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Thursday, May 31, 2007

vintage hues yarn review

Yarn: Vintage Hues
Manufacturer: Cleckheaton (ACS)
Composition: 100% wool
Tension: 16stitches/21rows per 10cm
Needle size: 6.5mm/10.5US
Yardage:83m per 50gm
Made in: Turkey
Supporting patterns: Cleckheaton book 952
Price: from $4.75 to $6.00 per ball, depending on where you buy.

What Cleckheaton says... (from book 952)

Vintage Hue is innovative, cleverly coloured and spun pure wool with a very classy ball shape to enhance the colour effect.

This collection of handknits is designed to complement this unique yarn, dominating with clever colour. The shapes are wearably simple except for the entrelac design (pictured right)... a project for challenge seekers - just dream of responding 'Yes, knitted by me'.

Whichever design you choose, enjoy the experience of creation and we just know you will be up staying up late to see the effect of the next colour. Knitting with Vintage Hues is addictive.

Please read prior to commencing your Cleckheaton Vintage Hues Handknit

The colouring is irregular and no 2 garments will be the same. Please compare design 8 with the front and sleeves of an un-sewn version of the same design on page 39 (comparaison shown left)

It is not possible to identically match the pieces of a jumper or cardigan, however, by beginning with the same section of colour for the cast on of the back, front/s and sleeves it is possible to obtain an order of balanced tone... see design 2 page 3 circular yoke cardigan. (pictured right) We recommend purchasing an extra 2-3 balls to achieve this.

Be naturally Cleckheaton warm this winter

What I say...
Vintage Hues is a loosely spun 2-ply wool yarn. The variations in colour are created by each ply changing colour independently of the other - this creates a lovely tweedy effect between bold colours, however, makes it extremely difficult, nigh impossible, to match colour repeats.
In the colourway I chose to use for my garment (shade 1269), there are three distinct colours that 'barber-pole' around each other - purple, green and grey. This results in a colour repeat somewhat of the following :- purple, purple/green, green, green/grey, grey/purple, purple etc - however to get an exact colour repeat you need each ply to be at the exact same point in each ball at the time it was spun. If one of those plys is out, you get a slightly different colour repeat, which is what I found when I tried to join balls - the dye lot was exactly the same, and there was no variation in the tones of colour, just in the effect created by the two plys spun together. If you want to try to match your colour repeats you could buy the extra 2-3 repeats (what - a company suggest a customer buy more of a product??) , but I suggest you tell your inner anal-retentive to suck it up and just go with the Hues - your likely to drive yourself mad if you do it any other way due to the variations just mentioned.

VintageHues is an extremely lofty yarn - it traps air between the fibres and therefore compresses quite a bit (making it a 'cushy' yarn). When pulled tight over the needles it appears to be a 12ply (aran) weight yarn, but worked as a bulky on larger needles the stitches 'bloom' to create a lightweight fabric. This loft means you get quite a lot of yardage out of a single ball - I managed to make a size 12 cardigan with approximately eight 50gm balls of yarn, not a bad feat. And considering, if worn under a jacket the air trapped by this yarn will insulate you quite effectively!

But beware - this loft can cause some problems for you if you try to substitute this yarn in other patterns. It has a similar gauge to other bulky weight yarn, but has neither the weight nor drape that other patterns may require to work. After a wash, Vintage Hues did acquire a some drape, but I suggest you take this into consideration when substituting it in other patterns. I made the lace trim cardigan from the book, and even after a wash had to sew down the lace at the 'hemline' so it did not foolishly stick out at the back of the garment.

Also, I am not sure whether or not this felts well, but I would suggest if you are trying to felt vintage hues you allow for a lot of shrinkage - remember - the yarn compresses well. The reason I would suggest it might not felt well it because whilst I was knitting with the yarn it felt like it had been subjected to a superwash treatment. This may just be a remnant of the dying process, so if anyone has any success (or disaster) with felting, let me know. This feel also suggest to me that I wouldn't want to wear Vintage hues directly against sensitive skin - but I have only washed it once, perhaps after a few more washes it will get a softer.

