Correa Wrap – Attempt 1

Last year I first saw the Correa Wrap by Ambah O’Brien when Skein Sisters held a pop up shop at my Knitters Guild meeting. They had a finished wrap on show and I really liked it. I don’t normally like gradients but with the contrast colour in the middle breaking up the colours I really liked it.

Skein Sisters sold the wrap as a pack with the 4 skeins of yarn and the pattern. The sample on display was in the original colour way of orange. Not my colour but they had it in blue colour tone pack which was more me. I put it on my wish list and when Skein Sisters had a sale in February I purchased the pack. The colours are gorgeous. The pattern is a lace pattern. Lace knitting scares me. It looks fancy and complicated and there is counting involved. Normally I run from patterns like this but I got a taste for simple lace knitting in my Miramar cowl.

I’ve just finished my first Stephen West shawl which took me out of my comfort zone but I enjoyed knitting. This week I decided to bite the bullet and try the Correa. The pattern has both written instructions and a chart. I can’t read chart symbols yet. I can read basic colour charts but not symbols so I was following the written instructions of the pattern highlighting each row as I finished it. I have made mistakes and will take this off my needle and start again. One side of the stitch markers looks ok and I seem to be on track but the other side is too messy to continue with. I’m not beating myself up about having to restart it. The first few rows of the lace section were scary but the last few rows I knitted were a bit more easier. The pattern is starting to click in my head now. Lace knitting is just a serious of yarn overs, ssk (slip, slip, knit) knit stitches or k2tog (knit 2 together) when you break it down like that it isn’t so scary, it is just like knitting socks but you have more of the stitches. The shawl is done in 2 triangles that you then join. The first triangle I’m going to be following the written instructions but I will see how I go and maybe on the second triangle I might try and follow the chart. I’m actually enjoying knitting this even if I was a little tense at first. Instead of thinking of it as scary lace but just knitting stitches I know I can do it.

Cassiy

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Miramar Cowl

In February Wool Gathering Australia held their 2019 KangaKiwi KAL. It is annual knit along or crochet along where knitters/crocheters from Australia and New Zealand create an item with local yarns and patterns. The only rule is that both the yarn and the pattern must be from either Australia or New Zealand. I decided to join in this year for the first time.

Months ago when I purchased my Sock Ruler from Kathy’s Fibres I also added to my cart a skein of yarn. Silly me has thrown out the yarn label before I wrote this but the yarn was a merino/bamboo/silk mix. The colours in this skein really caught my eye, there was lots of grey, teal and white in it. I wear a lot of teal and darker colours so this really jumped out at me.

The pattern I used was Miramar by Sezza Knits. In 2017 I won a prize pack when Wool Gathering Australia held their It’s New To Me knit along and I got to choose a pattern from Sezza and this was the pattern I chose. Miramar is a suburb in Wellington in New Zealand, I have a family connection to that suburb so that is why I chose that pattern and also I really like the look of the pattern. I like the repetitiveness of the pattern of the lace sections, it wasn’t a messy looking lace pattern it was in line and consistent.

I will be totally honest I never thought I might actually be able to do this pattern. It was a lace pattern, lace knitting scares me. It sounds complicated and fiddly, there is counting and you need to concentrate. As I think I have mentioned before I am not good at counting in knitting and crochet projects as I like to do a lot of mindless tv yarn work which means counting is hard to do. Once I got started in this pattern I found it really it easy to do. Admittedly some areas were a little off in the stitch count and to be honest most times I was too lazy to go back and fix them but for the most part my stitch count was correct. This actually flew off my needles and I finished it within 2 weeks.

I love the stripes that the yarn has created within this. This colours in this actually match a lot of the clothing in my wardrobe so I look forward to wearing it this winter. I cast it on with 4mm needles then switched to 3.5mm needles, I have a very tight cast on so I did the trick that you do in crochet if you chain tight by going up a needle/hook size to chain/cast on then switching to the smaller size on the first round.

Cassiy

Victoria Craft Crawl – Bendigo Woollen Mills

Lucky me got to have a summer holiday, something I rarely get to do. I decided I wanted to go to Melbourne which is the capital city of Victoria. The main reason for my visit down south was to ride a Melbourne tram. As a kid we never had trams in Sydney (we do have something now called the Light Rail which is like modern day trams) I thought whilst I was done south I thought I might do a bit of a craft crawl so armed with a large mostly empty suitcase off I went.

