19 September 2014

Share All The Things Friday


Because I'm an on-the-hop blogger, writing posts on the day you see them rather than in advance, I'm sitting here late in the evening on Friday night writing this post. It's very rock and roll around here ;)

I've been feeling worried that I'm swamping you with All The Things. There's just so much to share! Anyhow, I thought I'd try telling you about fewer things and see how that goes. Do let me know what you think - how much would you like to see? What kind of things do you really love? I'm happy to evolve.

  • I don't think I have always felt in a rush but my last year and a bit has been lived at a crazy pace and I'm ready to slow. it. down. This week I've been reading Dr. Libby Weaver's book The Rushing Woman's Syndrome and it's absolutely fascinating. I hadn't heard of Dr. Libby before this year - she's Australian, she's written a bunch of books (including cookbooks) and tours NZ fairly regularly giving talks about health and lifestyle issues. She is a nutritional biochemist with a holistic approach to health, backing up everything she says with science (she's got a Phd. in Biochemistry). I really like her ideas, they makes good sense to me. If you'd like a wee taste of Dr. Libby's Rushing Woman book - check out her TED talk.

  • The mason jar in my photo contains kefir. At least I hope it does. I'm curious to see how long I can keep my kefir grains alive. Kefir grains are clusters of good bacteria - like yoghurt but way more powerful. I'm growing mine in water. I should end up with a bubbly, slightly fermented flavoured drink. Traditionally kefir was made with milk but apparently it's easy to convert milk kefir grains to water kefir grains by just washing them. Here's the kefir method I'm trying.

  • Just take a peek at this cardigan. Isn't it beautiful? I'd love to dress all my girls in these but they've become so jolly opinionated. Anyhow, this photo led me back to The Craft Sessions and I sighed and wished I lived Melbourne or at least much, much closer - or at the very least, that someone would set up something exactly the same in my city. (Anyone?!) I wonder if I could save my pennies and one day, some day, fly over to join in.

Have a really happy weekend X

P.S. Those muffins? Delicious and healthy. Another fabulous recipe from My Darling Lemon Thyme.

17 September 2014

Oh My Goodness This Is So Much Fun!

Oh My Goodness This Is So Much Fun

I had a little "dye-up" over the weekend. Hit by a sudden urge to make some colour I grabbed my remaining undyed yarn or in one case, blah, pale coloured yarn and heated up my pots.

Still fairly haphazard in my approach, arriving at these colourways took a fair bit of playing around. In fact, I really didn't have a plan at all when I started and I wrote absolutely nothing down (it never actually crossed my mind) so these are truly one-off's never to be repeated. 

I'm feeling quite split about me, precision and dyeing. I absolutely loved my very technical colour experiments and it's useful to be able to eye them up and remind myself what proportions make certain colours but, a big part of what I love about dyeing is the unexpected and the freedom to just "make". It might be nice to be able to repeat colourways again if I fall in love with them but then again, I kind of like that I can't. It makes me happy that each one is unique and I love the idea of approaching my dye pots with a completely clean slate each time. 

Oh My Goodness This Is So Much Fun

These skeins were first out of the pot. Starting life as a fairly bland light brown onion colour they took a fair bit of messing about to end up these rather delicious rich rhurbarb shades of red and olive. 

In the process they taught me several things. Firstly, if you add colours willy-nilly you'll eventually arrive at rust coloured yarn. Secondly, you can indeed start to felt yarn when you're dyeing if you fiddle and squeeze it too much. This DK (organic) yarn is a bit stuffed cos it got a bit felted but I think it might be destined to be a little vest so hopefully it'll not matter.

Oh My Goodness This Is So Much Fun

Faced with a pot of teal dye and not wanting to waste it I was struck with the idea of throwing a whole cake of yarn in just as it was. It so happened that a fat cake of chunky yarn was sitting by my side when I had that very thought, so in it went. Of course it wanted to float so I held it under the water with a heavy jar. After what seemed like forever (but was probably more like half an hour) I lifted it out. Sure enough, I'd achieved a gradient-like effect with the yarn slowly fading to white at the centre. It's a bit blotchy all the way through so its not as smooth a gradient as it could be but it's pretty fun. 

I'm wondering what to knit with it? Maybe some sort of wrap. It looks to me like it wants to be angular with slip stitches ...

Oh My Goodness This Is So Much Fun

Dyeing does seem to flow better the longer you spend doing it. At least, that's how it is for me. This last skein dyed as if by magic. It's about 50g of soft merino 4ply left over from knitting a baby cardigan at least 7 years ago, maybe 10. You can see the different effect dye has on superwash wool as opposed to the non-superwash wool in my first picture. The colours are much more vibrant and electric. This aspect of superwash wool has me in a bit of a pickle. I'd rather use non-superwash wool because it is less processed but I think doing so means I'd end up with more muted colourways. Lovely but not necessarily what I'm always after. I'm wondering whether a silk blend would offer some glossiness? Clearly I'll have to experiment and see.

As to this colourway, at one point I found myself rubbing portions of it inside the empty yellow dye jar to get brilliant glimmers of gold. See, techniques like that don't really lend themselves to being repeatable!

12 September 2014

Share All The Things Friday

Share All The Things Friday

Any thoughts of spring have been well and truly squashed today - it is cold and wet out there!  At least the baby trees in our new orchard are getting a good watering. In good news, my Dad was discharged from hospital after nearly five weeks and is home this evening. Not quite sure what comes next but I'm crossing my fingers he's seen the worst of it.