The only issue I feel I should mention is to make sure you wash your Vintage Hues separate from other garments. I turned all the water in the sink a lovely deep burgundy/pink when I washed my cardi the other day!

Below are pictures of my cardi after I washed it. It dried rather quickly after I used the old 'wring it by rolling between two towels' trick. Less than 12 hours on a clothes rack in a lovely gas-heated room. Just a few ends to weave in and tidy up and I should have the FO report ready in a day or so!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Dear Mum and Dad (aka Sis and Nico),

We are having lots of fun while you are away.

We have helped to re-landscape your front yarn... digging holes in the mud is lots of fun but we haven't managed to find a way out under the fence yet. Also, the hoses made great chew toys and fantastic entertainment.

Aunty Meg thanks you for all your emails,

your hapless hounds,

Toby and Elvis

Monday, May 28, 2007

Seven random facts

Kate tagged me, so here goes...

  1. My fibre adventures have included building a recumbent tricycle and a race car out of carbon fibre, fibreglass and aramid ( aka Kevlar - bulletproof stuff) - and helping a composite engineer with monkey work towards his PhD.
  2. I attended Rex Putnam High School in Milwaukie, Portland, Oregon for 1 year when I was 16 in 1997. I graduated as a Senior, took classes as a Junior, was the same age as a Sophomore, and as it was my first year at a US High School claimed also to be a Freshman.
  3. When I was little I had a very basic knitted doll made by my Nan that I called Debella. I have no idea where the name came from.
  4. I like to get Naked with Chloe at the Young&Jackson.
  5. I love a good television commercial - my current favourites are flashbeer, nandofix gum and smiths so happy together (did anyone else spot the gobbledock??)
  6. One of my favourite meals is mixing blue packet kraft macaroni and cheese with a tin of tuna in brine... yum yum
  7. This is the first time I have been tagged for meme...

I'm not dobbing anyone in - if you have 7 random facts you want to share, go for it.

Friday, May 25, 2007


After seeing the simple beauty of Brooklyn Tweed's Noro Scarf, I had to have a go at it myself.

There are a couple of differences with what I did - I only used two skeins of silk garden (I baulk at spending $60 on yarn for a scarf!) and made a nice long skinny scarf that could be worn as either a classy accessory, or would also be good for warmth.

I ended up using 24 stitches, slipping the last stitch of each row. I ended up knitting it twice - the first time it was too wide and too short, however, as it did a double pass through the fingers it is now definitely twig and splinter free and incredibly neck friendly. One you get all the cellulose out of Noro it is incredibly soft yarn.

My pics are nothing on Brooklyn Tweed's, so check out his to get a better feel for the Noro magic.


NAME: Manual Noro.

PATTERN: Based on Brooklyn Tweed's specs

YARN: Noro Silk Garden

YARN SOURCE: Stitchery Blue

NEEDLES:4.5mm aluminium Birch circulars

COMPLETED: 24 May 07

Sea-Wool WIP

Ain't it purdy? I am working an top-down yoke sweater based on Elizabeth Zimmerman's percentage system. The Skein of sea-wool gave me a 8-inch yoke, and the variation gave great detail with no effort on my part.

I got some 5-ply wool to complete the sweater with - it knits at the same tension as the sea- wool and (I think) creates a great contrast with the yoke. It will be slow going completing the rest of the sweater - and possibly boring being straight stockinette (knit knit knit) - but also makes for great mindless knitting when my hands have a need to be moving and my brain wants a little time out.

New hobby - stalking knitwear...

I'm hoping someone can tell me I'm not the only one to do this - I seem to be developing a really bad habit of browsing through shops (yes - including designer collections) to check out what knitwear they have in stock. I then try to guess what it's made from, and the acrylic content of the item before turning the item inside out to check what's on the tag.

I have learnt a couple of things from this - the first is that there is a high man-made content in most fashion (usually at least 40% acrylic whether a cotton or wool knit) - and the second - I am perfectly justified in spending money on natural fibre yarns to make my own garments. Paying $100 for the materials to make your own sweater isn't really that much when you see something more expensive with very little natural fibre. Of course, there is a third reason - inspiration!

