Saturday, July 28, 2012

wool, wool, more wool & a pattern.

I guess a big part of the fun of any hobby, craft, passion or profession is putting together your kit. Researching, hunting down exactly what you want, building your stash and then maintaining it all so it is there for you any time you want or need it.

Like a cook and her ingredients, a musician and her instruments, a hunter and her knives, a runner and her a knitter and her needles, patterns, buttons and wool.

As a knitter my idea of heaven is being able to knit whatever I am inspired to knit and having exactly what I need at hand to knit it. That means lots of needles of different sizes and lengths, wool in colours that we like to wear and enough metreage for anything from a hat right through to a women's cardigan.

I cannot believe it's been over a week and I still haven't shown you the delicious yarns I bought at the Australian Sheep and Wool show.

I loved every second of the shopping. The sheds full of stalls of colours, textures, and all sorts of wools. The different brands I'd heard of but never fondled. And the ideas and inspiration and loveliness. I found the most gorgeous 8ply merino wool at Yellow Cat (the grey and the blue above) and the Craft Circle (the green).

I bought all the wooden buttons I could find at the button stall. Gosh I adore wooden buttons. Now I just have to find the perfect patterns to show them off.

I bought Wooli, the recycled wool above, off some lovely women with a crafty shop in Brunswick street.

It's made in New Zealand using all the scraps off the factory floor; wool, alpaca, silk, cashmere, possum. It's deliciously soft and Indi has already claimed it for a loose knit cowl.

I also bought a few cheap one kilo bags of Pear Tree yarn. Gorgeous colours and just so terribly soft. But they are in their plastic bags and I don't want to take them out until it's time to cast on. And shiny plastic doesn't photograph all that well does it.

And lastly, we bought a couple of skeins of the most divine chunky sofTrope hand spun for farmer boy's beanies. 

My farmer boy wears a beanie every single day and is very particular about what he likes and what he doesn't. He spent a while choosing the colours, chatting with the spinner and then describing the pattern to me.

When we got home, I wound the first skein into a ball immediately. Then I found the largest circular needles I own (6.5) and casted on 64 stitches (the tram we used to catch from our childhood home into the city).

Then I knit, knit, knitted for a few hours and it was done. Speedy!! Gosh I love the chunky stuff.

In case you'd like to make your own Farmer Boy Beanie...

Cast on 64 stitches.
Join in the round.
Knit 2, purl 2 rib for about 20cm.
Decrease rounds.
1) Knit 2, purl 2 together. (48)
2) Knit 2, purl 1. (48)
3) Knit 2 together, purl 1. (32)
4) Knit 1, purl 1. (32)
5) Knit 2 together. (16)
6) Knit around. (16)
7) Knit 2 together. (8)
8) Thread the tail through all of the remaining 8 stitches.
Pull tight. Fasten off.
Darn in ends.

And please let me know if you make one, I'd love to see.

He loves it. He has barely taken it off since I cast off.

So that's me and my treasures.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend.
Are you?
Do you have anything exciting planned?
What are you making/baking/growing/going/reading?
Have you added to your stash lately?
Do you agree that the stash building can be just as much fun as the craft itself?

Bye! x

ps. I'm on The Country Style blog!!


  1. Hi! I'm crocheting ric rac (thank you for the pattern!) for a new dress...But I will make surely a Farmer Boy Beanie for my husband and for my son too!

  2. What a beautiful, inspiring post. I know exactly what you mean about wanting everything to hand, to make whatever you might feel like at any given time. The yarns you bought are just gorgeous, and I love Wooli - I've not heard of it before. I'll have to go hunt it down.

    I don't know if you have time to answer questions, but I've never bought wool in a skein before. Do you wind it into a ball before you knit it?

    Thanks xx

    1. I'm not Kate but I can give an answer to your question. Yes, you wind the wool into a ball before knitting. I used to put the skein over the back of a chair or have my patient husband hold his hands out so I could slip the wool over and then wind. Keep turning your ball around to make it even.

    2. Yes, you must wind it into a ball or it'll get all tangled up and knotted as you knit.
      First you find the middle of the skein and open it right up.
      Then you hold it open over the back of a chair or over some patient person's outstretched arms.
      Then you take the end of the skein and wind it into a ball.
      There are electronic winders but I quite like the process. It's like preparing to knit. Getting ready.

  3. Yes, you nailed the perfect beanie for Farmer Bren. High 5!

  4. I do a bit more sewing than knitting. I often find that I collect all the 'ingredients' for my project, then lose some of my enthusiasm. That's why I have so many WIP (works in progress). The beanie looks great, perfect for the chilly winter weather!!

  5. Ooh, a pattern! It looks great, I need to get some chunky wool and some chunky needles so I can make one.
    My stash is so huge but never seems to have the exact thing I need!
    And there you are on Country Style, Kate, exciting!
    I am having a lovely weekend, birthday drinks with a bunch of excitable girls and my head is not too sore today. And olympics to watch :-)

  6. The wool is gorgeous - planned to go but with lack of funds I decided not to - seeing all your lovely buys I'm a bit glad I didn't - I would have spent waaaay more than I can afford at the moment!
    But I laughed out loud at the number 64 reference - all the cool girls at school got that tram ! alas not me stuck on the Sandy line!I'm guessing you weren't at the convent school but still cool with all the boys and cool girls!

