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Ruby Luxury Swap

I don’t do a lot of swaps, but last year I signed up for the Indigo Luxury Swap on the Australian Swappers Board on Ravelry, and that was so much fun that this year I signed up for the Ruby Luxury Swap.

After six weeks or so of planning, ‘stalking’ my swap partner, ordering yarn and making some things, on Wednesday I packaged up the parcel and sent it north. No sneak peeks, I’m afraid, as I didn’t get time to photograph things before I wrapped them. Although I did order two skeins of the luscious yarn, one for her and one for me, so I may get a photo of my skein at some stage. I don’t think my swap partner will receive her parcel today, since it’s going from one regional area to another, and is likely to take some days, despite being ‘express’.

Yesterday, I worked at home, and DH phoned me around 6pm to tell me he’d picked up two parcels for me from the Post Office – one some Bendigo yarn I’d ordered, and the other ‘might be your swap thingy’ he said. So, then I had to wait, bursting with curiosity until he came home about 7.30pm.

When he finally got home, and I opened my parcel, what a wonderful lot of ruby loveliness my swap partner, Heather, sent:

Ruby Luxury Swap parcel

Let’s have a close-up of that yarn:

Sea Sock detail

Yes, that’s a skein of Handmaiden Sea Sock – 51% silk, 29% merino, and 20% Seacell. Soft, scrumptious, with a lovely sheen to it – it’s gorgeous!

In addition to the lovely yarn, Heather knitted a pair of lacy fingerless mitts, and a matching cowl, from Lush Yarn hand-dyed merino. They’re pretty and cosy – and perfect for walking dogs on our chilly mornings! (A frosty -6 this morning!)

In a nice little coincidence, or bit of serendipity, the lace pattern that Heather used for the mitts is very similar to the one I used for my niece’s lacy fingerless mitts – of which, for various reasons, I have knitted her 2.5 pairs. (No, she didn’t lose them. The first pair I stuffed up and one was shorter than the other. I promised her another pair, knitted one on bamboo needles, and discovered my tension was different when I switched to metal dpns. I finally made her the replacement pair for Christmas last year.) Anyway, through that knitting saga, I’ve always wanted a pair myself, but that hasn’t hit the top of the priority list yet – and now I have a pair!

And the extra lovely thing – doesn’t wearing something that someone has gift-knitted for you feel just wonderful? Extra-cosy, extra-special. I have a few things that others have made for me – some angora/merino super-toasty fingerless mitts my Mum made me many years ago; a pair of socks made by my wonderful knitting-author friend Rachael Herron, and now this luscious, lacy ruby-red cosy cowl and mitt set. I’m a lucky, lucky woman! Thank you, Heather!

Monkeys in the pool

Before I went into hospital, I called into the new yarn shop The Granny Square, a very convenient couple of blocks from the hospital. I decided I deserved a little bit of spoiling, so I bought two balls of Morris Empire yarn for socks – picking a variegated yarn, just for a change.

I didn’t get to cast on the socks until after the surgery. I decided to knit the No-Purl version of Cookie A’s Monkey Socks from Knitty.com, which I have knitted before. Last time, I started them on 3mm needles, as Cookie’s legs are clearly much skinnier than mine. However, I didn’t have 3mm needles with me in Sydney, so I started with 2.75mm, hoping they’d be okay. I got almost as far as the ankle, and tried them on… nope, I definitely need the bigger needle size. So, yesterday I cast on with the second ball of yarn using 3mm needles.

It’s been interesting watching how the variegation in the yarn knits up and pools with the different gauges. Here’s the two socks:

The tighter gauge (2.75mm needles) is on the left, the slightly looser on the right.The pale green shows up more in the first, the blues more in the second. The two balls are from the same dyelot, so it’s probably just the knitting tension creating the differences.

However, I’m quite happy with way the yarn is in the looser tension, so I’ll frog the first one and reknit it after I finish the other sock. I’m up to knitting the heel on it, and I’ll drop down a needle size for the foot. My feet are reasonably slim – it’s my calves that are no longer as graceful as they used to be!

