Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thinking about stash

When I started knitting, like most knitters, I bought yarn, made something (okay, made a scarf) and then bought more yarn and made ... another scarf. And then I "graduated" to jumpers, socks and whatever. I had a yarn shop literally at the end of the street, and bought yarn for every project as I needed it. Mid last year a couple of things happened that changed that, and led to me having a stash: Cleggs had Rowan at half price, I went to Bendigo wool show and followed that up with a visit to the Sock Summit. So, I was then the proud owner of stash. And it makes me uncomfortable, although I'm not sure why. My entire yarn stash fits in here (props included for scale):

(That's the yarn stash, the spinning wool lives somewhere else)
I don't know why I feel uncomfortale about owning yarn that I'm not knitting with right now. Is it guilt, because there are children in Africa without wool? Is it fear that having yarn forces me to keep knitting? What would happen to the yarn if I stopped?
But I have also found some upside to stash. Although I have previously rather mocked the concept of shopping the stash, when I was sick I really appreciated being able to reach into the stash and have a project waiting for me. And being comfortable with stash lets me buy yarn when I see it, or when it's on special, or when the Australian dollar is particularly strong.
All of this is in my mind because I'm going to Bendigo again in a couple of weeks (yay!) and i will be buying yarn that I won't knit immediately. There is some wool I can only get IRL there, such as the natural sheep coloured wool that Leon loves to wear.
I know some knitters with large stashes who are entirely comfortable with that, and others who are not. I know it's just a matter of working out what I'm comfortable with and doing it, but that seems to be a fine line for me. I guess I'll keep with the rule, as long as it all fits in the trunk.

The one part of my stash that doesn't elicit mixed feelings is the amount of sock yarn I own. Sometimes I just get it out and play with it. It makes me smile.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Saying goodbye to resin.

After I did this resin course I was inspired. I wanted to embed everything in resin – jelly babies, lollies, chillies, wool. I made a bangle with my first handspun. I made badges with sheep in them, bangles with cloth in them and random shapes with sparkles:

I really wanted to make coasters, but I struggled to find a mould big enough – silicon muffin tins turned out to be too small. Eventually I found a plastic artist’s palette. In my last resin session I poured into it and embedded chilli flakes, thinking that this would please Leon. Then I went all allergic, and Leon packed up the resin and I gave it to Bee. And that, you would think, would be the end of that.
But sitting on the table in the garage was the project, still in the mould. Wednesday was Leon’s birthday. I bought him a present, but thought he should have something handmade. I had to break the plastic to get the resin out, then I sanded down the edges and here they are:

Custom made resin coasters. The original plan was to make ones with coffee beans in them for my coffee mad friends, and ones with yarn in them for my yarnie friends. I had to give that up, because of the allergic reaction, but I was thrilled to be able to give these to Leon. And so I say goodbye to my experiments with resining, with a few scars, some new jewellery and no regrets.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


On Saturday (and Sunday, but that's not what I'm posting about) knitters in Melbourne celebrated World Wide Knit In public Day. We celebrated in true knitterly style, with good food, good company and of course, hours and hours of uninterrupted knitting!

It is true that for me almost every day in Knit in Public day. On Mondays I knit in a cafe with the Richmond Knitters, on Tuesday the pub with my trivia team (well, I knit, they don't) and whenever I catch public transport, or go out to eat or sit in the park or leave the house really. Except on the bike, I have not started knitting on my commute. Although one set of traffic lights I wait at has an eight minute cycle, so I have occasionall
y regretted not having a socks to work on while I wait. Thank you to Toni for organising, and everyone who was there. I love being a knitter, and being part of a community of knitters has made the experience so much richer. As well as being a very pleasurable day, I won a voucher for Yayforyarn. Thanks to KatinSpace and the Ravelry Rocketeers. I'm thinking this is a great opportunity to try Cascade 220, maybe for Interweave Knits Minimilist Cardigan.

I know it was WWKIP but I wanted to see how I went spinning on my little Golding spindle on public transport, as I have not done that before, and I am thinking of taking it away with me, to spin on the Trans-Siberian Express. I did okay - it only dropped once between home and Federations Square, and a nice emo looking boy picked it up and handed it back to me with a smile.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


On Sunday Bee (my best non-fibre crafting friend) called crafternoon at her house. I walked my spinning wheel over - it's about two kilometers. Its lucky I live in a "funky" suburb. I got a few smiles, but no strange looks. I spent a couple of hours spinning up the second half of my sock yarn. It was nice to have other crafty people around, although the others were sewing. The rest of the long weekend was pretty crafty too. I spun, knit on Leon's jumper and dyed a merino beanie - I gave it to Leon last winter to wear under his bike helmet, and he pointed out that it is pink. I would have called it red, but a closer look revealed: hot pink. I tried to dye it brown, but it ended up a lovely shade of moroon.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I won't be entering these in the Royal Melbourne Show

I finished the Nutkin socks. Like many people I modified them, in my case by reversing every second cable, so that they run down the front of the leg... well, that was the intention. I somehow managed to make one sock have the cables running up the leg, and one running down. I also struggled with the short row heel, eventually working out that wrapping the purl wraps backward would stop the holes appearing. I worked that out on the first toe. The first heel looks sort of messy. Did I rip and reknit? No, I didn't. I tried the first sock on after 7 repeats and realised that it was TIGHT. So I stopped there. The whole second sock is slightly bigger, even though it had the exact same number of repeats. I think it was because while I was knitting the first sock I was miserable. I was back at work, and I felt like a complete waste of space. By the time I knit the second sock I actually felt competent. Still, I was doubtful about these socks. As well as everything else, when I tried them on to take photos they were difficult to get on.

I wore them to work today, and they are possibly the most comfortable pair of hand knit socks I have worn, and they make me smile. Weird, but very cheering.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I learnt to spin on a drop spindle earlier this year and have been loving it. It's not a speedy way to do things but I've made some good yarn, including a three ply sock wool. I had been wanting to learn to spin on a wheel, and the Spinners and Weavers Guild runs a class, but it took me a year to find a time they were running a class I was available. That opportunity came up recently, and now I can spin on a wheel. The teacher is great, and the Guild has lent me a wheel, Alice, pictured above (sorry about the cat, Princess Daisy was posing) to use so I can practice at home. And Alice is a lovely wheel, and I have spun a kilo of Corriedale on it in the last two weeks.
Part of me loves spinning on the wheel becasue you can get so much done, part of me feel like it's a bit too fixed in space and factory like. I have been thinking about buying a small wheel, something like the Majacraft Gem or an Ashford Joy. Or I was thinking about not buying a wheel and sticking to the spindles... And then, on Tuesday my friend Skip came to the pub, as he does every Tuesday. The weird thing was he drove, even though he lives just up the road. He said he drove because he had something heavy with him: and then he pulled a three kilogram fleece out of his car and gave it to me!

And it's stunning. Soft and crimpy and I love the colour, which is prettier than in the photo... So now the question is not whether a wheel, but which wheel.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Green Piece

A couple of months ago I went to the Healsville craft market with Bee, my craftiest (non-knitting) friend. While we were there I saw this button, which I knew would be perfect for the Shalom Cardigan. As well as being pretty, it's made of recycled parquetry flooring.

It was a remarkably quick knit, I started on Tuesday and had it finished on Sunday. I guess that's the advantage 12 ply and sleeveless, and not having to attend work! I left off the waist shaping because I thought that would help it hang better, which may have been a mistake. It's a comfortable cardigan, perfect to wear to work, where it is a little to warm for a jumper, but too cool for shirtsleeves.