knit | look | spin

Rest After Effort

August 2, 2018

Dear Readers,

The Artisans Textile Festival, part of the Australian Sheep and Wool Show extravaganza was almost two weeks ago now and it was a great success! The Bendigo Bowls Club was packed to the rafters, warm as toast and buzzing with energy. I was there on the Saturday, staffing the My Spin on Things stall which included my Natural Gradient Alpaca Shawl kits and dyed English Leicester locks. The day was a whirl, and I talked to lots and lots of interesting folks about spinning and fibre and learned so much.


It was a wonderful day and though I managed very well for most of it, afterwards my body reasserted its demands for rest and so things have been very quiet here at Needle and Spindle. Whilst there is a fantastic energy at a fibre festival, I am probably not at the stage of recovery where I could manage that kind of thing very often…but with the success of my products perhaps an online store is in my future. Food for thought indeed.

Right now, there are slow, cold walks in beautiful Ballarat, some spinning and some knitting and of course all the everyday family palaver.

I recently finished these socks, Tuff Socks Naturally #5.  The picture was taken freshly after dog walking. I really notice their warmth in comparison to my superwash merino socks. They are in super high rotation at the moment as all my other Tuff Socks Naturally socks have been off on a research adventure. Hopefully they will be back soon.

The socks are knitted from a high grist 2 ply in Ryeland fleece from Hallyluya Farm near Hamilton in Victoria. They were dyed in the fleece after scouring using Earth Palette cold dyes. Only the tips dyed so they have a lovely heather quality to them. The disorganised locks were drum carded then spun off the worsted end of the batt. The yarn moves from a dense fingering weight to a light sportsweight towards the end of the skein so I need to improve my consistency. But they knit up just fine, into a hearty, bouncy pair of socks using Anne Hansen’s Almondine design from Ann Budd, Sock Knitting Master Class (2011) Interweave Press. My only modification was to stop the lace pattern at the ankle as I prefer a smooth sock bottom in my boots. I also dropped down a needle size for the heels and toes rather than using any extra reinforcing fibres.