However, sometimes I see something that is just too fantastic - these indulgent gloves were on display at Polo Ralph Lauren. I am guessing they are angora (oh so soft) but I haven't a clue of the content or the price - as with most designer boutiques prices and tags were well hidden.

And finally, in response to Kate's question in yesterday's comment - I first saw the Australian Country Spinner's swatches at Lincraft in Geelong, but since then I spotted them in Clegs and Wondoflex in Melbourne. The seem to have appeared overnight!

Dear Randal...

Please do not think I am ignoring you - I appear to be having some trouble with my emails, but I wish to assure you that I am keeping up to date with all of your group and private communications to date.

Apologies for not following up on your discussion of colour and yarn choices for projects - I have found emails still sitting in my outbox and am thinking perhaps they have not been sent. I approve and have faith in your choices. I am glad that you are still including me in everything.

Please keep sending the emails - I am currently working on a solution for replies.

Your expat friend,
Ginge :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

being jack sparrow

Yes - I got dragged along to see 'Pirates' today (like my arm had to be twisted) and without giving too much away, it is, of course, nowhere near the original, more plot but less entertaining antics than the second - still a great swashbuckling adventure that any pirate-wannabe would need to see...

And now I have another giftie that has dissapeared from the UFO pile at Chez Pierre..

The Sasquatch socks!


NAME: Sasquatch socks - sasquatch being another name for bigfoot, and these are made for a male size 14 foot.
YARN: Lana Grossa Mega Boots Stretch Special - 150gm ball
YARN SOURCE: Rubi and Lana
NEEDLES:3.5mm Addi DPNs
COMPLETED: 13 May 07
Considering they were pulled on the minute my LBB recieved them, I think that means he likes them. And I got the fit pretty much spot on - quite proud of these ones :) However, LBB seems to think that Smellie will steal them for bedsocks. Looks like I may have to make some more...

Yet another WIP

And here is what I have done so far with my sea-wool. The colours aren't quite right here, but you get the general idea - much too pretty for socks. A 3mm is recommended for socks, which you generally knit firmer, so I went out to a 3.5mm for this project. Any guesses as to what it is?

I am loving this yarn - This is one ball and I am getting alot of yardage out of it! And it feels so nice to knit with - regular wool feels like barbed-wire after knitting with the sea-wool. And such sheen - it looks like silk, but has all the bounce of wool.

...and out and about

Anybody seen these adorable squatches from Australian Country Spinners? They definately make me want to buy the yarn.

Oh - and I have to admit, I thought the Paton's Totem label change was just re-branding, but it does, in fact, feel a tad bit more luxurious than the old Totem... has anyone else noticed this???

And I had to share this - the latest in designer mens-wear: patchwork ties... how incredibly rustic :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

scary sock - rated MA

I am slowly making my way through the first Rockin' sock -

I was hoping its phallic tendancies would recede when I got past the heel, but it appears to be the opposite...

... perhaps more teenage boys would be interested in knitting socks if they knew they could create such crude shapes.

However, I love the colours, and although the 11-stitch cable is a bitch I absolutely love it - 1.5 cable repeats completed so far!

Monday, May 21, 2007

FO bragging

Just to answer a few q's - I found the geelong knitters through the yahoo melbourne s'nb' group - the meet once a month on the 3rd Wednesday at the Black sheep cafe (at the National Wool Museum). If you're ever in my neck of the woods on the day of a meet-up be sure to drop by.

And now a little FO bragging:) First of all - for LBB's girlfriend, Smellie's birthday :- as modelled by LBB, my Mum (with incomplete vintage hues cardi) and, of course, Smellie :)

Smellie is completing a mechanical apprenticeship so I like to think of her wearing this to work on cold mornings to remind all the boys deep down she can be a girlie-gal!

: Smellie's kitty-kat birthday hat
PATTERN: My own - influenced by Stitch'n'Bitch by Debbie Stoller. I didn't like the underlying hat pattern so made up my own.
YARN: Cleckheaton Studio Mohair
NEEDLES:4mm knitpicks options
COMPLETED: 03 May 07

I was knitting like the wind in order to finish these in time for my Nan on mother's day. After the success of my Pop's mitts I decided my Nan needed a pair too - but with one important feature - they must no interfere with knitting!

