Craft Room update

I saw my chance to rearrange some things up in our house this week whilst Damian was away for work. I didn’t have a lot of time, so there was really no time to lose. Tuesday night after work, I began by migrating D’s books into my old yarn shelf which now resides in the hallway. I dusted and wiped things clean, sorting his books in a logical order into his new bookcase; my part-time job as a teenager was a library shelver 2 nights a week at my local library. It was/is so satisfying to shelve books in order. The migration took hours and hours and then on Wednesday night after work, the work on the craft room continued, I was exhausted, but determined to achieve my goal of finally having my own room for craft.

We had grand plans for new shelving, new flooring etc… but at the end of the day I was just desperate to have my craft room space.

I was planning to purchase baskets to fit these new shelves, but after unloading ‘most’ of my yarn into the shelves this weekend, I realised that I liked seeing all of my yarn, baskets would obscure the view, as well as take up valuable shelf space. The plastic is not pretty, but I don’t want to leave my stash unprotected from dust or critters (not that we’ve ever had a moth problem (touch wood). The feeling of seeing all my yarn in one place is a mixture in equal parts of JOY and then OVERWHELM!

The room is still a work in progress. My tetris skills have been sharpened. There’s going to be a few difficult decisions still to be made, and that’s going to take some time. There’s still my craft and knitting books and magazines to be resolved. I want to keep everything, but I know that I’m going to have to make some choices.

When Damian arrived home, I didn’t get into trouble! And he was quite complimentary on how I rearranged things. To be fair, I’ve had a lot of time to think and dream about this craft room, I’m just relieved to finally have this space.

A different April

April is normally quite a joyous month for me, because it is my birthday month! But this year Damian and I both got Covid before Easter. It’s taken us 3 years before catching it this first time (and hopefully our last) so we’ve done pretty well to dodge it so far. Our plans for Easter needed to change, including my very kind brother who collected these final Burch & Purchese cakes and delivered them safely around Melbourne to family members. It took Covid for us to realise how bad an idea it is for us to live so far apart…

Bunny Behinds by Burch & Purchese

I am hopeful Burch & Purchese will come back because it is/was my go-to place for special cakes. In fact, they are doing a pop-up for the King’s Coronation, if you’re the patriotic sort like Darren.

Whilst I was unwell, not a lot of knitting was going on… I felt like playing/planning with my stash, but after sorting out 3 or 4 pairs of scrappy socks I was exhausted! And, after doing an hour of knitting on the couch, I napped for an hour!

But I have cast-on some new things now, whilst my Stephen West MKAL shawl is still going on…

I’ve cast-on my Richmond Knitters ‘Bendigo’ project, which is going to be cowl. The motif (imagined by Brent) was created using Carla Meijsen’s Magic Motifs. I’ve also cast-on some socks from the yarn Danni dyed specially for the Richmond Knitters last Christmas. I’m still working on my Mystery Shawl, but it just seems to be taking forever, hopefully I’ll have a finished object photo for you next time. Can I say now, I don’t think I’ll participate in the Westknits MKAL this year, it’s just too slow knitting and not a lot of instant gratification. Can someone please remind me come October.

Last weekend was very busy, catching up with ALL the things, belated Easter and birthday celebrations (Lux cakes, did a great job in filling in the B&P gap), visiting my sisters new house, my Spinning certificate presentation and going to a Footy match!

During our illness, I didn’t leave the house for 10 days, just because… and it didn’t seem all that strange. We are homebodies, and especially since the lockdowns we’ve had in Melbourne, I think we are changed forever.

A lonely knit-along

I’ve been finishing up some old WIPs from last year, now that all of my Spinning ‘work’ is done. I haven’t cast-on anything new, even though I really want to…

A couple of weeks back I completed the Tulip socks for mum.

I love the yarn (Fibreworks from deep-stash) and the pattern (by Cookie A). I’m looking forward to giving these to my mum for Mother’s Day along with another pair I finished in February; but it’s cold enough now, so perhaps I should just surprise her with an Easter gift?

