Malibu Socks

So my smaller knitting needles arrived yesterday. An added bonus I forgot I ordered some more sock yarn, so it was a surprise to have that in my package 😀 It is a wool/cotton (and other things) blend which I’m hoping will be good for the not so freezing days (for anyone not from Brisbane, temperatures in the daytime below 19C (and for the Americans that’s about 66F) are considered ‘freezing’ cold.)

So I’ve started knitting with one of my new balls of yarn- the colour is called Malibu Stretch. The pattern suggested size 2.5mm needles and the band on the ball suggested 2.5-3mm. I first did a gauge swatch with the recommended needles of the pattern and I was one stitch too many but when I moved up to 2.75 it was perfect.


This is my progress so far.


Meanwhile the yarn gets twisted up as I knit it. It always does this but it more noticable with this yarn. Right now I’m letting my knitting hang every few rows to untwist but it is anoying.


The needles are ‘Karbonz’ and in the longest they come in. I’d prefer longer needles, like at least 30 cms long but dpns don’t seem to come that long any more. I find these ones are better than metal, but one of the tips is a bit rough and scratched up the needle next to it, so I switched that needle for another in the packet (there were 5 in the packet and I’m using 3 to knit with). I’ll have to see if I can smooth the rough tip down with anything—any suggestions?

Meanwhile I’m also doing some spinning.



Just what is a Skein of Yarn?

When I first ventured on the internet I began learning a whole new language—American English. I already knew the jelly-jello and mum-mom and a few other bits and pieces from American books and film, but conversing with people from another country online means a lot more comes to light.

For example when I mentioned I was buying my dad a new jumper I was confused why a whole bunch of people were shocked that my DAD wore jumpers. Or the time I casually mentioned I left my hairbrush in the toilet—it was beside the sink near the mirror, but the word ‘toilet’ has a more narrow meaning over there.

As I’ve got older and started talking about crafts online I’ve learnt other things. What I call printed calico they call calico. What I call calico they call muslin. What I call muslin they call… actually, I have no idea and this has caused some confusion.

What’s causing me confusion right now is when we’re talking about forms of yarn, ie is it in a ball or a skein or whatever. Now, growing up in New Zealand it was ‘wool’, not yarn. You would knit something out of acrylic ‘wool’ or out of a wool that was a silk/wool blend. This doesn’t actually make any sense, so I’m 100% with the Americans on calling it yarn. Except when I forget. But that’s not the confusing part.

The confusing part is growing up wool came in ‘balls’ of wool or ‘skeins’ of wool. A ball of wool is when it’s wound into a ball type shape, a skein is when it is made into big loops on a skein winder or niddy noddy.

Thus, these are balls of wool (yarn):





These are skeins




Then I started hanging out online with American knitters. Apparently skeins are called hanks, and some types of balls are called cakes and others are called skeins.

Confusing? Not so much, I figured American’s call hand wound balls of wool balls of yarn, those wound on a yarn winder cakes of yarn and those bought commercially wound into balls skeins, and all skeins were called hanks.

The confusing part? I started hanging out with American spinners.

These people will call a skein winder, a skein winder. They will talk about winding a skein on the skein winder. The finished product is what an American knitter will call a hank.  Why is this? Is it just the knitters are wrong? If the knitters are right, why don’t Americans call skein winders hank winders, and why do they wind skeins not hanks?

Now I’m confused and never sure WHAT someone means when they say a skein of yarn!


Cushions for Mother

It’s been ages since I’ve done some weaving and I found a bulky thick and think yarn on sale, so I picked it up with a thought to make some cushions for my mother.

I used a synthetic mohair for the warp and warped up for a weft dominant weave.

After weaving a header of plain yarn I switched to the thick and thin. I was planning on alternating but instead I stuck with the thick and thin. Before I wove each pick I lay the yarn over the warp and used my pickup stick to pick up more threads over the thin parts of the yarn and less over the thick. This made the thick parts stand out more. I was going for a ‘pebbles on the beach look’


Here is my first cushion front on the loom:


and some taken while I was sewing it up:



I was worried the texture was too overpowering  so for the second I just wove a stripe of the texture.


I sewed up the cushions using some wool I found at a second hand store on a trip to Sydney.



Mum loved them!


Tyrion, Ellaria and a Splash of Eri Silk

I had one braid of Tyrion left from Cat and Sparrow Fibres, so I split it in half. I also had two braids of a golden colourway called Ellaria so I added about 10cm of that to each half of Tyrion. I then pulled the braid of Tyrion apart as much as I could into colour segments, and spun from the fold, adding Ellaria and also some smatterings of eri silk throughout.

Here are my results:



To compare this is the last bobbin of Tyrion I spun:


I got a ball winder for Christmas from my mother, so once this was washed I put it to good use and balled it up.



And another comparison shot, the new spin on top, just Tyrion on the bottom (yes, I rewound my hand wound balls into new balls with my new ball winder. They stack better this way.)


I am planning a project using both Tyrion and Ellaria so this blend will tie the two together nicely.


So I’ve treated myself to some roving from my home country. It’s a dark grey New Zealand halfbread dyed in a colourway called ‘landscape’ from Heavenly Wools.




It’s a coarser fibre than what I’ve spun so far. I’m trying to spin nice and thick to get a nice bouncy two ply.



The coulours aren’t very true as the photos were taken at night, but hopefully I’ll get better photos once done!


MY first foray into spinning dyed fibre is with a couple of braids of ‘Tyrion’ from Cat and Sparrow fibres.

Here is my first attempt at spinning it, I was trying to spin thicker than I normally would and finding the colours blend together a lot.


So I asked around online and got some tips including spinning from the fold and divding the braid into colours. With so many thin strips of colour the later was hard but spinning from the fold worked a bit better.


Here is the resulting two ply from the first ball I spun


And this is the second.




And this is the third, still on the bobbin.




I plan for this to become cushions for my lounge.