Once I had made up my mind to go down south I thought I wonder if I could make a day trip out to Bendigo, Bendigo is a regional city of Victoria and is the home of Bendigo Woollen Mills. If you have read my posts before I am always talking about yarn from there as I use it all the time and the link to their website is on my favourites page. I have always wanted to visit their factory shop as I’ve heard so much about it but not having a car I never thought I would actually get there. I did some research and discovered I could get a train from the centre of Melbourne to Bendigo, I actually booked my hotel accommodation so I would be really close to the train station that the Bendigo trains leave from. It was about 2 hour trip each way so I thought perfect knitting time.

Luck has it the week that I went trains were out due to rail upgrade so I had to catch a coach out to Bendigo and back. It was a 4 hour round trip without knitting as I had to sit next to someone but I did have music in my ears and the trip was worth it. I caught a taxi to and from the station and they only cost about $10 each way so the shop isn’t too far from the station but you couldn’t walk it (well you could but then you would have to carry all that yarn back)

Once I got into the carpark I really had to control my craft crazy, I couldn’t believe I was there. I was trying to hold it together but I was an excited little kid. The shop is broken in 2 parts. The front of the shop has all the current stock of yarn, clothing, patterns etc. It is there online shop in the flesh. Seeing a room full purely of their large balls of yarn (their yarn is a 200g ball) was so amazing, I had come to the yarn mecca. I walked around looking at all the colours, squishing yarn. I was the kid in a candy shop and the rainbow of colours did make it look like candy, yarn candy the best kind.

The second part of the shop is out the back and is kind of what people make the trip out for. It is a room full of factory seconds, discontinued lines, clearance yarn. Some stock they lots of, others they don’t. From the back section you could purchase enough yarn for a project if you were flexible enough with your colours/type but if you are wanting a particular yarn itself you may not find it in this section. They have everything separated into categories (wools, cottons, acrylic) in the different plys  but you may not find a lot of stock in the colour you want in it, I was looking for 4ply cotton but they didn’t have any in blue, they had only a few in earth tones. In some categories they had lots of a particular yarn so you never know what you will find. The back section was a lot of fun to look in, your brain was ticking of things you could do with the yarn you just found. You could really loose your mind in this section.

Before I went I had a project in mind so I was after a heap of blues in 4ply cotton, as mentioned I couldn’t find any in the back room so I got them from the main shop. I came away with 6 blues and silver colour. I have a shawl I will knit one day using these. I say one day as I have a long knitting “to make” list

I was a little bit lucky the week before I went to Melbourne I spent and few days up north at my best friends place again like I did last November. She gave me my Christmas present which was a gift card that I could use anywhere, straight away I knew it would be Bendigo shopping money. In the back room I found some variegated cotton yarn, I didn’t even know they did a variegated cotton yarn! I got 4 balls of it using the gift card. I don’t know what I will make but I know 4 balls will be ample amounts to do something, I’m thinking it will be some kind of wrap or shawl.

 

By chance next to the shop is small tram museum which has a café, you can do a free tour or pay to go on an actual old tram for a ride. I stopped in there afterwards for a cold drink and a look around. The lady on the counter was really nice and rang a taxi for me as I didn’t know where to wait for a taxi or even to tell them where I was. If you ever visit the woollen mills shop stop in at the museum for a drink and look around, it something you don’t actually find in Melbourne itself.

I had a fun day out to Bendigo. If I am in Melbourne again and have a free full day I’d make the trip out again to the Woollen Mills. The shop is lovely and the back room is fun. Don’t be intimidated to go by public transport just get off at the station and jump into a taxi which arrive at the station pretty frequently. Mention to the driver you want to go to the Woollen Mills and they will instantly know where to take you, as the taxi driver said to me “I know the place, it is famous around here”

Cassiy

 

Finished Ankle Socks

I have a finished pair of ankle socks!!!

After all the trials and tribulations I went through starting these last week I finished my socks. Once I got over sock 1 I easily breezed through sock 2 knitting it within a matter of days I think or over a short period of time anyway. Writing my notes after sock 1 really helped. For sock 2 the only time I needed to consult YouTube was doing the kitchener stitch at the end. For sock 1 I did it from written instructions and got a little bit lost but there was only 4 stitches on each needle so not many to do. Looking at this picture I can’t tell which is sock 1 or 2 but for the 2nd one I decided to sit and watch YouTube, more to just familiarise myself with it again in visual terms as I am a visual learner.

Before I took this photo I did actually give my socks a good “testing” wearing them on a 35 deg day walking to gym then walking around a shopping centre. Now normally in regular socks by the end of all that I would be racing to get home to tear the socks off my feet as I get heat trigged eczema on the tops of my feet and my feet would be red and itchy. I wore these without any problem, not an itch. The yarn I used is by Twilleys of Stamford called Gorgeous DK and yes just my luck it is now discontinued. I found this out earlier this year and purchased most of the remaining stock that my yarn shop had of it so I know I will get a few pairs made. It is a bamboo / nylon mix. They have survived their first wash well although I haven’t put them back on. I must admit they look bulky but in my sneakers they were really comfortable. The yarn is a sport weight so a 5ply and gave a little bit of padding under my feet.

