Monday, December 10, 2007

More Custom Spinning

Here are some yarn photos for Jan to peek at. This is "Tree Shadow" handspun merino yarn. Back to the spinning wheel tonight... while watching a repeat of the great TV art show "Star Portraits," with Rolf Harris. I have seen the series before, but loved it. Good spinning viewing!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

New Handspun Yarns Listed !!

New Handspun Yarns have just been listed on the webstore and etsy. "Dance of the Leaves" Bohemian Style Handspun Yarn,
"Plum Dance" Handspun Yarn
and "Purple Haze" Handspun Yarn.

Back into spinning with a vengeance!!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Custom Spinning

Wo-ho, is that the time? I seem to have totally missed October...

Here are some yarn photos for Steph to peek at. I'm finishing off some other custom spinning projects before I get some yarns and items together for the webstore. Very behind on things at the moment!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shearing Day and Socks...

Such a long time since I last blogged!
I have been knitting these socks in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Yarn in the purple iris colourway. They are a combination of components of socks in "Sensational Knitted Socks" by Charlene Schurch. I have been using the wonderful stitchkeepers which I got from The Loopy Ewe - thanks to Sheri for matching the colour of my stitchkeepers with the sock yarn!! Nice touch!!
Shearing day at Alleena Alpaca Stud was VERY busy and thoroughly enjoyable. I managed to go home with bags more fleece - I only brought home really lovely quality fleece to play with -bad alpaca fleece is pretty nasty stuff to mess with, in my opinion. The shorn alpacas look funny with their fluffy heads, especially the babies.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Loopy Ewe Order Arrived!

My extravangant order from The Loopy Ewe came - lovingly undone and rummaged through by Customs, with pamphlets from Australian Quarantine and all squished up again with sticky tape - THANKS CUSTOMS!!

I ordered some patterns (with bonus pressies and samples from Sheri at the Loopy Ewe, as she does with all customers!)...

Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Sage - I LOVE this colour...
Indian Summer Supersock Yarn by Cherry Tree Hill, Louet Gems in scrummy Cranberry...
Blue Faced Leicester Fingering Weight Yarn by Gypsy Knits in Lavendar Blue pictured with laceweight 100% silk Schaefer Yarn Andrea in Dian Fossey colourway...
WPI Tool from Nancy's Knit Knacks - I already have one of these but wanted a couple dotted around the house near my various wheels as I use them all the time. If you are a spinner, these are great and come with a handy little yarn classification chart (You could make you own, of course...)
And stitckeepers for my sock dpn needles - these are great little doovers - much more effective than the little rubbery thingies I have been using previously, and safer for little kiddies who like to delve into knitting bags, as they cover the points.

Great service from The Loopy Ewe, and I will be returning soon (Naughty!). Postage was only US$13.00 to Australia, which is very good compared to other stores!
Lots of intellecual and writing pursuits happening as well - attended a Jane Austen Society Conference (yes, there is such a thing - it was great!) and have a NSW Writer's Centre workshop coming up soon. It is good to stretch the brain muscles.
Tonight - my son's first performance as a drummer. Proud moment...

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Computer Has Died... I'll be back as soon as that nasty piece of technological incompetence is fixed. (Sigh...)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Handspun BFL - The New Love of My Life

Oh, how I loved spinning this BFL yarn! The long fibres just glided through my hands. It was effortless to spin, and is a soft delight to squish. This is my "Freedom Cry" colourway, spun 2 ply in sport weight. There is still some more left to ply, when my little one isn't so demanding due to this nasty flu THAT WON'T GO AWAY. I have had a little preschool-sized body attached to my legs for a fortnight!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Ooh! Aah!

I have succumbed. I placed a SOMEWHAT TOO LARGE order with Sheri at The Loopy Ewe for some patterns and scrumdidly yarn. Sheri has very politely been answering my 101 emailed questions, and has a nice range of yarns and other items. US$16 flat postage fee to Australia, and she offers some nice perks for returning customers. Certainly worth a lookie-see.

WILL YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THIS SILK YARN!!! I love it. Love silk. Love sheen. Love yarn. Looking forward to some yarn therapy in the near future.

