Thursday, 17 November 2016

Favourite things of 2016

Hello November
where did the year go? 

The other day, I sat and wrote down all the projects that were my favourites for 2016.  Socks, dyeing, flowers, little bejewelled blankets...too many to include here!  I think you all know that knitting socks is one of my favourite things to's theraputic for me and now that I've gotten my formatting down, I can do it without a pattern.  You could too if you tried.
(Free tips on knitting socks here...☺
This is Secret Garden yarn, gifted to me by the lovely Connie  who has just uploaded a whole new batch of delicious yarns!

(Find these beautiful yarns here...Chile Knitz yarns

I fell in love with this Regis Thelma colourway  - this is the basic sock pattern
Hermione socks  in Kaleidoscopeali Paintbox 7 yarn

 I wanted ankle socks and Rosecity Rollers  (Find them here...seemed perfect, 
quick to make and are so cute.    (I used a Madeline Tosh  - light pink - and  a multi coloured sock yarn from Spotlight for the toes and cuff.)

Nature featured in many of my projects this year whether it was in dyeing or prints.   I travelled extensively throughout Queensland this year teaching workshops. It's my passion and seeing the achievements of all those who attended is just one of the rewards of being able to share my knowledge and skills. At last count, there were more than 120 participants  who took part in my classes this year. A huge thank you to everyone for the support and creative fun we had.

Sock yarn dyed with avocado pits/skins and wattle
DYEING yarn and paper were part of some of the workshops.  Dyeing is easy to achieve for beginners but the process  always offers a uniqueness;  there is some ofthe unknown in how it turns out which makes it  exciting.

Are you like I am & want to knit every skein you dye just to see what colour pattern emerges? Alas, some fly out the door to other homes before there's a chance but there's always the thrill of seeing the variations once the skein is dried and caked up.  Gathering plants in season ensures I achieve the colours I want so keep that in mind. (Freeze the leaves and flowers for later use.)

You don't need to use plants to achieve dyes.  The yarn on the left has been dyed with food colouring and yes, it's permanent.  In the 3rd issue of  Wild About Yarn Magazine (still available here Wild About Yarn issue 3, PDF download only ) there is a yarn dyeing tutorial using food colouring showing how easy it is for anyone.  The magazine also has an interview with the very generous Heike Gittens of Madewithloops  and did you know Heike and Claudia  now have a new book available? (Find it here A Little Book of Shawls).  

 Dyeing with plants is a matter of science and sometimes serendipity even when you follow all the rules!  Water quality effects the ph balance too, so what might have been purple can turn out brown.  I teach yarn and fabric dyeing workshops so if you are interested in a workshop, contact me for details. ( 
Announcement: Later this year, my book  - The Magic of Microwave Dyeing - will be published! 


One of the most popular photos this year has been my knitted and crocheted flower arrangements. I created my own secret garden.
We have the best of both worlds today - the colours of our yarn choices are innumerable and the internet brings many designs and tutorials for us to try.   I love that more designers are creating wearable art and home decor that fits in well in contemporary times.  And I look forward to discovering more creative ways to display and arrange yarn projects.  Pinterest (Lu Douglas Pinterest crochet)
Pinterest is nothing short of magic.

Montages are compact moments of  personal history and every month, I prepare one. It reminds me of just what I've achieved and I don't mind telling you that I sometimes surprise myself.
(top right) current Scrappy socks   (bottom left) daisy granny squares for a blanket
                               (bottom right) basket made using foraged plants
Clockwise from top left:  I called this my Bijoux Blanket and have been working on it with my multi talented friend, Teresa Mercer, from Montana (find her crocheted items and jewellery here  Mercer Made)  This tiny block is a universal one but how delightful to create a join-as-you-go project when the larger ones get to be overwhelming. (You could join us too. See below for the method and hashtag it   #bijouxblanket on Instagram. Tag me please @wildaboutyarn)  
Thank you Alice (Instagram @alicebyday)  for the inspirational photo. 
The Bijoux Blanket is a great way to use up left overs for a runner or a small throw; make it into a bag and line it, or add more blocks to the design to create a shawl.  So many possibilities.

Magic ring. (UK TERMS) 
ch3, 2tr into ring, *ch3, 3tr into ring, repeat twice more from *, slst into the 3rd ch of the beg ch3.  Done. :-) 
For subsequent motifs, use join-as-you-go method at the ch3 section by doing ch1, slst into the corner of the first motif, ch1, continue with 3tr into the ring, Repeat this at the next corner and at corners where the motifs meet.   Work in rows. 

 Remember to put aside a little time each day for you...and enjoy November before the rush of Christmas begins.

Happy stitching,