included for all of these. Although it is assumed you know how to knit and purl (and not a raw-beginner) similar instructions and pictures are included at the back of the book to
cover any other technique you might encounter using these patterns. This is not a learn-to-knit quick section, but a detailed lesson for techniques used in lace construction.

Also included at the back of the book, are tips to understand lace and charts better, hints to help with knitted on borders, and blocking advice - and a fantastic section to get you started designing your own lace.

Right at the very back of the book is a lovely article that tells the story of Sowerby's journey back to the Victorian era and her obsession with lace knitting from that period. Also included is a list of the locations used for the shoot.

Overall, I think this book has absolutely everything I would wish for in a knitting text - there is historical content, technique, patterns, clear diagrams, beautiful photography and the story of how Victorian Lace Today was made. This is the type of book that would enrich any knitters library, from beginner to advance, and the technical advice for non-lace knitters to get started, and the history to please those craftster who can whip out heirloom wedding-ring shawls - and for AUD30 bucks delivered right to your door, what are you waiting for!

Of course, what I haven't shared, is the project I am keen to try. (I do have that seasilk marinating in the stash after all!)

It's the Lady's circular cape in shell pattern. Sure - it looks a tad bit virginal and girly here, but think of how amazing it would look in pumpkin orange and straw yellow!

Oh - and I almost forgot... Victorian Lace Today is my first Tome of Kniterature that is 100% Pierre Endorsed!

Monday, March 12, 2007

DVD Winners...

are listed in this post....

But first - meet 'Shadow'
Shadow was a serendipitous mistake! While playing with dye last week, I tipped over my bottle of black, and used the skein of yarn I was dying to mop it up.

I was trying to get some great forest greens and navy blues - but after cleaning up the spill, thought I was only getting black and green.

As the yarn was drying, I realised that I must have spilt some pink dye a little earlier on (I was dying on a black marble bench - so the pink spill wasn't visible!) and ended up with these fantastic maroons and mauves in the skein.

I put Shadow (and its twin) on my esty site last week, and, if you pop over there now, you will see that it has gone missing - neither for sale or sold. Because Sally wants to take it (and it's twin) off my hands. So this fantastic mistake yarn , that I probably will never be able to re-create - is my first yarn sale!

YAY ME (oh, and YAY Sally!)

...and now the winners...

Bells, Ape-Hap, ChocolateTrudi, TangelledAngel, Jejune, Taph, and Carrie...

Send you address to ginger_nut(at)bigpond(dot)com - you have Tropfest DVDs coming your way!

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Weekend Kniterature

I have a whole bunch of knitting texts I want to share my thoughts on, so I am going to be trying to do a kniterature review each weekend - and I am trying to take it to the next level and try to be a little more professional than I have been in the past.

Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment - also, today is the last day to enter into the Tropfest DVD giveway! Winners will be announced tomorrow night.

Anyhoo, without further ado...


Title: Domiknitrix
Author: Jennifer Stafford
ISBN-10: 1581808534
ISBN-13: 9781581808537
Format: Turtleback
# of Pages: 256
Publisher: North Light Books
Published: 2007
Book Source: Borders
Price: $43.95 - purchased with $20 borders voucher (therefore $23.95)
Skill level/Audience: Beginners to Master Knitters

This is a great book which is all about taking control of your knitting. It begins with the Domiknitrix philosophy of knitting and design, followed by the guiding principles, or the 8 rules to knit by. These include the basics such as getting gauge, finding flattering projects and getting it right (even if you have to do it twice or more!)

The next section contains some very useful content - going through different yarns and their properties; how to care for knitted garments; deceiphering ball band codes; and, explaining different needles, tools, toys and equipment.

A lot of this information is the stuff experienced knitters only ever figure out after years of knitting and scanning magazines, so it is useful to have it written down in one place. There is a lot of content here, but it makes for good browsing and reading in small doses - and a great reference.

The next section is the usually the one I loathe in all knitting texts - the dreaded Learn-To-Knit section - however, I find this section is more about technique than the basic LTK.

Rather than leaving knitters in the dark, it shows 4 ways to cast-on; "picking" and "throwing" techniques; working in the round; several different ways to increase and decrease; short rows; basic lace knitting; picking up stitches; colourwork; and, textures - all with full colour photographs showing all steps of the technique.

It also has some great finishing techniques included - grafting stockinette, garter and ribbing; different pocket installation; button bands; how to fix your mistakes; and...
Installing zippers!