Again, note the stingey ball-band wrapping!

NAME: Nan's Fetching Mitts
PATTERN: Fetching in - extra cable repeats included for extra length
YARN: Cleckheaton Country Silk 8-ply/DK in Blue - 1.5 balls used to accomodate extra repeats
YARN SOURCE: stash - from memory originally purchased at a Kmart 20% storewide sale.
NEEDLES:20cm Tulip 4.5mm bamboo DPNs
COMPLETED: 12 May 07

Oh - and it appears the pocket-sized pup is also a hood-sized hound. Who'd want a big dog when you can do something this cute?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

geelong knits

just got back from my first knitting meet up in geelong(i took my mum along).

have to say knitters everywhere are fantastic people - oh so welcoming :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

kniterature - Knitting Nature

Title: Knitting Nature
Author: Norah Gaughan
ISBN-10: 1584794844
ISBN-13: 9781584794844
Format: Hardcover
# of Pages: 160
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Published: 2006
Book Source: Borders
Price: $49.95 - purchased with $20 borders voucher (therefore $20.95)
Skill level/Audience: Amateur to Master Knitters

Grr - blogger just ate this post, and now I can't upload pics! I'll have to redo this tomorrow. Check back soon for the update.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I got home just in time...

So the above are all really crappy photos taken whilst raining and in the dusk - however, they were my first glimpses of what I call 'home' - Eastern Beach in Geelong.I always take a detour around Corio Bay when I drive into town because I love the view!
And I made it back to Geelong just in time for a bit of a birthday - for my Pop. I did a bit of frantic knitting, but managed to finish his gift the morning of his birthday...I couldn't resist presenting them a little bit uniquely - and as an added bonus he got all instructions on how to care for the yarn.... And no arm twisting required to get him to model them...
I am hoping these come in handy when he is out on his treadly, or setting up early for those end of season craft markets...

NAME: Pop's Fingerless Mitts
YARN: Cleckheaton Country Silk 8-ply/DK in brown and olive.
YARN SOURCE: stash - from memory originally purchased at a Kmart 20% storewide sale.
NEEDLES:20cm Tulip 4.5mm bamboo DPNs
COMPLETED: 28 April 07

Yarn PR0N

This is the sea-wool I mentioned the other day. Colourways from left to right: stormy seas, forest, woodland, mahogany. I love the way they blend into each one - kinda like the way people play around with koigu. These are too gorgeous to waste on socks - so I have a very ambitious project lurking in the back of my mind...

Vintage Hues

I managed to track down some of the new Cleckheaton Vintage Hues yarn - and have to say I LUFF it! This is the cardigan style 9a in the companion pattern book and it is flying off the needles between gifty projects. The colours aren't anywhere near as bright as in the pic - they're lovely muted pastels. I'll have to do a yarn review for this one.

And a cute pic of Pierre to close!

Friday, May 11, 2007

the trip home - Pitstop 1.5 and 2: Tarcutta and Wangaratta

Sorry - no pics of the hand-painted goodies I picked up at the Tarcutta Farmhouse Industries Craft Shop - but I got some loverly hand-painted mohair and some gorgeous rainbow hand painted handspun...

The volunteer shop-clerks recognised Pierre from a previous trip to the town (I stopped there everytime I was going between Geelong and Sydney) and we discussed how Tarcutta was such a handy location for a pitstop (the rest area is on the main road with easy, ample parking) and the possible highway by-pass, luckily not scheduled until about 2012. I was very disappointed to have missed Taph and her mum, who stopped by a little later on in the day - however, I warned the ladies that more fibre fiends would be stopping by! If I didn't have certain place to be by a certain time I would have gladly grabbed a cuppa in the town just to catch up with Taph once more.

And that certain place was... WANGARATTA WOOLLEN MILLS!

Behold the majesty of such a yarnaholics mecca.
The photo collage above clockwise from top left: Yarn sales around here somewhere; One of the many overflowing yarn bins; the entrance to the retail shop; must be heading the right way for the yarn sales; just a minor stash enhancement; textile avenue - must be on the right track; the ACS mills - unfortunately no tours available; wool and woolblend remnants - $27.50 kg.