A sock, a book, and some yarn

Knitting progress is still slow, but some has been made. I finished the first Conwy sock for me a couple of days ago – and I love it! The yarn, The Knittery’s Chubby Merino sock yarn is gorgeous, nice and smooshy, and the sock feels great on. I’ve knitted Conwy twice before, and love the pattern, but both pairs were given away, so these socks will be mine, mine, mine!

I’m also slowly making progress on a shawl-collar jacket I’ve been knitting for a few months. The back is done, and I’ve almost finished the fronts. Then it will just be the sleeves, and sewing it up…. of course, I’ve still got a jumper in pieces that I haven’t sewn up, by there hasn’t been much impetus to do it during summer. Now we’re in autumn, and the weather is starting to cool, I’ll take it out of hibernation and finish it sometime soon!

My major finished object lately is nothing to do with yarn – but I finished the revisions on my second novel, and sent them into my publisher this week. It won’t be published until September, but we have the cover design almost finalised – and it’s beautiful! Since I haven’t had much knitting/weaving to show off lately because I’ve been working so hard on writing, here’s a sneak look at the book:

And my reward to myself  for finishing the book – some yarn 🙂  The Knittery, suppliers of yarns that I love, is sadly shutting up shop, so I’ve ordered some undyed yarns from the stock clearance- some more of the Merino Chubby sock yarn, and some skeins of the Merino/Cashmere sock yarn. Hopefully they’ll arrive at my PO box by Friday, when I’m next in town.

And now that the book is done, I’m going to spend tomorrow at my long-neglected loom!

Inkle cottons

I was in Canberra for a few days over Christmas, and visited Lincraft on Boxing Day, where they were having a 30% off sale. I mentioned in a previous post that it’s hard getting a good range of colours in 4ply cottons for inkle weaving – well, Lincraft had a good range! I chose the less expensive yarn, and, with 30% off, was able to splurge a little on 12 different shades:

Other than that, I was restrained at the Lincraft sale – the only other purchase was a ball of plain dark brown Sullivan’s sock yarn.

However, since my wrist is still quite painful, I am doing very little knitting at the moment. Having it x-rayed tomorrow, so I hope to find out what’s wrong – and what the treatment is!

FO – Retro Rib Socks

Pattern: Retro Rib by Evelyn A Clark, from Favorite Socks: 25 Timeless Designs from Interweave. Yarn: The Knittery 4ply merino/cashmere; shade – waterlilies.

I love this yarn; it’s so warm and cosy. Although it’s officially spring today, we’ll still have plenty of cool days to wear these.

And speaking of yarn, this was the other lot of yarn I bought in San Francisco:

It’s from ArtFibers, and is 87% bamboo, and 13% silk. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to be yet, but I think I might weave it, maybe in a point twill or similar, with a plain contrast silk.

Travelling yarns

I’m finally back home, after spending most of the past month travelling. I did have a week at home in between the San Francisco-Gold Coast-Sydney trip and the Melbourne-Canberra trip, but I didn’t get around to posting much.

So, I’m catching up here and posting pics of some of the stash enhancement acquired in San Francisco;


Seasilk from Handmaiden yarns – a beautiful gift from my friend Theresa.

I bought a couple of cones of gorgeous bamboo and silk yarn at ArtFibers, but I haven’t photographed them yet, as I posted them home form the US and they arrived just before I left for Melbourne. I think I’ll be using them for weaving.

Stash enhancement in Sydney was not as exciting – just two balls of Sullivans sock yarn which was on special at Lincraft:

In Melbourne I managed to restrain myself from buying yarn at Cleggs, although I did go in and drool a little. On the Melbourne-Canberra trip I managed to do some knitting, mostly on the two days in Canberra. So, I’ve finished two Tudora neck warmers:

Pattern: Tudora, by Cheryl Marling, from Knitty.com, Winter 2007. Yarn: 12ply pure wool, bougt from Wangaratta Woollen Mills at least 25 years ago! Button: Bought from WOW Wool shop in Armidale last week.