All the other technique instructions in the book are just like this - there are clear pictures, diagrams and explanatory text.

This is immediately followed patterns, which have a skill level (although it is suggested you "bite off more than you can chew" which tells you which of the above techniques you will be utilising for each patterns -

I love the phrasing - it's not "to complete this pattern you must know how" but rather, in this pattern you will "learn". It is a fantastic way to stretch your knitting skills, because what you are not told what you need to know before you start. The lessons are in the previous pages, and you can flick back to them whenever you want a reminder.

Although some of the patterns have a 'goth' or 'dominatrix' inspiration, the feel of most of them are easily altered by something as simple as a colour change - or in some cases, just wearing different clothing with the finished item. There are a number of items that include a box of intarsia or colour-work - and the really cool thing is that all the charts are the same size, so you can pick from several different designs what you want on which sweater.

And the really fun stuff -

- turning your knitting on it's head! There are only a few patterns in this section, but they give you a great launching pad for where you can take your knitting.

In the back of the book there are the useful pages such as a glossary, reference texts, extra colourwork charts, yarn pushers, and an index (so you can easily find that technique you need).

Overall, I would suggest all knitters get a hold of this text - it is an invaluable source of knowledge and technique. You may be put off by the PVC, leather and corsets, but I really recommend to not judge the book by these images and take a closer look at the content.

This is not a flash-in-the-pan taking advantage of the "knitting is the new yoga" mentality - it is a serious text of technique, and as such, belongs on the shelf with authors such as Zimmermann and Walker!

If you want to know more about domiknitrix, check out her website.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

FO - Loopy Mohair Trim Sweater

Over a month ago I said I had nearly finished this - but I dragged it along to Rubi and Lana today to attempt finishing it.. and after several hours of playing with stray ends and a darning needles...



NAME: Loopy Mohair Trim Sweater
PATTERN:Patons Leaflet 2118 (now out of print)
YARN: Patons Totem 8-ply crepe in Old Gold colour, and matching Patons Loopy Mohair
YARN SOURCE: Hornsby Wool and Craft Nook, and Spotlight
NEEDLES: 4.5mm tulip bamboo 80cm circulars and Addi Turbo 5.5mm circulars
COMPLETED: 20 Mar 07 (knitting completed 02 Feb 07)

I got a great compliment from Kate whilst at Rubi and Lana - she said my invisible mattress stitch seams were worthy of the knitting guild :) I felt incredibly proud at that moment - I took great care to actually swatch to get the correct gauge, and then to take the time to mattress stitch the seams. Without looking too closely at my weaving in of ends (I am still uncertain how to do that neatly) I think I have completed a rather professional looking item!

Shadow Tweed..

I got a couple of comments following my yarn review yesterday, so I am briefly revisiting this topic.

Firstly - I have mentioned in a couple of previous posts, but I bought my Shadow Tweed at the Wool Inn at Penrith about 3 weeks ago. From what I understand, Patons and Australian Country Spinners launched the new seasons yarns and colours the week prior to my purchase at the Stitches and Craft Show. My guess is that they are filling stockists orders as they come in.

Also - I have wound up/knitted 4 of the 8 balls I bought, and so far have not found any knots or sticks/twigs. The colour graduations and changes seem to be fairly uniform and consistent.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shadow Tweed - yarn review!



I got around to taking some pics of my dyed yarns today, and they are all up in my Etsy shop. At the moment I have five colourways, 2 skeins of each. I am really happy with how they worked out, and if I find some free needles, may indeed take them down and start knitting with them myself!


I have seven (7) Tropfest DVDs at my disposal, and so far, I think I have had seven (7) commenters since Monday. If you want to make it at least a little bit of a competition, leave a comment. (Yes, I realise that freebies from the newspaper may not make for exciting - I know next time I want comments I should cough up some yarn...)



Here is the Shadow Tweed review I have been promising - the text in italics is straight from the Patons website and is what they are using to market the yarn. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are taken by me.

Book 1263 – Shadow Tweed (picture from

Patons Australia introduces Shadow Tweed – a beautifully soft ‘roving’ type yarn with multi-colour neps and a unique colour shading (have a look at all the shades click here), with a repeat occurring approximately every 60 grams. Patons Shadow Tweed is a blend of Wool with Acrylic and Viscose and available in a palette of 5 shades. Using 6.50mm needles with a suggested tension of 14.5 stitches and 20 rows to 10cm, Patons Shadow Tweed is quick to knit.

