Sunday, August 17, 2008

We've moved!

A new blog, exciting new plans and lots of fun in store for the future, come and visit us at our new home.

See you there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Project 18: Thermal Gloves for Pants

I wanted a quick knit present for Pants, so I whipped up these thermal inspired mitts for him to wear under his snowboarding gloves.

He's not all that into them, though, the colour bothering him more than the shininess, so I don't think I'll be making him anything else any time soon.

I like them, though, and I'm going to use the remainder for a pair for myself.

Pattern: Made up, based on how I remembered Thermal, which was incorrect.

Yarn: Noro Aurora, colour 8, about half of two skeins (1 ball)

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: Pants

Ravelry Link

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Project 17: Evangelines

I made these Evangelines as part of Mmmmmalabrigo March over on Ravelry.

The pattern was well written and easy to understand, but I just don't like the cable pattern. Why I couldn't figure that out before I knit them, I have no idea, but I think I'll give them to mumsie instead of keeping them for myself.

I did an extra cable repeat but otherwise knit them as instructed. If I were to do them again, I'd give the thumbs more stitches and change up the cable pattern.

Pattern: Evangeline, from Magknits

Yarn: Mmmmalabrigo Worsted in Sealing Wax, about 1/3 of a skein

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: mother, I think

Ravelry Link

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Project 16: Nephling Hat

This teeny, tiny hat was made in Albury, for the nephling, who has us all completely under his spell.

Pretty simple project, made from my default hat pattern, the Spiraling Hat, to coordinate with the Kipling I made for his baby shower, it made a pretty good (if I do say so myself) Easter gift for a tiny who isn't allowed chocolate.

We're hoping it gets cold enough for him to wear them before they're outgrown. I'll try to get a modeled photo, he's very cute.

Pattern: Spiraling Hat

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Aran in Seafoam

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: our nephling

Ravelry Link

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Project 15: Chocolate Spiraling Hat

Life got pretty out of control last month, so I have a rather large backlog of finished projects to get through, starting with this staple, a Spiraling Hat for the gift box.

I made this one in the car on the way to Albury a few weeks ago, where the godfetus was in hospital. She's doing ok at the moment, but it was scary for a while there and she will have to be taken to Melbourne for her birth, but we're taking each day as it comes. She's 24 weeks, so fingers crossed she chooses to stay where she is for a few more months.

Pattern: Spiraling Hat

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky in Chocolate, 1 skein

Needles: 10mm dpns

Made for: someone, surely

Ravelry Link

Friday, March 14, 2008

Project 14: Patriotic Socks (for [complainy] Pants)

SWTC's Karaoke, with it's renowned felting properties, is a dodgy choice for a sock yarn.

This is why I was making these footies for myself. I know they'll felt like the dickens, so I'll take care of them and only wear them around the house.

However, as I was knitting along, having just turned the heels, watching My Name is Earl, Pants started kvetching about the two single (sadly, unmatching) socks that I've knit him and bitching about the fact that I'm making these for myself while his giant (size 11!) feet go shiveringly naked.

They were turning out a bit loose for me, so when he grabbed them and forced his feet into them, they fit him, slightly stretched , but for being rather too short.

So I put the knitting away and the next day, on the train, ripped out the painstakingly crafted (ok, not really) heels, added a few inches to the foot length and reheeled them.

The following day, we set off for Newcastle to visit with friends and I finished them, but for the sewn cast-off, on the road. Hence the charmingly art directed (by pants, no less) photograph of an almost completed sock, artfully arranged upon manly foot, delicately nestled against Land Rover steering wheel (taken outside the Newcastle Ent Cent).

We had slept in the back of the truck at the beach the previous night, two fatties spooning on a single blow up mattress, nuzzled between hard steel wheel arches, so we were, shall we say, not in the greatest mood the next morning when we awoke.

I waited until I'd done something stupid (I can't remember what, but it's an unfortunate habit of mine, and one of the differences that keep our relationship strong, to have a logic that is truly my own and not necessarily reflected in the greater world's logic) before I told him to shut up, because I'd been knitting away on a PAIR!!! of socks for him all weekend.