I’m now focussing on my Stephen West shawl from his MKAL of last year, Twists & Turns. I still want the thing, but it’s kind of sad to feel like I’m knitting on my own without the pressure of a deadline! Having a deadline is so motivating, well it is to me anyway.

I’m still just on Clue 2 (of 4). I abandoned this project at the beginning of Clue 2 whilst the actual knit-along was still going on to concentrate to my spinning work. I really appreciate all the work Stephen puts into the step-by-step videos on his YouTube channel for his mystery knit-alongs; and it kind of makes it feel like I’m still part of the knit-along, if that makes sense.

I think I might cast-on something new once this shawl is finished. I deserve it! I’ve got a couple of other WIPs: a patchwork quilt and a crochet blanket, but as they’re different disciplines I think a new knitting project or 2 are in order.

I’m free!

Yesterday was hand-in-my-folio-day for my Spinning certificate at the Handweavers and Spinners Guild of Victoria.

Officially the course began back in November of 2021, by then our start was already delayed by a few months due to Melbourne lock-downs. At the time, the course was a good distraction from what was happening around us; but also, I’d heard about this course for a little while now, and I decided to jump in and commit. Did anyone else get ‘why not?’ vibes from the pandemic.

Here it is in all it’s glory! There’s a few more samples in there since I showed you last. These photos were taken yesterday morning. I officially stopped adding to my folio on Thursday evening. There was a couple of things I still could have spun, but I didn’t want to rush or burn the midnight oil, when I’ve already met the requirements of my folio… and theoretically, I didn’t have time to spin the singles, ply them, wash them, then dry them in time to put them in the folio.

So this weekend, I’m taking it slowly. It’s super nice that it is the long-weekend, giving me time to tidy away the spinning paraphernalia that has taken up my living room space for the past 16 months. I’m doing some knitting, and dreaming of casting on a new project or 2 (even though I have some works in progress). And I’m thinking about what’s next?

Nearly there

I officially completed all of the necessary work for my spinning certificate last weekend. It is truly hard to believe. So instead of celebrating with a new cast-on or just plain old knitting, I’m looking for more things to add to my folio. There’s still 2 weeks before I am able to hand it in, and I’m in that weird space. I can stop right now… or I can spin more samples of fibres that I didn’t need to do as part of my folio requirements.

This week, I’ve spun boucle, a new sample of spiral yarn, I’ve spun Himalayan nettles, ramie, hemp and yak! That’s a lot for a week (for me), but D has been away for work, so there’s been few distractions. And I still have 2 weeks to go… in the spinning stash of fibres acquired during the course, there’s still about 6-8 different samples of fleeces, milk protein fibre, mint fibre, several different kinds of silk, that I can still add… so I think I’m going to keep going, because if I don’t spin it now, when will I?

I really am looking forward to handing it all in, because then it really will be over. I will obviously be sad about it. The course has consumed me, it’s been wonderful and joyous to be doing this fun thing with these great women once a month for the past 16 + months. I’m going to miss it.

Hemp getting ready to spin. This is what my living room floor has looked like for the past 16 months

In all of this, I’ve been plugging away at my mum’s socks, I need to take something to knit night! Now that this pair is done, I’ve got one more pair on the needles, I’m planning to give her both pairs for Mother’s Day.

See you on the flip side

The tree has come down

I’m in the final hours of my ‘holiday’ break from work. Whilst it hasn’t felt like a real holiday, due to my Spinning folio commitments, I do feel as though I’ve achieved a lot. It’s been intense! I reflected on this, this past week, and I can’t remember working this hard for my final year folio for my design degree! No kidding. As I’ve knit up my samples and put together my folio pages, I can see just how much I’ve learnt, wow. And also, I’ll never spin Flax again, haha.