Pattern: Tudora, by Cheryl Marling, from Knitty.com, Winter 2007. Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran. Button: from my button stash – probably bought more than 20 years ago.

Back home – and knitting!

Sorry for the long absence from the blog. I was in Sydney for a couple of weeks, doing the surgery thing, and although the brain side of things went well, there were other complications, necessitating longer in hospital than anticipated. However, I’m on the mend and doing very well now, and home and getting back into the swing of things.

I didn’t get a heap of knitting done while in Sydney, although I did have a visit to Tapestry Craft. I was quite restrained though, and only bought a couple of balls of 4ply:

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They’re destined to be lacy fingerless mitts. (The red is a little darker and richer than the photo appears.)

Last night, I finished this gorgeous pair of socks:

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The pattern is a slight adaptation of Socks for Veronik, from Interweave Knits (Holiday 2007). The yarn is Dream in Color Gaia – from the box of yarns that my wonderful friends sent me.

I love the colours (especially the little flashes of electric blue), the yarn, and how it all works with the lace, and can’t wait to wear them 🙂

Medicinal knitting – and shopping

I’ve been making good progress on the Berocca sock, but got to the point the other night where I needed to add in dark blue contrast yarn for the heel. Night not being the best time to start knitting with dark yarn (especially with one slightly blurry eye!), I picked up another set of needles and started knitting the Dream in Color Gaia yarn into a pair of lacy Veronik socks. So, even though I finished two pairs of socks just recently, I now have two more on the go!

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I’m really enjoying knitting both projects. I’m very happy with how the Berocca ‘fair-isle’ is coming out, I love the subtle shades in the Dream in Colour – it’s working very well in the lacy pattern.

You’d think, that with the recent generous gift from my friends, and my own purchases, I’d have enough yarn. And I do. I’m still enjoying fondling and dreaming what I’m going to do with it all. But at the weekend, I made the mistake of clicking on the Yarnomat website. And I managed to convince myself that with surgery to come, and time in hospitals and hotels, that a couple of skeins of Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn counted as medicine. Or therapy. Or both. Before I could argue a dissenting case, two skeins had leapt into my shopping cart, wrangled my credit card from my purse, and committed themselves to coming to my place.

(At least I currently have the excuse that I’m not right in the head, right??)

Anyways, DH brought them home from the PO box last night. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Cherry Tree Hill yarns in real life. They’re beautiful. Now I’ve got even more yarn to fondle. I may even get some of it knitted up, sometime in the next few months!

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Cherry Tree Hill Supersock Potluck – colourway Jewels

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Cherry Tree Hill Supersock merino – colourway Blueberry Hill

Progress and anticipation

The first of my friend Kerry’s mittens is finished, and work underway on mitt 2. Next time I make mittens or gloves, I really should knit the left one first, because it would be so much easier to photograph – holding the camera in my left hand while taking a photo of my right is a touch challenging!

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Kerry’s hand is a little longer than mine, so her fingers won’t be hidden!

Since Dad’s socks are finished, and Kerry’s mittens are almost finished, and my fisherman’s gansey will be finished soon, I’m now planning my next project/s. I desperately need respectable cardigans/jackets for winter; I feel the cold, but sometimes jumpers (pullovers) don’t work as well as cardigans for respectable dressing. Daniele at our LYS ordered in some Jo Sharp Silkroad Aran, and when i was in there yesterday I used the gift voucher I have and bought 10 balls of the quartz shade, and put another 10 balls aside to pick up later.

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Now I just have to decide what pattern to use – I still haven’t found the perfect one, although I’m seriously contemplating the Bianca’s Jacket, with adaptations – longer, and straight fronts. I’ll knit up a sample in the lace pattern and see what I think.