It was a good ploy, and one that I must remember for when he has his cranky pants on in the future. I believe this is sometimes called bribery.

toe up, two at once with a reverse heel flap

Yarn: South West Trading Company Karaoke in Gator, 2 skeins

Needles: 3.75mm circ

Made for: Pants

Ravelry Link

Why patriotic? Imagine (as I choose to) that the blue isn't there, which isn't too difficult when they're covered by giant (did I mention size 11!?!) cons, and you've got a green and gold sock that i knit 'Oi' into each ankle of. As in, Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Project 13: Tiny socks for Milly

A quick knitting interlude in the turbulent weeks just past, a pair of tiny socks for a tiny arrival in the family, my cousin's brand new babe.

Very simply constructed, wedge toes, heel flap, stockinette foot, ribbed legs. Nice, brainless knitting.

Pattern: made up

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Miami in Miami Red

Needles: 2mm circ

Made for: Milly

Ravelry Link

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Hand-dyed merino/nylon sock.
Spiraling Bumblebee.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Project 12: Scarfly

I recently bought a rigid heddle loom. I know, rigid heddle! I got a good deal and I wanted to try it out, so...

I made a little scraf for a small friend.

Today is the last day of Feb, so I thought I'd have a look at my goals for the year and see how I'm going with them.

1 & 2 (off roading and more driving) aren't going so well, I've probably driven less than 5 hours this year, but I'm off to visit my godbaby next weekend (see #3) which means about 12 hours of driving for me.

4, to knit a project from each knitting book I own, is not doing too badly, I've done two, but I've also doubled my library, so I'm calling it a fail.

5, making 52 projects, or 1 each week for the year, well, I'm up to 12, in 8 1/2 weeks and I have another half dozen or more in various stages of completion, so I'm pretty happy with that.

Pattern: none, just a plain weave

Yarn: Louet Gems Sapphire in black, 1/2 skein & Emotive Classic in pink, 1 skein

Needles: rigid heddle loom

Made for: Surprise

Ravelry Link

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Project 11: Ralph

Pants' sister is currently at the hospital, having our nephling cut out of her. As you can imagine, we're all kind of beside ourselves and twitching, waiting for news. Pants and I are going to be a little bit sheepish (no pun intended, but what the heck) if he ends up being a neiceling and we have to return all of the tiny blue things we bought.

I made this little sheepy, Ralph, to give to the tiny upon his entrance (visiting hours start in 1 hour, 50 minutes, so hurry up little one!).

More details and a pattern to download by the weekend.

Pattern: A Tale of Two Sheepies, by Spiraling

Yarn: SWTC Bamboo Feather and Louet Gems Sport weight

Needles: 3.25mm circ

Made for: the nephling!

Ravelry Link

I must go now and resume pacing and glancing at the telephone. Send good thoughts!

Monday, February 25, 2008


I've developed a bad habit of pronouncing Edinburgh as though it were spelled phonetically. I'll admit it, it irks my hairy Scot, and that's generally a motivating factor, but yesterday I did it in front of his Glaswegian parents and felt like a tool.

It seems I'm incapable of posting without a photo, so here are some fuzzy feet that have been sitting in my 'to be felted' box for a few weeks. I've a few projects in there, I think I'm scared of ruining them.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Araucania Nature Wool Chunky

There was recently a yarn freak-out on the Aus Knitters forum of Ravelry over Ranco, the stunning sock yarn from Araucania. I bought four skeins, two of the multi and two of the solids (which are really varigated).

For me, the stand out feature of the yarn is the softness. It's absolutely gorgeous, so I had to try out another from the Araucania stable.

16 skeins of Nature Wool Chunky came home to me, 11 in a gorgeous green to make a faux fair isle (possibly overkill, but I didn't want to run out), four of the dark teal colour and one of the gorgeous aqua in the photo.

Have a good look at the photo, you can see a bigger version here, the first thing you'll notice is the different bands, the forground yarn has the older version.

You might also notice that the aqua is dwarfing the teal. The aqua is 147g, the teal 102g, both advertised as 100g.

I wish now that I'd bought them in a real store, rather than online. You can bet I would have bought every overweight skein.