I have started a 2nd pair over the last couple of days but today had to take them off my needles this morning to start again as on the instep decreases I decreased too much on one side and my stitch count was off (this will teach me for knitting socks after only 3hrs sleep) They had a couple of gaps in other sections where I didn’t pick up the stitch fully so I am not too worried about starting them again. They are a quick make so I know once I get started and actually watch what I am doing I will get another pair done in no time.

My sock knitting bug has bitten again!

Cassiy

Lucy Bag

Last week I finished a tote bag which according to Ravelry I started in December last year. The pattern is based on the bag Lucy (Attic 24) has on her blog. I say based as me being me did things slightly different in some areas. That is the great thing about making your own things you can improvise and make things as you wish.

The yarn I used was 2 Lincraft cakes. Lincraft, if you are not familiar with it is a chain craft store in Australia. When Caron cakes became really popular a few years ago Lincraft brought out there own generic version. The yarn is dyed to allow colour changes within your project without the need for you to physically cut yarn and change colours. Fibre content is an acrylic / wool mix. I was given a Lincraft gift voucher by a friend so I purchased 2 cakes of Clear Sky and they sat in my stash for ages before I finally decided to crochet this bag. I love the colours, it looks great.

The bag holds a lot. This size bag would make a great beach bag, project bag, shopping bag. It doesn’t look big when it is hanging but it is kind of like the TARDIS, much bigger on the inside. The pattern was really easy to follow and didn’t require a lot of thinking. I made my handles different to the pattern Lucy has. My handles are directly part of the bag and not joined on afterwards like Lucy has done. Also I haven’t done any flowers. The majority of the bag is done in UK trebles and from the part where I started making the handles upwards I have done in UK double crochet. Once the bag was the height I wanted I started doing a row of double crochet until I reached the area I wanted my handles to start then I chained a length of the stitches I wanted for the handles then joined them to the bag with a slip stitch. I then kept doing double crochet until I reached the other side of the bag and then repeated the set up for the other handle. Once I joined it to the bag I just double crocheted backwards and forward over the handle until it was the width I wanted. I then double crocheted back around until I got back the other handle and repeated the same steps. Once I was happy with the width I just kept doing row after row of double crochet going up and over the handles as if they were part of the regular row, The bit underneath the handles you never go over again. You can see it better in the picture below. I just kept doing row after row of double crochet until I rang out of yarn.

Ok confession as much as I love this bag I am probably never going to use it. I just don’t like the feel of the yarn, I am really sensitive to yarn and for me the wool in this is too scratchy. I am glad I used it in a bag pattern and not a poncho like I first considered. I could use it as a project bag but to be honest I already have enough large ones. This will most likely be used as one of my charity bags next year. I’m not upset by that, I have so many memories of this bag making it. I started it the day I attended a medical appointment with Mr StitchNSew. I worked on it Christmas day whilst spending time with my nieces. In January I did a 4 day work training course where I had to stay in a hotel and this was one of the projects I took with me to work on in my downtime. When Mr StitchNSew had a medical procedure done and I had to sit in a hospital for 8 hours I worked on this, his nurse actually gave me the idea of how to do the handles. As crocheters do she came up to see what I was working on and told me how she does her handles. There are a lot of memories in the making of this bag but I don’t need to actually have the bag itself to keep those memories. For me it wasn’t a waste of time making this bag – I tried out a new yarn, I made a pattern that I had been wanting to make for along time, working on this calmed me in stressful situations because I was doing something I was comfortable with and could focus on. If I can pass on this bag on to someone who needs it then it was worth every stitch.

Cassiy

Double Knitted Dishcloth – Square Play

The day after my double knitting class with Sockmatician I pulled out my needles and some cotton yarn from my stash and started to play. This is what I come up with.

I find it hard to just knit unless I am making an actual project. My mindset is that if I am spending time doing something I want it to be useful otherwise my mind thinks this is just a waste of time. Dishcloths are something that are very practical and are a good way to practice knitting or crochet skills or to test out a new pattern. If you have never used a handmade dishcloth I urge you to try them out they are magic.

To make this one I never followed a pattern as such. This is kind based on the swatch we made within the class with Sockmatician but with a twist. I have never written a knitting pattern but below is how I did it. I just made it up in my head. I did make 2 small errors in this one but fortunately they were both on the same side.

