My Preciousssss…..

Anyone who is a big Lord of the Rings fan will know exactly what I’m talking about when I say “My Precioussss”. This one liner is given by Gollum as he’s fondling his golden ring. I thought the title was kind of appropriate given that my husband and I just came back from a combined New Zealand/Australia trip, the movie having been made in New Zealand. I didn’t buy any yarn-goodness in Australia but I spent the wad so to speak in New Zealand. We didn’t have any spare room in the luggage so I had Skeinz ship my stuff home since I’d spent over $100 and qualified for free shipping. I got my parcel in the mail yesterday and like Gollum I’ve been picking up my stuff, stroking it and acting like it’s My Preciousss.
skeinz parcel

skeinz tag

I’ll put up a blog later about the trip but since there are over 2,000 pictures to sort through I’ll leave that for later. The first yarn store I found was New Zealand Fabrics & Yarn downtown in the Queen’s Arcade, Auckland. I had really wanted to visit Anna Gratton’s Little Wool Co. farm and mill but it was a six hour round trip from where we were staying in Lake Taupo so that idea was nixed. Mind you had I a fellow spinner with me we would have been out there in a flash but the husband wasn’t too receptive to the idea so it was a no-go. You can order her stuff online as well. I knew that the Fabrics & Yarn store carried Anna’s fibre so I bought some there instead. I also fell in love with some stuffed bears in the store so bought the pattern for those as well.

Little Wool Co Paua shell corridale fibre
Little Wool Co. corridale fibre, colourway Paua Shell.

fibre paua shell

winston and clementine bear pattern
Winston & Clementine.

For the most part I found the yarn really expensive in the downtown shops so I didn’t buy any since I knew that we were hitting the Port of Napier on the second day of our cruise and the Skeinz outlet is in Napier. Actually the trip to the outlet ended up taking all of our time in Napier as I was too cheap to pay for the $40 cab fare there and back. The outlet is located in the industrial part of the city. Napier isn’t that big but it was too far to walk or at least too far to walk in the time limit we had before the store closed for the day so we took a city bus there and back.

The reason I wanted to go to the outlet aside from the fact that it’s a yarn shop is that New Zealand is the only place you can get possum yarn and Skeinz has some pretty reasonable prices as well. Below is the rest of the stuff I got on the trip.

Skeinz Naked merino-possum yarn
Skeinz “Naked” Merino-Possum yarn – 200 grams hanks 8-ply yarn. I’m going to have to dye this but what colour I’m not sure.

merino-possum yarn unwound from skein
The skeins were pretty tight so I unwound them since they’ll probably sit in the closet until I get around to working with them. I bought six hanks, not sure of the yardage I’m sure it’s on their website.

Skeinz lime green merino-possum yarn
Skeinz merino-possum yarn lime green. This was left-overs from a custom order I’m pretty sure it’s the same stuff as the Naked merino-possum but it was fluffier. On the website they said the yarn would get fluffy as you knit with it and I’m sure the same could be said for washing it as well.

Skeinz purple multi merino-possum yarn
Skeinz merino-possum sock yarn in a multi-purple. This stuff was on sale on their website as well.

Skeinz Vintage New Zealand yarn rose
This was a free ball of yarn for spending over a certain amount in the store, I got the coupon from the Information center downtown and only clued in because I’d visited another traveler’s blog. It’s pure wool in a very nice rose and I’m going to use it for the girl bear’s sweater in the above pattern I bought. I’ll use some of the possum for the bear’s body.

Skeinz corridale fibre charcoal
Charcoal corridale fibre about 100 grams.

Skeinz corridale fibre oatmeal
Oatmeal corridale fibre just over 200 grams. It looks more oatmeal coloured in real life. I didn’t bother getting white since I have tons of white in Shetland.

That was it for the purchases of craft yarns. I don’t really need more yarn or fibre but I couldn’t resist getting the merino-possum as it just can’t be found here and of course the fibre was just sitting there saying “Buy Me”.