I'm going to start knitting these this weekend.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yarn Storage? Sorted.

I've begun the laborious task of logging and transferring my yarns over from my old workspace into the bunker.

This task is made slightly more bearable by the fact that a. I love counting stuff, putting it into spreadsheets and analysing data, and b. I've found the perfect storage solution for me.

I found these plastic shoe containers at my local $2 store, and picked up 35 of them.

They're particularly good for sock yarns (a good hunk of my 132 skeins can be found in the pile above). One of those boxes has 18 balls of Bendigo Miami in it!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Project 10: Cowgirl Slipper Socks

This is my box of Noro. It doesn't look like much, but there's probably 15 or so skeins of assorted Noro yarns in there, Kureyon, Kureyon Sock, Cotton Hill, Silver Thaw, Aurora and Silk Mountain.

I'd never tried Noro until I made my Woodland Shawl out of Kureyon Sock, quickly followed by the Maine Morning Mitts out of Kureyon.

Suddenly, I understood what the fuss was about, and why people would pay $20 a skein for wool that's full of knots and twigs. So, I set about building a collection.

Part of this collection included two skeins of Silver Thaw, which is a 10ply Nylon/wool/angora blend, one of which I made into a pair of Ann Budd's Cowgirl Slipper Socks.

This yarn is really, really nice, squishy and fuzzy and a pleasure to knit, however I soon learned that I was slightly allergic to it (hence the thick socks in the photos). I'm not sure what the problem is, considering I wear angora and used to own an angora bunny, I think it may actually be the wool used.

So, knitting something that made my hands swell up and my whole body itchy is kind of a motivator to get things done, you know?

These are for my grandmother for Christmas, so they don't quite fit me.

They were a fairly quick knit, heavy yarn with a short leg, and, allergies not withstanding, an enjoyable one.

As I was knitting, I couldn't figure out what the yarn reminded me of. I knew it was some kind of sweet from my childhood, but that sounds rediculous, so I didn't know what it was. Something about the way the tufts of colour pop out of the yarn.

I didn't figure it out until I was nearly done. CLINKERS!!

They're not *quite* done, the toes are held together with waste yarn because I can not find a single tapestry needle in my house, or in any of the stores at Miranda. It's my own fault, though, because I know exactly where my scissors and measuring tapes are.

Pattern: Cowgirl Slipper Socks, by Ann Budd, from IK Winter 06

Yarn: Noro Silver Thaw

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: mormor

Ravelry Link

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Project 9: Foliage

I haven't mentione it before, because it kind of makes me seem like a spoiled little princess, but my best friend is taking me around the world in September.

We're going to Prague first, then we're separating in Scotland, me to Glasgow for a pants family wedding and her to a friend who lives in Edinburgh, then we're off to Boston, NY, Chicago, Seattle and Vancouver, and wherever else takes our fancy along the way, but she's paying for my flights.

This is completely outrageous and kind of something that it's impossible to adequately say thank you for.

So, I knit her a hat. Yeah, lame. It's sort of for Christmas, but I'll probably give it to her for her Birthday so she can take it away with us. Last time she was in Prague, she got me a green flap hat, so it seemed kind of appropriate.

Anyway, this completely inadequate gift is Foliage from Knitty. Made in some Malabrigo Chunky that I happened to have laying around, this is possibly one of my favourite things ever.

The colour, Lettuce, is just perfect and the pattern is easy without being boring and I finished it in an evening watching dvds on my computer.

It's a pretty big hat, which was a complaint I saw on Ravelry quite a bit, but K has fairly big hair, so I think it will be alright. It came down over my eyebrows, which was a teeny bit annoying, but if I made one for myself (and I probably will), I'd just pull it down further at the back.

Modelled by my adorable mumsie, I'm pretty sure she wants one now!

Pattern: Foliage by Emilee Mooney, from Knitty

Yarn: Malabrigo in Lettuce

Needles: 6.5mm circ

Made for: K

Ravelry Link

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Worst. Photo. Ever.

The quality of this photograph (taken through gladwrap in the car on the way to a recent dinner party) is indicative of the general apathy an malaise that is pervading my entire life at the moment.

Working weekends is killing me, and the sticky 'd' key on my work laptop is making me feel slightly stabby.

Anywho, my sweet friend Zephyrama sent me a bunch of awesome cookbooks before Christmas, among them one celebrating recipes from regional restaurants around Australia.

I made little chocolate, date and almond tortes for a dinner with friends recently, and they turned out really well. We served them with vanilla bean ice cream and they were delicious.

This is also the worst post ever, because I'm not comfortable posting copyrighted recipes online, so I can't even share that.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Project 8: Heart Hat for Mirabel

And here's a fun hat.

I made this hat for Meet Me at Mikes' (or, as I prefer, Meet Meat, Mikes, as though two sheltered lads named Mike were being introduced to bacon. Mmmm... Bacon.) Hearts for Mirabel appeal.

I sent it earlier in the week by express post, but haven't heard that it was received, so I'll check with the post office on Monday. I never heard anything about the softies I sent last year, but I'm sure they're busy.

It's just one of my Spiraling hats (I'm trying to get the pattern up, hopefully this month!), except that I extended the top into a rather long icord and made a little heart on the end. I REALLY wish I'd written down how I did the heart before I sent it off, but I'll try to figure it out.

The hearts are being sold for $10 each next month, I'll mention it again when it happens.

Pattern: Spiraling Hat by me!

Yarn: Lamb's Pride Bulky in Lotus Pink

Needles: 10mm dpns

Made for: the Mirabel Foundation

Ravelry Link

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Hat attack can kiss my arse, too. Project 7.

So, I just participated in hat attack and found the whole thing... well, crap.

For starters, it's a hat, so more or less everyone in the entire field finished it in an afternoon and sent out, so it was purely up to the discretion of the mail gods.

The pattern, a binary cable hat, where the cables represent the 1s and 0s of binary, was a really great idea, but the execution was a bit meh. The pattern is pretty good, but the directions terrible. I feel like the designer was trying a bit too hard to be geeky.

The complaints have been flying thick and fast, though. First I heard was stickyfingers' rant about lefties being disqualified for crossing cables incorrectly (even though they still crossed behind, and that was all the pattern called for).

Then, a groundswell of complaints on Ravelry about the size of the hats.

Then, this morning, I got a PM from my target, saying that the moderator of the group told her to send back the hat I killed her with because it didn't fit anyone in her family, then I saw that she had already posted in a public forum that my hat was 'so obviously not made to size.'


I used the correct yarn (lamb's pride worsted) and my gauge was exactly on. I followed the pattern exactly and it fit me, but only came about half way down my ears. Incidentally, I checked her hat's project page on Rav and mine hit me almost exactly where hers his her, which is half-way down her ears. Hmmm...

I don't see how it is in any way my fault that a. the pattern is incorrectly sized and b. my target seems to have a giant noggin.

So, yeah, I found the whole experience to be terrible.

I did however, receive a very nice hat (incidentally, knit to too large a gauge, but I'm not contesting whether it killed me, that wouldn't really be in the spirit of the game now, would it?) from my assassin, cathat.

It's made out of a 50% hemp, 50% wool yarn that looks to be hand painted. It's really beautiful.

Here is a photo of it on my parent's dog, because cathat showed a photo of it on her cute puppers.

Pattern: Binary Cable Hat

Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted in an off-colour (mustard-ish)

Needles: 4.5mm circ (I seem to use this for everything)

Made for: my target, who I won't link to, lest she complain about me again.

Ravelry Link

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Red Velvet cuppycakes with mint cream cheese icing

We made these little cuppycakes to take to the nephling's baby shower.

They're red velvet with mint cream cheese icing. The red velvet recipe I found somewhere on the internet and the icing is just regular cream cheese / butter / icing sugar with mint extract and food colour added.

Pants decorated them and we didn't have my piping bags and things because we made them at his parent's place. Still, I like how they turned out, kind of rustic.

When I lived in Manhattan, we used to order take out from a little cajun place that did the most incredible food. My flatmate LOVED red velvet and always ordered a slice, but I'd never tried it before.

The verdict? Delicious, so moist, but so, so bad for you, with the oil and the buttermilk and eggs, it didn't really have a distinct flavour. Not sure what I was expecting, but it's just a really dense, plain cake. The icing really helped.

We bake a lot, at least a batch of cookies a week for pants' little lunch, pies and cakes to take to dinner parties, etc, so this year, I'm trying to document them a bit better.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Project 6: Nephling

I pretty much suck. this little jumper was supposed to be finished for Christmas as a gift to Pants' sister and brother-in-law, but meh.

I ended up finishing it about half an hour before the nephling's baby shower the weekend before last. haha. Pants wasn't very happy with me. None the less, it turned out very well, far better than this ill-lit (taken under the pergola in a rain storm) would suggest. I'll try to get a modeled photo once the little monster gets here (13 days!).

I made a few changed, knitting the body in the round to avoid seaming and catching the cast on edge as a hem while I knit. No idea what that's really called, but it made sense (and a nice little hem) at the time. I also decided to rib the wrists, because I really didn't understand the instructions for any of the hems.

This is a really ho-hum knit until you add the funky collar. It was a big hit at the baby shower, with all manner of requests. As an aside, who knew that a baby shower would involve a bunch of breeding women talking about breast pads and playing stupid games? Not me.

Next big baby item will be a cardigan with a collar like this one.

Pattern: Kipling by Kim K. of Yarn Abuse

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills Aran in Seafoam

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: The nephling

Ravelry Link

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Project 5: Woodland Shawl

woodland detail
Originally uploaded by wearespiraling
I'm a bit behind, here, so bear with me.

This past was a long weekend, four-dayer for the 55,000 of us at the Sydney BDO on Friday, and yet knitting activity was minimal.

I spent some of the time moving my workshop into the new workshop (the Bunker) that we've leased. It's kind of an underground concrete shelter room, so not great for photos, but it's rad and I'm filling it up with my lovelies and it's got scooter parking. So...

What knitting I have been doing has been plugging away at massive, massive, endless stocking stitch items that will be fulled. I have a hat and some slips, so far, but damn, it's taking it's sweet time.

I actually finished this project a week or two ago and just haven't had time to post it, so here it is.

Let me just preface this by saying that Nikol Lohr warned me, but I went ahead anyway and this made a VERY skimpy shawl.

Noro sock is 420 metres, so I was hopeful, but I have broad shoulders and this little shawl is just long enough to pin at my chest. If I were to do it again (and I'd definitely want to), I'd use two skeins and make it another repeat or two wider.

I made it originally to take on a bunch of flights later this year, I thought it would be nice to just throw over my shoulders, but I think it's a bit small. Not sure how much use I will get out of it, I may just hang it on the wall or something.

It's a great pattern, though. The embossed leaves stitch is one that I used over the break on my Murray River socks (ok, sock. I'll get to the other one), so it was a painless project for my first lace.

The yarn, Noro Kureyon Sock, is MUCH, MUCH nicer than first touch would have you think. Knitting from the inside of the ball, it was super tangly and pretty annoying, but much softer than knitting from the outside, due to the knitting action untwisting the yarn a little.

There were some bits of VM, but not too much and I LOVED the striping. There are colours in there that I'm not overly fond of, but it just WORKS.

I'm a Noro convert, now, says she as she rests her feet on her box of assorted Noro yarns, waiting, waiting.

The thick and thin parts of the yarn were quite dramatic, but it knit up really nicely into this fabric.

I call it a win.

Pattern: Woodland Shawl, by Nikol Lohr

Yarn: Noro Kureyon Sock in 102

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: Me!

Ravelry Link

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Project 4: Maine Morning Mitts

I've a few FOs backed up, so I'm doing them in order.

This is no 4 of the 52 projects I'm attempting to finish this year.

I'm going to start with my issues with this project, because I'm feeling contrary:
1. Noro Kureyon. Love it. LOVE IT. I never understood why everyone raved about Noro, which is a 20$ a ball yarn with twigs in it. Then I made these mitts (my first ever Noro project, it took me almost 7 months of knitting) and I got it. Loves me some Noro now.

However, what I do not like is the non-matchiness of these mitts. I checked out the project page on Ravelry and I knew they would be fraternal and I thought I could handle it, but damn. These are fraternal like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito are fraternal. They don't even look like they're from the same colourway.

So, I've ordered another skein and I will hopefully get two relatively matching pairs out of it.

2. Clara Parkes. Honestly, I kind of love you. I've been reading your IK articles and I've been really impressed, but, seriously, you have Kureyon listed as a singles yarn? Are you insane? Apart from the fact that the ball band has it listed as a 2ply, you can feel it when you're knitting and the plies want to come apart.

Otherwise, it's a great pattern with a great yarn. I don't know that I'll make another pair (after I make the partners for these) but I'm certainly going to experement with gussets in gloves and mitts in the future.

Pattern: Maine Morning Mitts, by Clara Parke

Yarn: Noro Kureyon in 92

Needles: 4.5mm circ

Made for: Me, kind of. I want the green & pink one

Ravelry Link

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Project 3: CBG hat

This is project 3 for the year and I'm ashamed to say that I made it one day two weeks ago and it's taken me this long to post it.

This is a spiraling hat out of my handspun corriedale. See the little yarn tail near my nose? That's exactly how much yarn I had left over.

This is a gift for a friend's Birthday, which will be late by the time it gets overseas. I like it, it has some personal jokes made out of shrinkie dinks spun in, which is fun.

Pattern: Spiraling Hat

Yarn: Spiraling handdyed hanspun, 100% corriedale in cbg

Needles: 10mm dpns, made by pants

Made for: Comic Book Guy

Ravelry Details

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bainbridge Scarf - late posted Christmas effort.

I made this Bainbridge Scarf for my mums for Christmas, out of a single skein of gorgeous alpaca yarn. She loved it and I'm certain she'll get lots of use out of it, when winter rolls around.

This pattern was the first I found and fell in love with on Ravelry, first in my queue, I was going to use some 8ply hand dyed, but the alpaca is so soft and snuggly and lovely and I know she'll be able to wear the off-white tucked into her khaki work shirts or dressed up with her black wool coat.

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf, by MintyFresh

I only wanted to use one skein (it's discontinued and I'm hoarding the other five! Five more gift Bainbridges!) so I made it a little less deep and made the ties shorter.

Yarn: Plymouth Indiecita Alpaca 4-ply Worsted in Off-White

Needles: 3.75mm (US 5) circ

Made for: mumsie

Ravelry Link

Monday, January 7, 2008

Project 2 - Handspun Mitts

The thing with knitting with handspun, for me at least, is that you never know if you're going to have enough to finish your project.

I was convinced, making the mind's eye hat, that I would run out and have to use something else for the very top, but miraculously, I managed to eke a pair of fingerless mitts out of the yardage.

Very basic, made-up pattern, 7 rows of ribbing, stockinette to the thumb hole, which is bound off, then re-cast on the next row, then stockinette for a bit, then seven rows of 2x2 ribbing and a sewn cast off. Voila!

I knit these on the 4th, during a road trip to Camden for the opshops, down and out to a place I can't spell near Woollongong to buy a couple of surfboards (more projects - one has a giant crack and one is missing a fin, but I have plans for the missing fin board).

Again, any project I can finish in a day is a winner, as far as I'm concerned.

Here's a closeup of the fabric. This is a very thick and thin singles yarn that I spun very early in my spinning career. It's been sitting in my spinning closet for years and in that time, it's managed to lose it's singles bias. Interesting.

Pattern: Improvised

Yarn: Spiraling handdyed hanspun, 100% merino in Smoothie

Needles: 5mm circ

Made for: The present box

Ravelry Link

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Project 1, Book 1 - Mind's Eye Hat

As part of my resolution to make one project from each of my knitting books, I cast on this simple handspun hat from Spin to Knit by Shannon Okey.

This is the Mind's Eye Hat, with a few minor modifications. I added an inch or so of 2x2 ribbing and continued to decrease into a point rather than drawing the yarn through the stitches at the crown and cinching.

It's a good pattern, I finished it in an afternoon and an evening, which is a requirement in a hat, for me, but I think in the future I'll just stick to my spiraling hat.

Spin to Knit is an interesting book, written by Knitgrrl Shannon Okey. I picked it up in the US early last year and it's taken me until now to read it. It's quite a good resource for utilising handspun, but I'd probably only recommend it to new spinners. It's interesting, but there's nothing new in there.

There aren't many projects from it that I would make, but one day I'll tackle the faux fair isle raglan pullover (ravelry link).

Pattern: Mind's Eye Hat from Spin to Knit

Yarn: Spiraling handdyed hanspun, 100% merino in Smoothie

Needles: 5mm circ

Made for: The present box

Ravelry Link

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Singerama - Another Spiraling project

I just found out that it was made on June 28, 1941!! That makes it 66 years old and I'd call it's condition immaculate. Interestingly, this was during the war, so I guess that means that they were still producing them on a small scale while they were making munitions for the war effort, presumably to either keep money coming in or to provide people with the means to create uniforms and things for soldiers, perhaps both.

The best thing is that Pants' grandmother was definitely working there then. I like to think that she was a part of the creation of this beautiful machine that's made it's way half way across the world to be owned by her only grandson, living in the dining room of her son. It's serendipitous.

The (admitedly rather boring looking) antique cabinet in my earlier post is actually more exciting than you would think, because this is what's hiding in it's guts.

It's a poor photo, taken in the crowded garage (excuse the XR and the MGB) in fading light, but it's a Singer 201k, thought by many to be the greatest sewing machine made by the Singer corp.

We bought this on our road trip, from the same place as the Bandit (what can I say? We got a good deal). A few days earlier, we saw one at a market in Canberra that was four times the price and the veneer on the top was a mess and it had some serious UV fading.

I wanted it, though. We agreed that we would do some research and have a look at some others before we bought one. We saw a few more (even more expensive ones) in Braidwood on our way to the coast, then found this one on our last day, when I jokingly said to Pants, 'if we buy the pokie machine, we need a treddle sewing machine, too' and the antique store owner unearthed it from the back of the shop.

So, we strapped them both in the back of the land rover and brought them back to Sydney.

We showed Pants' da, because we wanted some advice on how to clean it, and he got really excited and pointed out the Manufactured in GB decal, telling me that that meant it was made in Scotland (because if it was made en Angleterre, it would say so specifically), then went on to tell me that they were made in Glasgow (well, he said 'glasgeh', but I'm pretty sure that's what he meant!) and that his mother used to work in the Singer factory in Clydebank.

She was a supervisor there during the war when they were making ammunition and Pants' da says that she has heaps of rad (ok, he didn't say rad, he probably said something unintelligibly Glaswegian) photos from the time, including one of the ladies on a break, wearing their dungarees and head scarves. I can't wait to check them out when I visit in September (YAY!) for a family wedding, I'll try to scan some, because it sounds totally Rosie the Riveter to me.

Anywho, it's a 201k, originally a treddle machine that's had the treddie disconnected and upgraded (though it still works and we're probably going to disconnect it and use it as a treddlie) with an aftermarket bakelite Singer motor and light, which you can kind of see in the photo below.

It has the paperclips design and I *think* it may be a centenial version from 1950, but I'm awaiting confirmation. It would tickle me if it was made when Pants' grandmother was working there, that would be fantastic.

All in all, it's a gorgeous machine and we're really happy with it. It was a bit less of a project than we thought it would be, considering it was all working (including the lightbulb!) and the cabinet was in great condition. It even has the key to the drawer, the manuals, an advertisment for the motor add-on and a bunch of feet, including a ruffler, a quilting foot, pintuck foot, bias binding foot, rolled hem foot and more.

We couldn't find much information on restoring antique Singer sewing machines, so this is what we did.

First of all, it's important (to us, certainly, and to collectors) that we didn't change anything on the machine, it was really all about cleaning for us.

We used a car wash, duluted in water to clean the actual machine. It's painted metal with gold decals, so take care and make sure to wring out the cloth you're using. We gave it a pretty good scrub, actually, because it had quite a bit of hardened machine oil all over the place.

Ours looked like there had been a protective film or lacquer on the machine that was coming off, but it turns out that it was old oil, so we cleaned and buffed it off.