Alpacas on the Farm...

About a year ago, just as we were selling our small farm, I won a lovely female alpaca in a raffle, of all things! No, not a frozen chook, or a meat tray, but a live alpaca!! Since then, that special alpaca had a female babe, and we have them on agistment. It was a nice way to ease out of the farm (although I still would like another farm in the future!), and was obviously meant to be, as I have been interested in alpacas since they started being imported into Australia when I was a teenager.

I've been working one day a week helping my friend Jeanne at Alleena Alpaca Stud on her stunning 40 acre property in the Hawkesbury area. When Jeanne isn't looking, I pretend that it is MY FARM!! It is great to still get a chance to stomp around in boots doing the various farm jobs that need doing, especially at this time of year when the days are sunny and cool. Jeanne is one of those friends who I've just "clicked" with, and I really enjoy spending time with her. She's very knowledgeable about alpacas, so if you are looking at putting a couple of animals on your property, or even to agist if you don't have enough land, I'm sure she can help you with some great advice. Alpacas chase away foxes, so that in itself is enough reason to love them if you have sheep, goats or chooks.

And shearing time is in the not too distant future... Yay! Whoo! I'm sure I'll be there rummaging around for fleeces like a maniac!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Alpacas - up to the eyeballs...

A lovely friend has just given me mountains of alpaca fleeces, some of which are short but extremely soft cria fleeces. I had to refuse bags of the stuff, but my garage is still packed to the ceiling. There will be LOTS of carding and spinning of those fleeces soon. At the moment I am still getting through the alpaca fleeces I am spinning for a customer. I'm surrounded by mountains of alpaca fibre!!

I had a quiet day spinning today - one ear always listening out for my son who is very sick with this nasty flu that is going around. Although it is horrible when the kids are sick, it is somewhat peaceful when they are sick enough to actually SLEEP. I felt like a mother from days of old... attending to the very basics of life.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New Dyed BFL Rovings... YUM!

I have listed some new fibres from the dyepot - this scrumdidly sooper-squishulated Blue-Faced Leicester, above in the "Freedom Cry" colourway, is gorgeous, with a nice long staple. Lurvely. There are some other colours listed too, and some merino. Also the odd yarn. Listed on the webstore and etsy.

I plan to list some new handspun yarns soon - I have some lovely fibres lined up after my dye session. Stay tuned...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dye Day!

I've been pottering around in my studio dyeing some yarn and fibres - it has been a while since I have been able to get away from the kids. Even though my studio is very well ventilated, I don't like the idea of them breathing in any of the nasty fumes.

I dyed some BFL roving, sportweight finn yarn and some merino superwash fingering weight yarn. Fun experiments!

I should be listing some dyed BFL roving soonish, and should be dyeing some more in the near future. Super soft and squishy - I love it!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Humbugs and Cardigan Action

More fibrey goodies (NAUGHTY!!!). Humbug BFL and silk roving (top left), humbug shetland (top centre), humbug BFL (top right) and humbug jacob roving (bottom of top photo). The jacob, in particular, is calling my name. I've been wanting to try the wool of this sheep breed since I was about 14 years old reading up on sheep books. (Weird adolescent?? or die-hard fibre-holic??) MUST GET SOME SPINNING ACTION HAPPENING SOON!!
Above is evidence of cardigan knitting action, a top priority due to the COLD weather and COLD house. More info soon.

Unfortunately can't make it to the Sheep & Wool Show at Bendigo, VIC. Poo. Bum. Wee. Regardless of footy etc commitments, I am going next year for sure, WHETHER I HAVE TO DRAG HUSBAND AND CHILDREN 1000 KM TO GET THERE, OR NOT!!!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quick Knitting

I realised Friday night that I had no beanie to wear while watching my kids play Aussie Rules footy on Saturday morning. The games were out at Richmond where the wind blows over mountains (and any snow that has fallen around Oberon and Orange) right into our faces at the footy field. A cold day was predicted by the weather bureau, and I remembered last time I was there on such a day it was bitterly cold. Therefore I stayed up very late Friday frantically knitting myself a beanie - the rest of the family already had one each.