Shells and wool

I’ve been slack in the posting department but we went away on holiday for five weeks during January and February. We rented a couple of weeks on the beach at Sanibel island in Florida. Sanibel is known as one of the top shelling beaches in the world and I’d thought I’d share a picture of the booty I collected; needless to say I have dozens and dozens more shells aside from these.

sanibel shells assorted
Assorted Sanibel shells.

sanibel shells coquina
This is a collection of colourful Coquina shells, they remind me of tiny angel wings.

While I was on vacation I also worked on a table runner and a pair of socks. The table runner is waiting to be quilted and of course the pair of socks are still one sock unfinished. Instead of working on these projects when I got home I started to spin instead and this is what I’ve done so far.

wellington mills fibre green-blue-purple
Five skeins of yarn and two left to be spun of Wellington Fibre Mill’s “Mystery” fibre. These are boxes of fibre usually made up of some ratio of wool to mohair.

blue-green-purple mystery rovings wellington mills
This is how the roving originally looked like before it was spun into the above skeins.

I’m not sure what I’m going to make of the yarn I guess it depends on what the final yardage ends up being. I spun it about a double-knitting to worsted weight yarn. I haven’t washed the fibre yet as I’m waiting to do it all at once. It did occur to me that perhaps some of the dye would wash out of the yarn and I didn’t want to wash the skeins in different batches and then have the dyelots turn out different in each skein because I’d left one skein in longer to soak. The fibre should fluff up some so maybe it’ll be worsted weight when all is said and done.

Tomorrow sees me off with my husband on another five week trip this time to New Zealand and Australia so that should be fun…there is also this certain fibre mill there…enough said the visit to the mill may or may not happen.


Cleaning the Closet.

Well it’s that time of year when family come to visit and I am no exception to the tradition, my brother, sister-in-law and niece are coming to visit us so I’ve been trying to get the two guest rooms into some kind of shape so that they won’t go screaming and running from the house when they see their accommodations. Actually the rooms weren’t that bad with the exception of the closets. The problem is I don’t know whether or not they need to hang up any clothes in the closet so I figured it was time to tackle the walk-in closet of what used to be my son’s room.

I’ve been meaning to repurpose this closet into a pure craft storage closet but every time I’ve gone to do it I’ve opened the door, taken a look and then very slowly backed away from the door. Unfortunately I didn’t take a before picture because I’m that kind of blogger I only think of the blog fodder until half-way through the job. Needless to say I’m not exaggerating when I say that you could walk about one foot inside before you came to a standstill because there was that much junk on the floor piled into the space. The closet was a depository of all things that didn’t have a home. I thought that I’d blogged about cleaning this closet once before and I was going to put a link to the blog post but I’ve discovered that I actually didn’t clean the closet only the room Clean Room. I made some comment about tackling the closet when I was feeling better, apparently I had a head cold at the time. Well it seems it’s taken seven years to get over the head cold, it must have been a doozy.

Anyhow the job is done…sort of. I’m not quite sure what to do with a good part of the junk that is now residing on the floor, table and ironing board in my sewing room but I’m working on it. It won’t be seven years I need that room to sew in but I had to put the stuff somewhere while I was transferring it out of the walk-in. Here are a few pictures of the finished closet. It is an amalgamation of most of the contents of two smaller closets that were totally filled with craft supplies. The pictures are chopped up as it was hard to get a full shot. It looks messy but you can actually walk into the closet and best of all I can now see all my bins and boxes without having to take them out and shuffle through them all, which is what I did in the two smaller closets.

empty walk-in closet








The sewing room as a temporary housing unit.


Tinsel Hedgehog

I bought a ball of tinsel yarn – King Cole – at the Mary Maxim booth when I attended the Creativ’ Festival in October. I just finished this little guy this morning. I guess he’s smaller than a football and the pattern makes smaller ones than this. The pattern came with the yarn but I’ve just been to the Mary Maxim website and if you register you can access their free patterns and find this guy and they also have another pattern which uses the same tinsel yarn to make owls. I’m thinking fun fur might work the same as the tinsel but there is something about the tinsel that just strikes a cord with my girly side.

front view silver hedgehog

side view hedgehog

I saw a tree at the Creativ’ festival that was filled with varying sizes of these hedgehogs in the argent/silver tinsel and it was just stunning. Multi-coloured hedgehogs would look awesome as well.


The Owl and the bear…

Totally stoked as I used up some STASH yarn that’s been sitting in the closet for a few years. I originally found this yarn at Value Village and made a toddler’s sweater from an old Paton’s book and I blogged about it here: Toddler’s Sweater. Too funny as I just reread my own post and realized that I’d mentioned that I was stoked because I bought the yarn so cheaply. Here I am five years later with another sweater post using the same yarn and using the same word ‘stoked’ to describe my feelings. I don’t normally use the word that I’m aware of, I wonder if my brain linked back to the previous post and had a deja vu moment.

Anyhow here is a picture of the new sweater for the same granddaughter. The pattern is Owlet by designer Kate Davies and the yarn is Eaton’s brand Nina (now extinct). The sweater is a birthday present so Charlie can’t model it yet so Ted E. Bear is filling in once again as he is usually wont to do.

Charlie's owlet a

Ted E Bear in owlet sweater a


More Socks.

Not a big project but thought I’d post a picture anyhow of a pair of socks that I’d made for John. Socks are not a quick knit for me and seem to take forever.
Kroy basic sock in Casual colours

kroy fx Casual Colors side view

Basic socks Patons Kroy Fx Casual Colors
Patons Kroy FX ‘Casual Colors’


Still Working After All These Years

Okay this post is sheer motherly indulgence more for myself than for any record to put out there, something to look back at in a few years.

I was cleaning up the kitchen and decided to give my little ceramic dish a good scrub and then the little ceramic cookie a good cleaning as well. These were items that were given to me by my kids more than a few years back. I’m not sure what grade the kids were in when they made the little pottery items but it struck me that after all these years I’m still using the things and they serve their purpose well even if they do look more than a little worse for wear. I still look at them and treasure them and it’s been maybe 20 years? Sentimentality at it’s best I guess. It’s the same reason I don’t throw out those little treasures that still decorate the Christmas tree after all these years and those go back from kindergarten and my oldest is now 35 years old. Mothers, I’m sure we’re the same the world over.

blue pottery dish and cookie

blue pottery dish JDW

ceramic cookie that holds the tea strainers

pottery holding tea strainers and dish scrubbie

More Mystery Fibre

I seem to be in a spinning mood lately and so here is the latest offering. It is another Wellington Fibres Mill’s mystery box. Actually I bought two of these boxes so a total of 500 grams. After running a bit short in the first project I was determined it wasn’t going to happen again but hey who knows as I’m spinning this one thicker so maybe I won’t end up with as much as I want anyhow. I think the idea was to make a sweater but as one of the ladies pointed out in my crafting circle it takes more than 500 grams of bulky yarn to make an adult sweater, doh! This might turn out into a scarf and hat, we’ll see.

blue-green-purple mystery rovings wellington mills
This is what the roving looked like before spinning. I think it’d probably look different if the roving was split into colours and then plied but that’s not the way I did it. I just spun from the roving directly.

mystery fibre on bobbin
Plied yarn on the bobbin.

mystery fibre teal on niddy noddy
Plied yarn on the niddy noddy.

mystery fibre teal
Yarn in a skein (not washed) no flash.

wellington mill mystery fibre teal
Yarn in the same skein taken with a flash exposure.

Creating colourways in wool.

I’ve taken a break from sewing my quilt and have been having some fun creating hanks of yarn for a hat project. The pattern is Caller Herrin by Kate Davies and is a tam with a seashore/fish scale theme. I’ve always liked the pattern and yarn used for this hat but I’ve never ordered the yarn simply because making the hat would cost me around $80 and I refuse to pay that kind of money for a hat I might only wear occasionally.

I had downloaded some reading material from Interweave press and one of the e-books that I bought was Spinning In Color by Deb Menz. I had a go at creating a skein of yarn following her principles of layering colours in batts and then layering the batts together and then finally z-striping the batts to get the roving.

roving on floor purple yellow teal red honey lime rust medium blue

prism single strand

prism 2 ply

prism close up

Prism skeinPrism skein sunlight

Somehow looking at this skein of yarn I’d created made me flashback to the Virtual yarns used in knitting Caller Herrin and it suddenly occurred to me to try and create my own colour-ways for the hat trying to mimic the colours in the Virtual Yarns. I knew I wouldn’t match the colours but I thought it’d be fun to try so here are a bunch of pictures of the process. I’ve decided to save the yarn for vacation time in January and truth to tell now that I’ve made the yarn the fun has sort of gone out of the process and I’m in no hurry to knit the tam. It’s usually the way it is for me when it comes to colour experiments, it’s more fun making the materials than using them.

There are more than a few different skeins where I’ve tried for a better match so just a heads up at why I’ve got all these different colours that are similar. The wool fiber that I used was from my Ashford Mill Ends bag (previously blogged) and mostly Corriedale.

selkie closeup

solan goose

solon goose closeup

solan goose skeing two rotated

kittywake closeup

shearwater closeup

caller herrin multi-skein shot rotated

pepple beach another shot

pebble beach clone single

pebble beach closeup


summer tide single

summer tide closeup

caller herrin skeings



selkie clone 2 single 1

selkie 2 on niddy noddy

selkie clone 2 closeup

solon goose clone 3

caller herrin skeins

pebble beach clone 2

pebble beach clone 3 closeup

caller herrin skein samples

caller herrin final audition
Choice grouping #1 for hat.

caller herrin final pick
Choice grouping #2 for hat.

This tan roving was another clone but I could tell it wasn’t going to work so I set it aside, this is how it looks spun up.

pebble beach tan and selkie roving

pebble beach 2 closeup


Mastering Miniatures Quilt

I have a passion for civil war/reproduction era fabrics so when I see them on sale I tend to look twice and it doesn’t take much for me to buy them. I recently bought a block of the month quilt kit from The Fat Quarter Shop “Mastering Miniatures” put out by Homestead Hearth featuring Judie Rothermel’s Authentic Miniatures 1800’s reproduction fabric.

The original quilt is 70″ x 70″ and I had originally planned to make it that size but since I’ve started the quilt we have purchased a king size bed so obviously I need to make the quilt larger. There are 50 blocks in the quilt that each measure 6″ x 6″ when finished. Each month has five packets each packet making a different block. Although the fabrics in each packet are usually a 10″ square, since the block itself is 6″ square, there is more than enough fabric to make two blocks out of what is given. If I run short of fabric for the second block I can
I can usually steal a bit of fabric from another block. It helps that I also have in my possession 2 grab bag boxes of reproduction prints on hand to fill in any shortfalls and some of those off-cut pieces from the grab bags are the very fabrics used in the quilt. Long story short I figure I need around 110 blocks to make a king quilt. It’s amazing that to add an extra two outer rows I’ll need the same amount of blocks as used in the original quilt.

Anyhow I had a friend request pictures of the process so here I go with posting my progress of making a quilt once again, besides which I find it keeps me on track and honest in the time management. The blocks below have a lot of cutting in them and are fussy but I find I’m loving it. I’m making two of each block and then I guess I’ll have to decide on another ten when I’m done the fifty blocks.

miniature quilt blocks

sewing minatures quilt
A couple of shots of the blocks and work station.

block 1
Block 1

block 2
Block 2

block 3
Block 3

block 4
Block 4

Block 5
Block 5

Block 6
Block 6

block 7
Block 7

Block 8
Block 8

block 9
Block 9

block 10
Block 10

block 11
Block 11

block 12
Block 12

block 13
Block 13

block 14
Block 14

Block 15
Block 15