The retail shop there closes at 4pm, and I wasn't sure of what sort of time I would make - but due to the new by-pass around Albury I made it to Wangarratta before 3. (Yes - I enjoy driving through all the small towns where you only have to slow down for a couple of kms before you can resume cruise control, but Albury with its doglegs and traffic lights really irked me! Also, the bakery and roadside cafes tended to have better food for a better price than all the fast food in Albury)

Some of the photos are a little blurry as I was asked not to take pictures inside the shop, but they suggested taking some through the window (well, the original response was 'why do you want to take photos...? ... weblog...? ...maybe you could just do it outside... you know... through the window...?') Anyway - remember Scrooge McDuck swimming in his money bins? Replace that coin with yarn and you have something like the retail shop and something a hellava lot softer to dive into.

Anyway - next time I go to the Wangaratta woollen mills I will definitely be taking an empty car. Or perhaps a semi-trailer (my Dad could drive - he got his truck licence on Monday - Yay and congrats to him!) I walked out with one HUUUUGE bag of woolblend yarns, and one HUUUGE bag of acrylic yarns (approx 4-5kg of yarn in total) and spent just over $100. The acrylic, which my Nan uses to knit soft toys - was $10/kg. The wool and woolblend stuff $27.50/kg. There was also some other yarns with small discounts (patonyle, whole-bags of angora supreme etc) but I didn't partake of those.

I picked up enough shadow tweed to make two garments in two different colours, and more than enough inca to make another Josephine. Considering that the retail for these yarns is approx $10/100g, or $100/1kg the $27.50/kg was a steal.

Top Ten Tips and Tricks for making the most of Wangaratta woollen mills:
  1. Clean out your car (trust me, yarn takes up a lot of room)
  2. If you can spare the room in your front passenger seat, take a friend to split petrol costs and therefore afford more yarn (the only space left in my car was the front passenger seat, so I ended up piling up my yarn there)
  3. Know your products - spend a couple of hours swatting at the ACS handknitting sites (ie cleckheaton, patons etc) and get to know the composition of your yarns. They are bagged up without labels/ballbands with a yarn composition and a weight written on the bag. (I know my patons yarns well, so I see wool/alpaca/acrylic and know that its inca)
  4. Be flexible. All the yarns are a bit of a cluster-fork in the bins. Just because you know that inca comes in black doesn't mean you will find it, or it is even there. Its remnants - it may not be your lucky day!
  5. Don't stress over dyelots. No ballbands = no dyelot information. If you are worried about dyelots, do a little research into how to disguise then when joining yarns.
  6. Know what you are prepared to go through in order to save money. There are tangled yarns that are even cheaper than the $27.50/kg - but do you want to waste good knitting time untying knots? I know I can't be bothered.
  7. Add in your petrol costs to your yarn purchases. It's no use spending $50 in order to save $10 on yarn. (Of course, the upside of this is that the more yarn you buy the more cost effective your trip)
  8. Make sure the mills are open when you plan to go. On my way back to Sydney in January I made a slight detour to Wangaratta only to find the mills were still closed from the xmas/new year break. This time I emailed ACS customer service to ensure I could get a little S.E.X. in on the way home. (S.E.X. = Stash Enhancement eXcursion)
  9. Make sure you buy enough yarn to make a garment - pointless saving money on 3 balls of yarn when you discover that you need 12 more of them to finish.
  10. If the excitement gets too much for you, just find a seat, dip your head between your knees and breathe into a paper-bag for a while.

And now we briefly return to retail yarn for a moment:

At my last RandL knit group two and a half weeks or so ago, I decided to make one last purchase at my favourite LYS . After much mopey browsing, I decided to go with this loverly oceanic slubby handspun from Mollydale. The colours reminded me of the harbour city, and the yarn was of (reasonably) local origin. I grabbed all three skiens of the colourway, and am now trying to decide what I should make with it.

I have 300gms and just shy of 300mtrs - its labeled as a 12ply. I would welcome any suggestions on what I can make with this beautiful yarn - I haven't played much with slubbies before so please give me your input.