In the morning, exhausted, and rugged up with layers to fend off the cold wind, I got out of the car and the kids put on their sleeveless footy jumpers and shorts (!) and ran off.

After setting up the chairs, rug, bags with everyone's warm clothes, snacks, water, etc etc, I settled in to watch the game. The winters day was warm as toast and sunny, with a slight refreshing breeze. I took my jacket off. The beanie stayed in my bag.

Hmmm. At least next time I will have a warm hat...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Fibre Experiments Ahead!

I have gone mad acquiring different wool samples to use when doing the guild spinning competence course (however, that may be just an excuse to buy the stuff...) I like the idea of working through a programme to make sure I try out lots of fibres and ideas. A nice challenge, perhaps not as much as the challenge of actually making the time to do it in between family commitments and house renovations! Anyhoo, the intention is there...

In the picture above there is oatmeal blue-faced leicester combed tops, white falkland combed tops, and grey gotland combed tops. Quite different fibres from each other. And I am LOVING the natural colours at the moment!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Some spinning...

I've done some more custom spinning of the alpaca fleeces for a customer. Rich black alpaca, spun about 8 ply, as well as one of my favourites, amethyst shade of merino and tussah silk, with sequins. I love the way the tussah silk creates ribbon-like waves through the yarn. There is some white alpaca yarn bursting off the bobbins, too, crying out for plying. Soon...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Blue Faced Leicester, Wensleydale and Alpaca

Above are some of the fibres I have been enjoying lately - the brown yarn is some handspun alpaca that I am spinning for a customer. The white roving on the left is blue faced leicester (mmm) and the white roving on the right is wensleydale, which I can't wait to see once it is dyed - such long fibres, too. More therapeutic fibres making their way here in the next week or so. I am fascinated by all the different fleece characteristics of different sheep breeds, and other natural fibres as well. Love it!!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Spin and Knit - along

I'm really enjoying checking out the fun progress of the spinners participating in the shawl spin/knit-along on this blog. If you haven't seen it, check it out! For beginner or experienced spinners, doesn't matter...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Knitting and Magazine News

Hi all.

Sahara is finished - photos soon. Yay! Got a wee bit tired/irritated/impatient with the project by the end, or was that just due to the torrential flooding storms that hit Sydney and forced the children inside for DAYS, and the sick little croupy child that has been glued under my arm for the past week, as well as the building renovations going on at our place? Hmmm, not sure. Anyhoo, Sahara is DONE... and straight on to SOCKS (again!!) This is Lorna's Laces Shepherd's Sock yarn in Purple Iris colourway, and I am knitting the Conwy pattern from Nancy Bush's trusty book "Knitting on the Road" - full of super sock patterns. I tried the long-tail thumb cast on which was fun, although my daughter thought I was knitting very "weirdly". According to my Mum I always knit weirdly, as I taught myself to knit and crochet from books as a child, complete with odd yoga-like hand configurations to complete stitches! Nevertheless, the finished product seems to work out OK.

I have recently felt somewhat burnt out so splurged on some sock yarns and patterns that OTHER PEOPLE MADE. Feels very decadent, but therapeutic.

Speaking of burnt out, there will be no June issue of "Spins & Needles" magazine, and probably just newsletters to those on our emailing list, rather than magazines, in the future. As this venture is a one-woman-show, my children have suffered through the enormous amount of time I have needed to spend on the magazine. As the magazine does not produce direct income, I have to reduce that in favour of other writing projects I have been working on. I will try and do some tutorials and articles from time to time, though, as I am keen to promote spinning, as always!

I’m sorry to disappoint our readers, and appreciate the enthusiasm and feedback about the magazines. I’ll still be listing goodies for sale on the website, of course.

Catch you soon,

Monday, May 28, 2007

Knitting, knitting, knitting...

I am totally addicted to knitting this jumper - "Sahara" from Stitch Diva. I'm knitting it in Bendigo Woollen Mills 8 ply machine washable pure wool Classic, colour shade "Spinifex". It will be a nice, not totally soft (! I don't mind a bit of itchy scratch - I WILL NOT wear acrylic as it makes me feel ill) garden variety jumper for me this winter. I am casting off the diamond rib pattern at the bottom and am ready to start the sleeves. The cold weather has hit here in the mornings, although the middle of the day is gorgeous, so I'm knitting like a maniac. My WIP is beautifully styled here with my youngest daughter's Bed Teddy and Bertie the Bus.