Without further ado, here's my five things to share this Friday:

  • Last weekend I found Sew Love Tea Do in St. Kevin's Arcade on K'Rd, Auckland. Located in a darling vintage shop the owner Sarah provides space, sewing machines, fabric, notions, a very welcoming vibe and sewing skills to help you mend and sew whatever you fancy. She's open 7 days and you can choose to drop in and use her machines and expertise for a small hourly fee or, you might like to take part in one of her many workshops, catering to absolute beginners and more experienced sewers. There's even a knitting workshop tucked in there!

  • Extra Curricular Magazine is a New Zealand publication. It's small (A5) but ever so pretty and I'm so taken with it that I've subscribed for the year. For me, a lot of the appeal is finding out about the crafty people down here in New Zealand and Australia. (I'm so pleased to report there are plenty!) I love the articles about creative folk and the things they make but Extra Curricular also includes recipes, crafty tutorials and ideas for creative entrepreneurs. Co-incidentally, this most recent issue (#15) has a great feature on Sew Love Tea Do and also features The Mint, also located here in Auckland. At their studio Any and Evie run a series of workshops including screen printing. I have been itching to try screen printing - here's my chance!

  • I noticed a blog post by the TechKnitter pop up in my feed recently. I'm not sure she's properly "back" as she's actually popped up a couple of random times since announcing she'd be taking a break to write a book in February 2013. Still, it's a good reminder to check out her fantastic blog. Crammed full of "how-to" information about knitting, the TechKnitting blog is a great place to start if you get stuck.

  • Knitty magazine shared some info this week that was really interesting and totally relevant if you follow Truly Myrtle on Facebook. The long and the short of it is that Facebook works by sharing my Facebook posts with a greater number of you, if more of you click "like" or (even better) leave a comment or share my post. Although I've got 600+ followers on Facebook sometimes less than 100 of you get to see what I post there! Crazy huh?! So, if you never want to miss another Truly Myrtle post again - click "like" or say hi! Thanks X

  • I am a keen follow of Tara Swiger and all her tips on starting and growing a handmade business. She's got lots of really sensible things to say on the topic and seems very approachable and friendly. So, I was particularly pleased to see that she and friend Misty have started their own craft podcast; The Handmade Podcast. Both are avid crafters, trying their hand at everything from knitting to dyeing to sewing, papercrafts and spinning (and lots more in between). I'm enjoying them and the variety of things they make.

Have a happy weekend!

11 September 2014

Mis-Matching Pair

Mis-matched Pair

I'm not quite sure what to think about my mis-matched pair of socks. I didn't expect them to be quite so different and while a part of me doesn't mind, after all they're beautifully soft, a bit off the wall and certainly colourful, there's another part of me that's squirming. For those that have used it before, is Casbah always this random?!

Having said that, I don't know which is of the two I prefer - left with it's lovely pinks and slimmer stripes or right with it's wider stripes and tons of white?

Mis-matched Pair

My socks are knit top down with a 1 X 1 rib cuff and 3 X 1 rib legs. The heels are traditional heel flaps where I slip my stitches knit-wise so that I get a nice twisted heel. I probably should have put in an afterthought heel so that the stripes didn't get all muddled across the top of my ankle at that point but hey, I think this confused pair of socks probably doesn't mind. The 3 X 1 rib continues down the top of my foot with straight stocking stitch underneath and my toes are simple round toes decreased on each side every second row until 12 stitches remain on each side. This pattern by Glenna C. is a goodie to follow if you want to make something similar.

My Ravelry page for my socks is here.

5 September 2014

Share All The Things Friday


My goodness, the weeks roll around fast! Although Spring doesn't hit with a bang here in Auckland, there are a few blossom trees around, lots of baby lambs, a promise in the air and of course freesias. I've been wondering this week if they're actually my favourite flower. It's been years since I've seen a proper freesia; freshly picked and heavy with fragrance and I'm absolutely delighted to see them popping up all over my garden.

Ready for some things to share?

  • A friend returned Buddhism for Mothers to me this week and I've been enjoying dipping into it. I first found this book when my two big kids were toddlers (maybe 9 or 10 years ago?) and it was something of a revelation for me. Over the years I've also read the next two books in the series (for small children and schoolchildren) but the first one has remained my favourite. The ideas are fascinating and I'm drawn back to them time and time again. This week I stumbled across this video by the Buddhist nun Venerable Robina Courtin. The way Robina discusses Buddhist ideas is decidedly less "zen" than my gentle book but I was totally captivated by Robina's video, as much by the woman herself as what she said. Fairly brash and talking ten-to-the-dozen, you can almost see Robina's brain whirling while she talks about "pure Buddhism" in western language. If you decide to watch it, do tell me what you think. 

  • I'm not sure whether to combine these two colours of Spinning A Yarn in one project, use them separately or, buy a third very fabulous saturated skein of this 50% silk / 50% merino blend, dyed right here in New Zealand. I'm sure I need more ...

  • I thought the new (free) Lace Shrug pattern by Andi Satterlund was pretty cute this week. It looks like a fun knit, not too tricky and it might just finish off a summer sundress very nicely.

  • I've been enjoying the recent Make it Work series about being a freelance knitwear designer on Karie Bookish's Fourth Edition blog. This week it culminated in an interesting interview on A Playful Day blog. Watch out for their combined Twitter hang-out on Tuesday, September 9 at 8:30pm BST. They've gathered a panel of industry experts to share their tips on making a splash in the fibre industry. (That'll be Wednesday, September 10 at 7:30am NZT for us peeps downunder.)

  • Did you see Michelle's Ease sweater on her blog My So-Called Handmade Life recently? I love Michelle's fabulous style and I constantly find myself wanting to make pretty much everything she knits. Her sweater is no exception and although I've had my eye on the pattern (Ease by Alicia Plummer) for quite a while now, Michelle has managed to convince me that I definitely have to get one on the needles.

Have a happy weekend X