The specifics of the blend is 56% wool, 40% acrylic, 4% Viscose. This creates a lovely soft yarn, and when I purchase it, was told there was no risk of it felting. However, the label still says 'hand wash only' and 'dry flat in shade' - so I won't be throwing it in the washer and dryer without a second thought....

What Patons calls a 'roving' type yarn, I would describe as a loosely spun single ply. It is possible, by holding the yarn approx 20cm from the end with one hand, and using a 'pinching tug' to separate the yarn as one would when drawing fleece for spinning. This means the yarn can sometimes 'grab' onto itself causing a bit of a tangle, and also can be split if you use pointy needles - I'm using clover bamboo needles and not having any problems (bamboo needles generally being rather blunt)

The main overall effect of the yarn is very "noro-esque". It has long graduated colour repeats, with small "tweedy" flecks in contrasting colours. And as I have already said it is "Pierre Endorsed" I will add that it is soft enough for the pup to sleep on...

One fact not mentioned (that I could not find with a fairly thorough search) at Patons or its parent company, Australian Country Spinners, site was that this yarn is clearly labeled on the ball band as "Made in Italy. This doesn't worry me, but Australian Country Spinners seems to be promoting Australian fibres manufactured at locally at the Wangaratta Woollen Mill and it would be very easy to think this was a product of Australia, which may rub the wrong way with some patriotic knitters.

Book 1263 features 19 styles including Sweaters, a Vest, Jackets and Coats. Although contemporary in design, there is something for all ages and skill levels.

I didn't purchase this Book because I felt the designs were all cardigans or high-necked sweaters. I am making up a pattern as I go along, but if you aren't that confident (or crazy) you could probably use the yarn as a substitute for any worsted weight yarn pattern.

The latest hand knitting fashion trend of textured stitches, cables and lace are reflected throughout this book. Knitters looking for an unusual technique for a sweater should look at Style 19 on the back cover, which is created by knitting squares, forming a colour block effect.

Shadow Tweed seems to suit textured stitches, such as moss, seed and reverse stockinette, really well. The cables seem to "pop" off the fabric in a way I couldn't quite capture with my camera and flash photography. I have chosen to complete a basic v-neck sweater, with raglan shaping with the yarn I bought. To use this yarn to what I think is its best advantage, I am completing the majority of the sweater in reverse stockinette, with a gorgeous Celtic-like braid cable running up the front. The picture on the right is not a true representation of colour, however, as it was taken without flash, it shows off the cables well.

As mentioned above, style 19 is completed using mitred (magic) squares. It is very similar to Jane Slicer-Smith's designs - and creates a very striking effect.

Patons recommends knitting from 2 balls with most multi-coloured yarns. This helps avoid obvious patches of colour in your knitting. Patons Shadow Tweed has unique colour shading with a repeat occurring approximately each 60grams. Due to this long repeat, each ball will vary in the outside appearance.

I am not sure why Patons has suggested knitting with two balls, as this is something you would do to prevent pooling with variegated yarns, while shadow tweed is more a self-striping yarn - and you want colour pooling with the graduated colour changes and knitting with two balls would disrupt this effect.

Because the colour repeat occurs every 60g, Shadow Tweed is sold in 100g balls. I think this is a great idea - when I have been knitting with Jet and Inca (also marketed by Patons) I found it frustrating that with 50g balls, the yardage ran out quickly and I was forever weaving in ends where I had joined yarn. The yardage on Shadow Tweed is quoted as 133metres.

Each of the balls in the left picture is not only the same shade, but the same dye-lot.

Some garments in this book have been knitted beginning each new panel at a similar point of the colour repeat at the hem. Others have been knitted beginning each new panel at a different point of the colour repeat at the hem. Beginning each panel at different points of the colour repeat at the hem will result with a more individual and unique garment. Neither method is ‘correct’ – it is entirely up to your preference.

I'm going with the flow and knitting with the first ball I can grab when I run out of yarn. This is the same sort of problem you run into with Noro and any other graduated yarn with long repeats - you get to figure out what you do yourself!

Patons suggests knitting from the outside of each ball, so you can more easily determine the colour point you are using. When joining in a new ball in a panel, Patons recommends selecting the next ball beginning with the same colour as just completed from the last ball. This will result with a more even ‘flow’ of the colour shading in each panel. However, in Book 1263, Style 17 has been knitted beginning new balls with a different colour from the just completed ball. You will notice more contrasting striping occurring, which we also think looks fabulous!

