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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Emptying the Bobbins & Tarndie Polwarth

I spent a few hours today plying and emptying some of my bobbins, I love the feeling when I have empty bobbins. Then I finally finished the batch of Halfbred that I started such a long time ago, and plyed up the last bit of the Shetland that was left over:

Halfbred, 446grams, 1425 mtrs, hopefully a sweaters worth of yarn.

Shetland, 984 mtrs, 350 grams

My next spin (starting in about 5 minutes) is going to be this beautiful fibre that I received recently from Australia, it's Tarndie Polwarth. 100g white, 50g grey and 50g dark chocolate. I'm looking forward to spinning this and I like to spin Polwarth by putting a lot of twist into both the singles and the plying as it can poof up considerably when soaked/washed.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Making lampshades......

Yesterday I made a drum style lampshade with a fancy pom pom edging, it proved to be much easier than I thought it would be!

I will post a step by step guide on how to make these next week - I need to buy another set of rings.

I also finally finished spinning & plying some fibre that's been on the wheel since last year, terrible I know:
Gradient spun merino
heavy laceweight
'N' plyed
720 mtrs

It's a beautiful day, making me want to get out in the garden and start planting, but it's way too early for that. Spring is almost here, the daffodils and crocus' are in bloom:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Birthday Flowers and Special Yarn...

I have always loved receiving birthday flowers, they make me smile right down to my toes and brighten up my day:

Special yarn, that I will admit, - when unwrapped made me smile all over again:

2 skeins of Wollmeise pure in Xaverl and Mauseschwanzchen.

What a gorgeous gift combo!

Friday, August 14, 2015


Time goes by so quickly, it's quite a while since I posted here - my life has been very busy to say to the least. More home renovations, taking on more hours at the day job, family visiting from overseas, family emigrating from overseas, it's all been happening and it's been difficult to find any time to enjoy any crafting - only in the past couple of weeks have I had any 'me' time. So what did I do? I got the spinning wheel out of course.

I bought 100g of sock blend combed top, undyed, here's what I did with it:

I spun a very fine single then 'N' plyed it for a springy, soft and bouncy strong sock yarn.

After a visit to the dyepot:

350 mtrs of sock yarn, I enjoyed spinning it more than I thought I would. The fibre is 80% soft corriedale & 20% nylon.

Then I worked on spinning a small amount of merino that's for a challenge, I had 21g of it and spun it the same as the sock blend:

135 mtrs of lovely soft merino. Just got to decide what to make with it now, there's also a small skein of romney that I spun to go with it~

45g, 280 mtrs. 'N' plyed.

Now I'm working on finishing up some spinning that's been on the wheel for a very long time, I'm about halfway through spinning very fine singles as a gradient yarn. Once the singles are done they will be 'N' plyed to keep the colour changes nice and clean. photo's will follow of my progress.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Winter Warmers....Steamed Jam Roly-Poly, Spinning Shetland, and a Finished Sweater!

Anzac day weekend, we had 3 days of great weather for this time of year but yesterday was very cold and my word did it rain - all night and all day.

When it's cold and grey and it's a Sunday I had to make a nice traditional English pudding. Steamed Jam Roly-Poly, always loved it but I haven't made one for many many years. It's the pudding of my childhood.

It's simple and straight forward to make, however, you will need to get your hands on some suet which is easier said than done here in NZ. English grocers stock it, although it's the vegetarian version but I prefer that anyway.

Since you have the oven on to make one, you may as well make 2 as they freeze very well.

I prefer steaming but some recipes instruct it to be baked. Steaming gives you a nice soft, light sponge rather than the hard and crispy one that you would get from baking. I'm saying steamed but it's not cooked over a pan of boiling water, it's cooked in the oven wrapped in foil over a tray of hot water. For me the jam has always got to be homemade seedless raspberry, nothing else cuts the mustard!

Here's my recipe, makes 1 roll enough for 6-8 servings.

Steamed Jam Roly-Poly

250g self raising flour
50g butter, cold and cubed plus extra for greasing
50g suet
1 tablespoon of sugar
150ml milk plus possibly a little extra
150g jam

Put a roasting tin onto the bottom shelf of the oven and put another shelf directly above it. Fill the tin 2/3 full with boiling water from the kettle and preheat the oven to 180 deg/160 fan/ gas 4.