And a finished pair of socks... for ME!

NAME: Roza-knee-hi
PATTERN: Loosely based upon Roza's Socks by Grumperina in the spring InterweaveKnits. Modified for toe-up, and extra brioche stitch incorporated to stretch over calf.
YARN: 2 skeins Lorna's Laces's Shepard Sock in Black Watch
YARN SOURCE: ebay (yarnbow's shop, from memory)
NEEDLES:15cm Tulip 2.75mm bamboo DPNs
COMPLETED: 07 May 07

An just so you know, Pierre is doing well in his new (temporary) home at my parents. My Dad and I have been working on some new tricks with him - and he can now 'roll-over'

Monday, May 07, 2007

the trip home - Pitstop 1: Canberra

Following a fantastic farewell the RandL group gave me on ANZAC day, and a sleepover at Lara and Mark's (which included a singalong toMonty Python's the Meaning of Life ) I hit the road, aiming roughly in the direction of Canberra.

This was a quick stay - long enough to hang out with Lucy and Hubby-lou, Dilby and Huey for one last night before heading out early the next morning in order to make it to Wangarratta Woollen Mills for a bit of shopping.

Knowing that this would be my last visit to Canberra for a few months, I put the feelers out for an s'n'b - and Bells stepped up to the call, organising a pub-knitting night at Tilley's just for me.

The turnout was small, but intimate - and as you can see, alcohol was close at hand. I was delighted to share exactly why the phallic sock was such a phallus, and was very excited to meet Hubby-Bells. (Apologies to him - he asked why I was moving interstate and I think he got stuck with bitter-ex-girlfriend conversation. No wonder he was so quick to suggest he take this picture of us :)

A big thank you to Bells for organising this one - it is great to know that you can find fellow knitterly friends whilst travelling for a few rows and a few drinkies.

Of course, I enjoyed being able to spend time with the Lou's - as you can see below, Huey had grown quite a bit in the two weeks I was back in Sydney - he is now a lot less spidery, and a hellavalot more Sumo (in the cutest possible way!)

In this picture he is the perfect fit for the baby kimono, which I thought would take him months to grow into.

He had also outgrown his ribbed baby booties, but thankfully, the clogs still fit him.

It has nearly been another two weeks since I saw him, so I wouldn't be surprised if he has yet again doubled in size!

I was really glad the clogs still fit him, as here we have clogs MachII - with a matching Huey, Dewey, and Louie Cap.

NAME: Baby Clogs MachII
PATTERN: Slip-on from 50 Baby Bootees to Knit By Zoe Meller
YARN: Cleckheaton Merino Bambino (held doubled)
YARN SOURCE: Lincraft Belconnen
NEEDLES: knitpicks options 4mm
COMPLETED: 22 April 07

NAME: Huey Cap
YARN: Cleckheaton Merino Bambino
YARN SOURCE: Lincraft Belconnen
NEEDLES: Birch 3.75mm DPNs
COMPLETED: 26 April 07

> And of course - I had to make something cool for Dilby to go with that super-funkified-reversible-double-knit-weasley-sweater, and what better than a "tebby-bear" hat (his words, not mine). My sis completed one of these last year and gave me her light blue leftovers, which was just enough to make a smaller hat for Huey. Perfect for when the boys go to their Teddybear picnic in June.

I followed this pattern to the letter, and as you can see, the 2yo size is large enough to fit an adult - and I am now very tempted to make one for myself.

NAME: Tebby Bear Beanies
PATTERN: Patons booklet 1217: Designer handknits for tots
YARN: Patons Loopy Mohair and Totem
YARN SOURCE: Lincraft, Hornsby Craft and Wool Nook, Malvern Button Shop and sis's stash
NEEDLES: knitpicks options 4 and 6mm
COMPLETED: 26 April 07

I am hoping to post semi-regularly this week (I have a couple of other FOs to share) to catch up with the rest of the trip home (such as the woollen mills... drool!) but I have just recieved a package from the States that contains my Sea-wool, so excuse me while I go smother myself in that unique seacell smell!