Also - I would recommend knitting from the outside of the ball as you get tangles from the yarn "grabbing" when you start from the centre of the ball.

Note – When joining in a new ball, be sure to always join yarn at the side edge. Where knitters decide to begin panels with specific colours, Patons suggests purchasing an extra ball, to ensure you have enough yarn for this method.

Overall, I would recommend this yarn for anyone who wanted a quick knit. It retails for about $8 to $9 for a 100g ball - and although it doesn't quite have the luxury fibre content of Noro, you get a similar effect for approximately 25% of the price. The colour range is still fairly limited (5 shades) but I fell in love with most of them and, even though there wasn't my usual green, gladly stepped outside my usual palate to play with the fantastic autumnal red. I'd suggest looking at the pattern book to get a better idea of the shades, as the swatches on the Patons site don't go through the full colour repeat and may be a bit misleading.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Knitty + Bollards

The new spring knitty is up - and although I have only checked out four of the patterns, I had to come here and tell everyone else to go look at Ribena! (or "Beena" if you're a nearly two year old Dilby!)

The designer of this top comes from my hometown, and the pictures feature the fantastic Bollards from Geelong. I got a touch of homesickness looking at it...

And just for Lara - here are the Bollard Bunnies...

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Wool Inn - Penrith's LYS

I promised this post a couple of weeks ago, but every time I tried blogger kept eating the post and / or pictures. Even tonight, this is the third time I have uploaded these images.....

But a couple of weekends ago, after a loverly invitation from Kate, five girlies crammed into Candy's car to make a visit to the Blue Mountains knitting guild. We made a slight detour on the way in order to pilgrimage to the Wool Inn in Penrith (in the words of Candy's hubby - are you sure you want to go there - it's at least 20mins out of your way!)

We weren't disappointed when we arrived - and in fact, we behaved very much like kids in a candy stop... or to be more precise, knitters in a yarn store...
This is the magic door you are looking for - the bargain odd-balls are the bait to lure you in...
to this amazing wonderland....
... and I think those shelves and shelves of yarn go back for a good couple of metres past that wall of yarn...

I have to say that this is one of the best stocked LYS I have been into for some time. They had the full range of the Australian commercial yarns for Australian Country Spinners, including the new season colours released at the Sydney stitches and craft show the weekend before. There was also a range of Artyarns, Zara and Ashford yarns, and on display was the recent addition of Noro Yarns - amongst many others.

The tools they had on offer were also impressive. There were Lantern Moon Needles, Tulip bamboo, Brittany Birch DPNs and Rosewood circulars. Apparently they will also be stocking Knitpicks Options once the distributor finally gets them to Oz. There was an impressive range of buttons, and beads - and Lara even found a gorgeous shawl pin hidden amongst the notions.

The Wool Inn also had an impressive amount of Kniterature on offer - in fact, I think they had a library on offer to rival the knitting section of Borders. On top of this there were many pattern books using the yarns they stock, supplied by the manufacturers.

Us five girls - of various knitting preferences - all found something to our satisfaction. Mandy bought some gorgeous bright rainbow mohair to make a scarf, Candy - some undyed lace-weight she plans to colour herself, and a couple of books, Sally bought some Ashford yarn and one of the new red Jet colourways to make a sweater, Lara indulged in some Zara and a ball of Wendy DK Cotton from the bargain bin...

And me? After getting permission from Tuffers to indulge in a little yarn love, I walked away with this beautiful Shadow Tweed - new from Patons. (Some of us - who bought enough yarn for a sweater - got given these eco-bags with our purchases - Lara even bought a bright purple/blue/green eco-bag that suits her personality fine!)

There is a Shadow Tweed booklet with many patterns, but they were mainly turtle-necks and cardigans and they didn't quite appeal to me. If your interested, Patons has pictures of the patterns with this yarn on their site.

I have been playing with this yarn, and am planning a review. For now, I am happy to share that it is 100% Pierre Endorsed!

Today I received my first edition of my Vogue subscription in the mail, and after waiting 3 months for this to start, was disappointed to receive the Holiday 06 Issue, which is the magazine I bought just before I subscribed. However, no need to worry - I sent an email off to Vogue and got a reply less than 2 hours later (how's that for customer service!) They are sending me the Winter 06/07 edition (where the subscription should have started) as well as adding an extra issue to my subscription to make up for the mistake.