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  9. Stash building. You mean the huge cupboard of fabric i have and the boxes of yarn???? Of course it's almost as fun as the actual making process!! :-D

  10. For years I have wanted to make my husband a beanie for when he goes out with the RFS . He kept dodging it . I just went ahead about a month ago , fisherman's rib watchcap cascade worsted weight dark blue. He loved it . He finally admitted that he was afraid that I would make him something rainbow like I make the kids and that is why he kept saying no :)
    Love softrope fiber and the beanie

  11. Well, that beanie looks nice and cosy thanks for the tutorial on how to make it. I like the suitcase full of wool, my kind of stash!

  12. The first beanie I crocheted my hubby was ridiculously ugly, but he wore it, every day. I may have to make him a new one this year now that I've gotten better at it ;)
    I love that your hubby got in there and asked questions and took time picking and choosing. Mine usually just says, oh whatever you think. :D
    I crochet 98% of the time in chunky yarn, that looks so soft and lovely.

  13. Oh I can feel the warmth from here Kate, congratulations on the CS blog too! Cooking and blogging at my place when I should be cleaning my house :)

  14. I'm having a serious case of yarn envy right now!

  15. Hi there
    Wow fantastic woolshow. I passed up the opportunity to go to the armidale wool expo and am sorely sorry now!
    Right now in far north qld there's no yarn tone found easily!!
    I have just added some more meters of Eco printed plant dyed silk to my stash. I am waiting to learn how to sew t into garments, but in the meantime happily stroke it sniff it and drape it around! I posted the basic guide to how to plant dye on my blog last week Rosalindentree
    I have dyed yarn this way ( alpaca chunky) taking care to not agitate it in the hot hot water. Not boiling and leave it in overnight. Purple cabbage yielded pretty lilac and grey tones and onion skins a warm golden brown.
    In-joy of crafting

  16. Wow - those chunky beanies don't take long to make!

    I'm just about done on the granny stripe rug - its not going to be
    as big as i thought, as its not for the bed any more - will be for the couch!
    Started another one, with some big grannies in the centre...X

  17. Can't knit (wish i could ... your knits always looks so gorgoues)... but, Kate , made your mandarinalade fool... i.e. me)proof and D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. Feeling very proud and preservey ...Hx

  18. *gorgeous* even!

  19. I stash build pretty much every week...I'm addicted to yarn....and fiber festivals are the best place to discover new and lovely yarns...

  20. Thanks for sharing your new yarn. It makes my Sunday morning feel just right, sitting here sipping coffee and seeing beautiful yarn. Great hat, too!

  21. I totally know what you mean about having a stash! I just replenished with loads of vintage buttons that I'm very excited about.
    Plus at a recent antique fair I found an old record cabinet to store my yarn. The main drawer pulls out with plenty of compartments to keep everything organized...I'm in love :)

  22. Great post, the more I can point my hubby at other folks justifications for hoarding yarn the better for me. And you really did buy some great stuff :D

  23. Thank you Kate for the pattern. I have a farmer boy too who likes to whiz around on his quad and he has one bought, not natural fibre beanie...... shame. I am a very beginner knitter but I think I could give this a go. It might be the start of something BIG.

  24. firstly - yes! Constant re building of the stash is most certianly part of the fun! Just done a litte re building over the weekend at the melbourne craft and quilt fair. Can you believe you can get 100% pure silk to knit/crochet with??? I know, decadent and delish!

    Secondly thanks for the hat pattern - I've never knitted anything in the round despite owning a pair of circular knitting needles - are they the ones to use? Because...

    Thirdly, I think I'm going to have a go at your knitted hat... you make is sound so easy! And it's looks so nice. Hat's off to farmer boy on a lovely yarn selection.

    Lastly, yes quitely planning something super duper exciting... going to take over our suburban block back yard with a big mandala shaped veggie garden... 6 wedge shaped rotating beds and something pretty in the middle... yet to put pen to paper and start 'officialy' planing...but, the decision has been made. Veggie self sufficiency in the backyard whilst we wait for the 'farm dream' to come into 'being' :-)

  25. So lovely... love seeing woolly things in this cold weather! I love the name of your blog too xo

  26. Thanks for the farmer boy beanie pattern, I have been looking for one for my hubby at his request, so thrilled to have found this, it's perfect. Your wool purchases are gorgeous

  27. Thanks so much for the 'farmer boy hat' pattern Kate.
    I knitted my first hat and used circular needles for the first time thanks mostly to your encouraging post!
    Your pattern was great, simple and easy to follow - I need this as I'm not good with patterns...usually!
    Thanks again, you can see my post about here if you want

    little white dove :-)

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