Cast on 25
Rows 1-5 – Double knit plain colour
Rows 6-10- Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 11-15 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5, switch colour for 5
Rows 16-20 – Double knit 5 plain, switch colour for 15, switch colour for last 5
Rows 20-25 – Double knit plain colour
Cast off

I used 10ply cotton so doubled up it is like 20ply and almost feels like a thin sponge. I didn’t weave in my ends on this one. To be honest I am lazy and if it is a dishcloth for home I mostly don’t weave in my ends I just knot them a few times. This was really fun to make and I easily finished it within a couple of days of knitting it only after work. I am still struggling with moving my yarns from the front to the back each time. I need to work on carrying yarn in both hands so that I can then increase my speed when double knitting. Think I may need to make a few more dishcloths to practice.

Cassiy

Favourites Page – Yarn Suppliers

I have decided to create a special page at the top of my blog to put links in for all the shops, suppliers, books and pattern companies that I talk about all the time but always forget to put a link too (bad blogger I am)

I have a few links on the page already but this week I thought talk about the yarn shops I mentioned.

Skein Sisters
They are located in the Sydney suburb of Dulwich Hill. If you can’t get to the store (and I strongly recommend that you do if you are ever in Sydney) They have a great website and the postage is pretty cheap.

Skein Sisters have a lot of international brands as well as local indi designers. They are a good place in Australia to get yarns such as Sweet Geogria, Hedgehog Fibres, Legacy Fiber Artz brands that are from the US and can be expensive to order. Also sometimes you don’t know what a yarn feels like so if you go to Skein Sisters you can squish the yarn and get to feel if it is right for you. Skein Sisters also great thing they do in which each month called “Sisters Spotlight” where they focus on a particular indi designer usually from Australia or New Zealand and showcase their yarn for the month. It is a great way to discover new designers, the yarn is available both instore and online for the month.

In addition to all the lovely yarn they sell they also run classes. I learnt how to knit socks thanks to Skein Sisters. The classes are small with only about 10-12 people and are in a nice little cozy room. I have done a couple of classes now there and am actually going to another class next weekend. They are fun classes to go to and it doesn’t matter that you don’t know anyone there. You can sign up to their newsletter to find out specials and events that they are having.

Bendigo Woollen Mills
I have only ever purchased from them online or over the phone but they do have a shop located in Bendigo which I hear is fantastic.

The best thing about BWM is that their yarn balls are 200g and the prices are great. I would call their yarn more traditional but there is nothing wrong with traditional. If you are wanting to make something in plain colours in either cotton or wool this is the place to go to. When I need to crochet up a blanket for a baby I order from them because they have a 100% wool yarn that is machine washable.

All their yarn is very soft. I have many many balls in my stash and have made a lot of items from it. Their cotton is great for dishcloths but I have also used it in a shawl. My recent Magician’s Cape was yarn from BWM. They do have woollen blends so it isn’t just one fibre. The best thing about BWM is that you can request a shade card from them with a sample of all the different colour yarns. Once you are on their mailing list you get a shade card each time they have new yarns or specials.

The Wool Inn
This is a little yarn shop located in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith. It is a small cozy yarn shop packed with amazing yarn and accessories. The staff are super friendly and helpful.

I have purchased a lot of yarn and knitting / crochet accessories from them. Thanks to this little shop I now have all the sizes of the Clover Amour hooks I like as well as my interchangeable needle set. Yarn wise they have a lot of local brands as well as international brands such as Noro and Madelinetosh and lots others. You walk into the shop and it like a candy cave as you don’t know what to squish first with all the glorious wool. I consider them my local yarn shop as it only takes me about 30mins on the train to get there (it gives me knitting time) They also hold classes and special guest events so it is worth checking out their website to see what is on.

The Wool Warehouse and Love Knitting
These are 2 online shops based in the UK that I buy yarn from, I always get the 2 mixed up and forget which one I brought stuff from. I buy all my Stylecraft yarn from them.

The Wool Warehouse has a lot of kits put together by designers such as Attic 24.  Sometimes it is nice to buy a kit with all the colours already put together for you buy the person who designed the pattern. The kits are fairly cheap even with the conversion rate, postage is reasonable and super fast, I have received yarn quicker from the UK than I have from within Australia. Both websites often have specials so it good to sign up to their newsletters or follow them on Instagram to get discount codes. I know there are places in Australia I can buy Stylecraft yarn but these 2 websites have all the colours and different ply’s so it just a little bit easier to buy them from there.

So these are my favourite yarn related places. If I discover anymore I will add them to the links page.

Cassiy