I am pleased (and relieved) to say, my Spinning folio work is now complete, (aside from labelling my folders (4 large binders) and (3) skein boxes with some fanciness). I have just one more task to complete before I can be properly finished, and that is to do my Major Project. I have a little over 2 months left to do that, and I think I can do it. My crafting freedom cannot commence until this is done. Sweet, sweet FREE CRAFTING time, I can’t wait.

For my project, I’ve decided to spin and knit for a pair of socks. One of my teachers gave me the heads-up on obtaining some Shropshire. Try saying that 3 times fast, it’s really fun! Shropshire is a Downs Sheep, and the fibre is well recognised as a good choice for socks, due to it’s bounciness and resilience to felting.

The pattern I’ve chosen to knit is Ottoline by Rachel Coopey

I was able to get some light grey Shropshire, as well as some darker Shropshire. I’m going to spin it as a 3 ply crepe yarn, to give it extra strength. I plan to do some Natural Dyeing to get another colour in for these colourwork socks, and I think I might overdye the darker Shropshire, so it will be a more intense contrast.

But first, I’ve got a lot of spinning to do.


I really truly need to blog more often, December was busy!

Damian and I were in Brisbane again in late November, to early December. We ate delicious food, went for walks and worked, it was kind of a working holiday for me. It’s a shame the weather was not it’s typical Brisbane weather whilst I was there, when I touched down in Melbourne it was 37 degrees, gah…

When I got home, I had 4 days of advents to open!

This years Advent calendars were from My Creative Garage and also Little Woollie Makes, in 8 ply. I was very pleased with my choices, I’m also happy to not have started any advent projects immediately, (not that I have the time!) because I always seem to arrange them in a different order than is intended.

The following weekend, The Richmond Knitters had their annual Christmas (festivus) Dinner party. It was a very joyous occasion, and I would say it was our best yet.

Danni from Halfbaked Hand-dyed (and Damian) had one more surprise up their sleeve. As revealed on Christmas morning…

Damian asked Danni if she could choose 2 surprise skeins for me (as a surprise gift from Damian). It was probably a really tough ask… because I already have all of my favourite colour ways by Danni, and it’s quite a bit… I opened my gift and I couldn’t believe my eyes… 2 gobstopper balls of unreleased colour ways! And they are totally me. I really don’t know how to thank Danni enough.

Our family Christmases were spread over Christmas eve and Christmas day this year.

They were wonderful occasions and it was lovely to spread out the celebrations and eating over 2 days for once!

Wondering how my Spinning Folio is going? I’m on leave for a couple of weeks, and I’m making the most of it. I hope for some hotter days next week, so I can wash some fleece for my major project.

Christmas is coming

We put up the tree yesterday and I’m so glad we did. It’s one thing off the list before the silly season really begins. This year we did a combination of hand-made ornaments and colourful baubles. Normally I like to add a new hand-made ornament or two to the tree, but with the year that it’s been, there just hasn’t been time.

My Christmas ‘yarny’ preparations began months ago of course. The wrapped yarn on the left has been this way since July! It was the very last yarn Louley yarn offered before they suddenly announced they were winding up their dyeing business. I love surprises, so this package won’t be unwrapped until the 1st of December.

The 2 balls on the right were purchased during the Big Wool Show. Danni’s yarn is too irresistible to pass up, and it is the first yarn I purchased since the Bendigo Show (so yay for me!).

For this Christmas, I also ordered 2 yarn advent calendars from Little Woollie and My Creative Garage (I had 4 calendars last year, and that was a lot!). I opted for the 8ply versions this time, so I can make different scrappy projects with them. I’ll share more on those next time.

I’m finally getting down to putting my Spinning folio together. For each of the fibre samples we’ve spun, we need to put together a page with notes and samples. I think there’s approximately 50 samples altogether. There’s also the skeins we need to present separately which are 20-40 grams each, I was hoping to have these pages done before Christmas, so then I would ‘only’ have my major project to work on, but this seems like a pipe dream now. It’s good to have goals!