Tear off a large sheet of both aluminium foil and baking parchment. Lay the parchment on top of the foil and grease it thoroughly with butter.

Put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until it disappears, then stir in the suet and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

Add the milk and mix in with a knife, you want a very soft dough, you may have to add a little more milk depending on your flour.

Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and bring it together until smooth. Roll it out into a square about 25x25cm.

Spread the jam over the surface leaving a gap of about 2 cm all around the edges.

Roll it up nice and firmly but don't squeeze it or put too much pressure on as you will force the jam out! Pinch the the edges together to seal and carefully lift it onto the greased paper join side down.

Loosely bring up the paper and foil and scrunch it together to seal all along the edges. It will rise quite a bit during cooking so don't wrap it tightly. Place the foil parcel on the shelf directly above the tin of water and cook for 60-80 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let the pudding sit for 10 minutes before unwrapping it. Slice thickly and serve warm with custard. If you want to freeze it just let it go cold, wrap it in fresh baking paper and foil and freeze.

Now the sweater which is a birthday gift for my Brother. I used some Shetland that I spun about 4 or 5 years ago when I first started spinning. I had forgotten about that yarn and I had more than a sweaters worth, that's what happens when you start looking through your stash, you find things long forgotten about! The pattern is Riddari, it was a very enjoyable knit:

This will keep him warm during the Otago winter. I've already got requests from hubby and both my son's for one of these.

So, after knitting the Riddari sweater I felt inspired to spin my remaining Shetland combed top. This is a fingering/4 ply weight yarn and the colour is a light fawn. 2 skeins done already, I'm aiming for a sweaters worth and thinking of over-dyeing some for a colour work sweater:

Here's Pandora keeping her eye on things, she's wondering if she can steal some fibre without me noticing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hikoo CoBaSi...

I recently received some beautiful yarn that was something totally new to me, Hikoo CoBaSi. It's a blend of cotton, bamboo, silk and elastic. The yarn looks very tightly spun when it is in the skein. I had 2 skeins of chocolate brown and 1 of olive green:

So I just had to knit a pair of two-tone socks, I used exactly 1 skein of each colour. This is a very easy pattern. This pair are for my hubby and I made them slightly smaller than I normally would due to the elasticity of the yarn. Once knit up it has very good stitch definition and forms a nice smooth fabric.

I have one skein of the brown left and I'm tempted to order another skein of a different colour, maybe pink, and make a pair for myself, but I'm still on a yarn diet!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Knitting Up The Stash...

Way back in January I decided to go on a yarn & fibre diet, my stash has got way out of control and is slowly taking over my house. So ~ no yarn purchases for me unless:
1. It's for a swap (is being sent away)
2. I need to purchase something to finish off something made from my stash yarn & fibre.

So far so good. I have started knitting these, all from the stash:

1. Cockatoo Brae

I knit the body parts of this on my knitting machine then picked up stitches and hand knit the ribs. I haven't seamed a sweater for years and quite enjoyed doing it the old fashioned way.
I'm still not 100% sure about the colours I chose for the patterned yoke, they are all oddments of Knit Picks Palette yarn. The main body yarn is a soft fingering weight Colourmart merino that I've had for years. Not far from the finish line with this knit.

2. Low Tide:

This yarn is merino/bamboo sock yarn I dyed in blues and greys a few years ago, it was always destined for another knit but I could never get the right gauge or a fabric I liked with it. Seems like this pattern and yarn were just meant to be together as I got gauge first try on the specified needles and love the knitted fabric!

3. A handmade gift for a swap I'm taking part in over on Ravelry. I can't say or show what it is just in case my swappee sees this but will post a photo after it has been received.

I also sorted out this yarn to knit a snowflake sweater for myself:

The grey is DK weight Gotland and the purple is sublime merino. Grey for the body and purple for the yoke. I'm looking forward to wearing these in the colder weather, and as today is officially the last day of Summer.......

I also finished off knitting my entry for the National Exhibition, it was a real labour of love. Here's a peek: