Monday, July 21, 2014

No longer a Bendi-virgin!

My very first Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show! I know, ridiculous right? I've had about seven opportunities to go before this year, and I only managed it this year on a whim.

I was so lucky to have my excellent friend Sara-Jane (a recent crochet convert!) join me on the road trip with her equally excellent son (the very knit-worthy Arty). We hit the road around midday on Saturday and I was fairly bursting with excitement. The weather looked like it was going to be cold and crisp and delicious (this is a lie, it was hot once we got there please see below, LIESKY).

Our first stop was at the Bendigo Woollen Mills, I was very restrained and only grabbed one ball here, but I loved running around with Arty as he marvelled over "ALL THE COLOURS!" in the back room. Sara-Jane did a decent stash enhancement with 3 balls.

Then it was back in the car and off to the Show. We arrived and had our first bonus of the day, free parking! it was about 2.30pm by this stage so the parking people were shutting down and took pity on us, hooray! I admit I suddenly became a bit nervous that the show was finishing at 3 and not 5 as I'd imagined (always check BEFORE the 2 hour drive Katie) but it was fine and in we went.

We started from the far end, and watched a little bit of sheep dog jumping, but it was a bit too far away for toddler eyes, so we moved on to the sheds. So many lovely hand carved wooden things, and amazing books stitched from felt and sheepskin and other interesting textures. These sheds were a bit too packed for me so we headed on up to the sheep (with a quick stop for some poffertjes on the way past).

Sheep! They were so squishy and soft and gentle and stinky. I have issues with the way they were penned up all day in a stuffy shed, literally on top of each other for some of them, but I understand that they are fed and watered and it's a necessary part of the commerce for these farmers. 

It was also a great way to get up close and personal to see the difference in the wool between breeds. Arty liked them too and was even brave enough to get up close to the noisy sheep in the crowded cage.

Enough with the sheep! Time for their by-products. I was pretty restrained, since it was a surprise trip I hadn't saved for weeks and weeks, so just 3 skeins came home with me, but I love them so much.

Time to hop in the car and head back to Melbourne. We were about 15 minutes outside of Bendigo when we realised we didn't have a snack, or presents! So we decided to take a quick trip off the main road and headed to Maldon. Maldon is gorgeous! We secretly enjoyed Maldon more than the show which was not quite what I expected.

There was a train! For climbing! Arty was pretty happy (honestly, I was pretty excited too).

We had a delicious little picnic and a run around in the park and finally got a chance to wear all the woollies we'd packed as the chill had properly set in. I ate the best chocolate chip cookie I've ever purchased.

Then we jumped back in the car for another hour or two filled with singalongs, shushing from Arty and a bit of crocheting by me (my new yarn craft, more on that later).

All in all I'm really glad we went, because I can finally say I've been, but I don't think it'll be an annual thing for me, maybe once every few years?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Other things I finished while I ignored this blog...

... because if I can be honest, I have definitely ignored this blog, to the point that a month ago when my family were all "send us a link to your blog" and I just blinked at them before remembering I even had one.

But, even though I wasn't blogging projects, they were still being knit, and 2013 and 2014 have so far been relatively productive.

tiny knits for tiny people

 sweaters for me

  cosy blankets and cushion covers  


 scarves and hats and cowls and slippers


Friday, June 13, 2014


Since finishing the Beekeepers Quilt mid-May, I took about a week off from anything yarn related as the final push to finish the puffs had tuckered me out.

And then, a cold snap FINALLY hit Melbourne. It was time for hats.

Essie, Josie, Moose and I wandered up to my favourite yarn store, Woolarium (click for store info) and Essie got some yarn for hats for herself and Moose, and I grabbed some delicious kidsilk haze to add to a project.

The first two hats were pumped out so quickly, hooray for fat yarn on big needles! Both are in Rowan, Pure Wool Aran. Pompoms! (Arty's is too small and so will go on to wee little Harvey, and I'm reknitting his in a bigger size)

Next up, a hat for me (in Marta's Yarns, Retro), and a hat for Sara-Jane to match some mitts I knit her for Christmas last year. 

It's possible I might have a pompom problem.

Then I was on a roll and pumped out a hat for Harvey in Cashmerino Aran (his has a pompom too but I stupidly didn't get a completely finished photo), and a hat for Cheese with BWM Rustic 12ply!

Wee Scarlett's mum liked the look of the double pompom hat, so I made a cherry red one for her in BWM 10ply , and a cabled hat for Josie in Blue Sky Alpaca, Extra (Josie's needed a bit of a reworking (as hats often do), but it fits now and so that's all we'll say about that).

I've still got a couple of hats on the horizon for Anna, Katy, Arty's reknit, and who knows who else?

Right now I'm working on a colourwork cowl as a little break from hats, but as soon as that's finished, hat season is back on. I really love hats, they're so quick and easy, and they make people feel warm and cosy. Happy knitting!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Beekeepers Quilt...

...also known as the never, ever, ever ending project, IS FINALLY FINISHED (after a whopping 2 years and 10 months).

It comes in at 361 hexipuffs (or the equivalent of the toes part of 361 toe up socks and 361 top down socks), with 1.4 bags of polyfill and 300gm of wool stuffing to puff them out with. Lovely Josie helped me take some photos of it in the park near my house, and these are pretty much the first daylight/no filter photos of the blanket in existence.

When this pattern first came out, I just knew I had to knit it because it reminded me so much of my favourite picture book from when I was small. I was lucky enough to have a Mum who put this book aside and recently sent it back to me just in time for this photo shoot. My memory of the book had the quilt as hexagons and not squares, so this isn't a "perfect match", but I still think my quilt does the book justice!

I used every kind of 4 ply/sock yarn/5 ply that I could lay my hands on, from Madtosh to Patonyle to Araucania to Skein. It's the squishiest and most mis-matchiest blanket I've ever made, and while I don't *quite* love it yet, I'm sure I soon will.

I decided to seam all the edges, it's quite heavy as I don't feel that the corner ties are sufficient to support the weight without seriously compromising the likelihood that this quilt would survive years of use (abuse!) on laps in my house.

I had originally planned for a Queen size blanket, but to be honest, I ran out of steam. The finished measurements are 1m x 1.2m so it's a good lap blanket size. Nice and heavy.

I think as I build 4ply leftovers up again over the next few years I can knock out sets of 19 puffs and add rows on either end to make it bigger, but if I don't, I'm still happy with the finished piece.

A big thank you to everyone who donated their 4 ply leftovers to me; Ursula, Sharon, Jules, Melanie and the rest of the wonderful Richmond Knitters I couldn't have done it without you!