Once again I am impressed with Vogue's ability to respond to customer's problems timely and professionally!


A bit more info for any overseas readers - the DVD has the 16 short-listed/finalist films from the festival on it. The Sydney Morning Herald did a quick video news item with the finalists you can watch here.

If you have been lurking for a while, leave a comment and let me know what you think - I know from my stats that I have many lurkers!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

"Summers - you drive like a spaaaaz!"

After I get home from work I like to spend time in front of the telly, watching DVDs, completing mindless tasks. (Yes, I am weak and need to develop a bit of endurance, stamina, whatever to have enough energy to get through a whole day!)

Such as sock knitting. Or skeining yarn I have dyed....

Like this:-
Inspired by last nights viewing whilst skeining this purdy self-striping yarn I present PTYS colourway...

Band candy and its buddies (pictured below)will be appearing in my etsy shop over the next couple of days - as soon as I get some decent light for pictures. These are machine washable fingering / sock weight Australian merino wool in 100g skeins.
REAL YARN CANDY - minus the fibre ;)

I also was sent this cute picture from "Shoobie" - my bestest friend from high school. She made this confection for her daughter's 3rd birthday - and I think it is such a masterpiece that I have to share it with the knitblogging world. Kitten-purr-purr! (in the words of Little Miss Shoobie)

Of course, Pierre, not wanting to be outdone curled up in the yarn valley on the couch last night. He was actually sleeping with his head on the yarn, but as soon as I turned the camera on he wanted to know what was going on!

Giveaway update...

Any comment made on any post this week will count as an entry (so comment on every post and get more than one entry) - but only one entry per person per day.

Yes - I will be happy to pay the postage to send the DVDs overseas! Foreigners comment now!

Tropfest is a short-film festival held in Sydney each year. Each film has to contain a central theme - this year it was a SNEEZE. More info on Tropfest is here!

Monday, March 05, 2007

bad knittiquette (and a give-away)

How rude is a knit-blogger who visits another city, has a special s'n'b organised for her, and then fails to blog about it (or anything at all) for at least a week after??

Well, that would be me.

Sunday last weekend, I finally met lots of Canberra knit-bloggers... including Bells, Monsqueek, Taph, the Shopping Sherpa, Jejune (and Lulu the naughty sheep), happy spider - and their fellow s'n'b-ers.

Lucy-lou (LL) and I spent a couple of loverly hours at the Lighthouse in Belconnen, being accosted by the peanut gallery (some random drunk was requesting casssshmeeeeeeere jumpers) and enjoying the free wine given by the establishment to make up for a bit of problem with the service....

This was LL's first s'n'b experience - and I think she found it rather enjoyable... once she got over the initial shock of a fibre discussion less than 10 minutes into the event :) LL even left the event with a finished object - the first of a pair of booties for the bub due in April.

I forgot to take photos until after people started leaving, but we did fill up both tables that we commandeered :)

And this is the arty, post-chardy shot! Big thank you to Taph for organising this event. I did have a good time :) I just was laying low last week, and forgot my manners...

Although I wasn't the only one....

Pierre has decided he prefers height of the coffee tables at LL's....

And Dilby decided to enjoy the little rain during the drought... and try a self applied mud-facial. You can't quite read his top, but it has little pictures of "diggers" and trucks, and has the slogan "MUD MONSTERS" written all over it. Very Apt!

LL and I had a bit of fimo-lovin' during the weekend, whilst Dilby had a bit of play-doh fun (I think we managed to avoid him eating any!)

And the spoils of our labour, post baking:- These cool little beads will be made into stitchmarkers soon, and will be in the shop (yes, a little shameless self promotion). This set will called "poppies".

Also - BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Mum.

I had a chat with Mum yesterday (the day of!) and amongst other things, she mentioned that my Dad went to the Melbourne Motorshow and took something like 450+ photos... but here is one car he won't have a picture of!

Yes, I realise this did the rounds on the 'net eons ago, but I haven't put on my blog, and my Dad hasn't seen it!

And did I say GIVE-AWAY??? (congrats if you made it this far!)

I have a handful of this year's tropfest DVDs that were free with the SMH. If you missed out, and would like one, leave a comment. On the off chance that I get more comments than DVDs I'll randomly pick names out of a hat. I'll announce who the lucky people are next Monday.