Have got to say, I am a total convert to this top down seamless garment knitting. Quite some time ago I bought Barbara Walker's book "Knitting from the Top", and have only just started ploughing through it. Fabulous!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Our New Little Girl!!

This is our new little petal born two days ago. Her neck has been shaved so that the vet could rehydrate her as her mum won't let her feed. We now have to hold the mum everytime the baby wants a drink of milk! Hopefully the mother will get the hang of it soon, at the moment it is kick-spit-kick-spit!! and the baby needs to be a little more pushy about feeding too! The mother is a bit sore from the whole ordeal.

Cute as a button, though. I was holding her today, she is so fluffy and was snuggling into me. I'm sure she loves me the best...

I asked for a white female cria - gotta say I am very happy with the results!! Hopefully everything will work out OK for both of them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Store Update and...a BABY ALPACA !!!

Life is still going by in a blur. But I have managed a store update and major etsy store update.
Our lovely female alpaca that we won after buying one ticket IN A RAFFLE last year (!) has just given birth to a little white female cria. The new mum, though, is a little bewildered and not letting the little one feed, so with a lot of work and crossed fingers, hopefully things will work out OK. I'm visiting them tomorrow (they are on agistment as we have sold our farm), so there may be some photos in the near future...
Still up to my eyeballs spinning alpaca when I can peel my preschooler off me...

Monday, May 07, 2007

More New Colourways!

I have just listed some new colourways of 4 ply handpainted superwash merino yarn on our webstore page. I haven't yet listed them on etsy, but may when the mood takes me! There are also some mis-dyed skeins, aka "Science Experiments 1-3" which are available heavily discounted.

There are also some more Bohemian-Style Handspun Yarn skeins to be listed when I next get a few moments.

Back to spinning the alpaca...

Friday, May 04, 2007

I'm up to my eyeballs in alpaca fibre which I am custom spinning. Lovely white, choc brown and black. There is a lot of grass in the brown fleece - the alpacas love to roll around, so the fleece can pick up all sorts of bits and pieces. Needless to say, shearing is usually done before the grass burrs arrive. And dust! Worse than usual, of course, due to the drought. Luckily, I don't usually react to the dust when carding or spinning.

This straight kind of spinning is nice when I need to turn off the brain and just spin, spin, spin. It is fluid, unlike when spinning some of my other yarns. Therapy!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Yarn and Yawns

Long time Life has been so incredibly hectic here that blogging took a back seat for a while. Still busy, not much sleeping happening, and just keeping head above water!

I had family staying here, then a friend with whom I've been co-writing a screenplay. We finally finished the script, after working 12-14 hour days to get it to the finishing line (then having to go into "Mum-mode" for the remaining hours of the day!!) Now to pitch it and cross fingers. What an amazing learning experience!!

Lots of orders and custom spinning happening, and I've been finishing off some more Bohemian-Style Handspun Yarns which were clogging up the bobbins. They're not listed in the store yet, but in the next few days or so. More handpainted yarns in merino and finn coming fairly soon. Also been working on EarthMother Designs, so will try and get some time to stock the new etsy store. I had such fun working out the logo. I'm trying not to stress about all of the things that need doing - taking a step back to enjoy the garden, watch the sky, and dream some dreams...

Monday, April 16, 2007

New Colourways for Handpainted Yarns

I have been busy filling custom orders for handpainted yarns, amongst other things. Here is a small sample of the dyeing I have been doing. New colourways have been added to the webstore page, with more to come in the next week or so. Most of the yarns I have dyed are sold already, so I'll list more on the store in the next week or so. I LOVE working with colour and coming up with new combinations.

I have also been lucky enough through a lovely customer to get my hands on a secondhand Ashford Elizabeth wheel for some finer spinning. Once I get off my learner driver status on this new wheel, I hope to do lots of longdraw woollen style spinning to get some practice in!

Also seem to have reignited my crochet obsession from many years ago...

Have fun spinning and knitting!