Once we (and by we, I kind of mostly mean Pants' da) had removed all of the oil, we used a car polish to give the machine an once-over and buffed it up to a high shine. All of the chrome parts were cleaned with a car chrome polish, to remove any rough bits and surface rust.

Do not use car cleaner or polish on any bakelite parts, 60 y/o bakelite is really brittle and should only be dusted with a soft cloth. In this instance, it's also where all of the electrical bits of the motor live and you should certainly take care with a 60 y/o motor and it's wiring.

Then, we moved onto the cabinet. All of the hinges are in great condition and the spring-loaded arm that holds the top open works, too, so we just used a bit of teak oil on the wood, rubbing it in along the grain, leaving it for ten minutes and buffing it off, paying particular attention to the bit on top where the two leaves join.

Hope this helps someone get the most out of their anitque Singer.

Ours looks fantastic and is now (temporarily) residing in Pants' mother's dining room, until we move and steal it back from her.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

We call it the bandit (a Spiraling project)

Jay guessed it, it's a slot machine, or as we call them here, a poker machine (pokie!), but Pants and I call it the Bandit.

It's an Aristocrat machine, we believe from the 60s or 70s (the bottom screen is from the 70s, certainly, but it doesn't match the top screen, which is probably a bit older).

We bought it in a fairly sub-par condition. The lights worked, but that's about it. The arm would pull down a little, but not completely, the coinslot rejected and it's a big huge mass of cogs and whirring things in there.

The good thing is that this is a eary machine, before they were electronic, which means that anything wrong with it is purely mechanical, and purely mechanical is what my baby is good at (he is a real mechanical thinker, I'm really numerically-minded with a high logical problem solving ability, we make a fantastic team).

See the circle hole in the pic above? That's part of the coin mechanism. There are two tubes, one that goes straight to that hole and one that goes off to the side and drops coins into the bank underneath. We've taken off the first tube for this photo, the second is missing, so we'll construct another out of a peice of rectangular aluminium tubing or conduit.

The stickers are lifting, but in decent condition, the coin slot appears to be bent and won't allow coins into it. The keys are lost (thankfully, it's all open), all of the chrome is a mess and all of the grease in the mechanisms is hard and slowing the workings down. It has bits of fluff and coins strewn through it and it needs a good cleaning.

We think it wants to work, though. It just needs some love and encouragement. Pants' da is pretty excited about it, as a project, as are we, and he's already started polishing the chrome, just to see how it will clean up.

Blogger is making my photos look a bit crap. grrr.

New Year Projects

On new year's eve, Pants and I swung through a little antiques place down the coast and bought our first projects for the year.

First up is the delightful antique cabinet above, which we've actually already finished, and we've just gotten started on the mystery peice below.

It's a massive mess and has the potential to be an enormous headache, but we'll see.

I really enjoy working on projects with Pants.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


I'm interrupting scheduled blogging to squee about the HUGE order of Noro Kureyon Sock yarn that was *just* delivered to my house. This is a group order for Aussie Knitters on Rav, but a few of these are for me.

The colour variation in a skein is stunning, here are two balls of colour 95, it's amazing how different it looks from different parts of the skein.

Reports of it's scratchiness are NOT exagerated, it's pretty rough and it has a lot of energy, I really think it will double on itself mercilessly. Oh, well, let the great experement begin!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

big truck little tent

big truck little tent
Originally uploaded by wearespiraling
Pants and I returned last night (just in time to unpack and be in bed by 10, then awoken by the fireworks at midnight) from six days and five nights driving around NSW.

We had an absolutely fantastic trip, three nights in the diminutive tent seen above (probably should have slept in the big truck, but whatever) and two nights staying with my godbaby's family. Bliss.

We were going to stay longer but some purchases necessitated an early return and project work. More on that later.

I'm not really one for making resolutions, but if I were to make any this year, I would make these:

  • spend more time camping with Pants, off road, with dirtbikes whenever possible
  • drive more, even though that means less knitting time and relinquishing control of the ipod
  • visit my far away goddaughter and her as yet unborn sibling (the godfetus) at least twice
  • knit one project from each of my knitting books
  • make something every week, 52 projects for the year