Archive for March, 2008

Expertly modelled here by my brother Shannon, the socks also fit Alan (!), and are a good barrier for the chilly winds that have started blowing around here.


The purchase pages on Ravelry and Payloadz have been updated and the pattern will be automatically sent to your email inbox upon purchase.


I have emailed the pdf to everyone who preordered, please let me know if you didn’t receive it, I may have missed you in the mailing list. Check your spam box first just in case.


Thank you to everyone for your continued support of this project, please let your friends know about Having Hope.

Purchase the pattern: 

File size: 264KB, 5 pages. Price: US $4.95

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Well, it’s been ten days already - I can’t believe the time has gone by so quickly. I’ve managed to get quite a bit of spinning done, and have been working through a large pile of weaving books. Having Hope just needs another read-through and the maths checked and should be up tomorrow.

In-between-times I’ve been playing with the kitten and hanging out with my brothers who were both visiting this week - the first time all the family’s been at home at the same time since Shannon was married nearly 5 years ago! We dressed in our finest and had some family portraits done yesterday - It’s very difficult to get six people all smiling and not blinking at the same time!

I’m planning a couple of trips to Melbourne to catch up with friends but mostly I’ll be at the farm. Mum and I have set up a corner of the enclosed front verandah with spinning wheels and CD-player and a table for our cups of tea. We sit out there quite cosily, with Margie occasionally joining us with her knitting. From my chair there at my wheel I have a view out over the garden - full of roses in bloom - and the farm. The alpacas wander past occasionally and the goats try to jump the fence. It’s so tranquil and relaxed it’s hard to remember that I have work to do, and that I eventually have to return to the bustle of London.

We’re also getting the shed organised - the shed that’s approximately the same size as my flat (so, so jealous!). The ceiling is done, and we can start setting things up - not everything though as we have to get lining on the walls still. There are lights and power on though, and we’ve been planning the layout and trying to track down some people with muscles enough to move the rug loom.

Alan is doing well, and starting another round of treatment soon. He is able to get out and get quite a lot of things done on the farm - discovering ingenious ways of managing tasks which are difficult with his lowered energy and limited use of one arm. The socks fit, and the only problem now is pinning him down for long enough to get his boots off!

Hope to have photos next time - they take so long to upload on dial-up I haven’t bothered this time but will do soon.


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At what point in my remaining 23 hours do I admit that I won’t have time to spin and I should just pack the fibre and be done with it. Everything I want to take with me is in a big pile on the floor, and the suitcase is still empty. If I squash it all down firmly I will still be able to fit in a few items of clothing - I’ve heard it’s pretty warm out there luckily - but I keep thinking about how fibre takes up even less space when it’s spun.

Sadly, part of the reason I am waiting till the last possible moment is because I feel mean squashing wool into a squeezy, airless shrink bag :-(

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Designing for publication can be an immensly long and drawn-out process. A design can often be rejected by several sources before finally finding a home and each new venture is taken separately, as almost all publications have a no-simultaneous-submissions policy (and fair enough too).


This beret has visited a few editors over the past year and I have been waiting impatiently for a chance to share it with you. The contrasting sections are formed sideways using short-rows and then it all comes together with a 3-needle bind-off and a picked up band. I used my own silk/merino handspun and Debbie Bliss Alpaca Silk for the contrast sections.


Check it out now over at Spindle and Wheel, and make sure you have a look at the other fab stuff Allena has found for this issue as well!

(P.S. doesn’t Michelle make a great model!)

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What do you take when you’re visiting an extremely fibre-friendly household for a month (possibly longer)? With all the ideas spinning around in my head I want to take everything! There’s things I need to do, things I want to do, things I kind of want to do and are half finished so I feel obligated…

Here’s the list of possibilities (in no particular order):

- The red yarn, which I will finish spinning today and want to knit into this

- The blue fibre, which I plan to make my first weaving project

- The green fibre and silk cocoons, which go together and are the next-big-exploration

- Yarn for a Very Important Sock Project

- The Having Hope socks (well of course!)

- The fibre that is currently cooling in its dye-bath and needs to be spun up and knitted for the Loop

- The blue/purple carded batt which I don’t need any time soon but is so luscious

- the beading kit which Amy sent me and I can’t wait to start (she insists there’s no such thing as too many hobbies)

- Some knit-on-the-plane socks as none of the others are going to be dpn and I have no bamboo circs

- My Central Park Hoodie, which is almost half-finished and therefore counts as practically done

- The Treenah scarf, also half finished which is conveniently a gift for someone out there

- Bayerische no. 2

I have no trouble convincing myself that I can do all this in a month. I’m just a little concerned about the capacity of my suitcase.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m visiting a sheep farm and there’s just a chance there might be something to knit out there…

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Hi everyone,

Please note the new domain name and update all your links to


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My weekend down in Berkshire was loads of fun, I managed to find several new fibres to experiment with and played with some new spinning techniques as well. I managed to come home with only a small moderate pile of purchases - some Spin-Off back issues, Landscape dyes, a colour wheel, mini niddy-noddy, and a few hundred grams of fibre. More interestingly though - here is what I played with over the weekend…


The Camel fibre was very nice to spin. Fluffy and soft and not too short. I didn’t buy any of this as I’m not a huge fan of pale brown, and I already have a little bit of Camel in my stash.

Milk protein fibre

Milk Protein was a new one. It is a bit like soy fibre to spin, a fairly long staple and luxurious without having the annoying fly-away quality you get with silk. I have no idea what I would do with it though!

SIlk cocoons

The silk cocoons were lots of fun - they actually draft really easily: just hold the cocoon in the back hand and draw the fibres off with your forward hand. The yarn has a bit of texture, like you would get from silk hankies, and is quite fuzzy (although that might just be the low twist in this sample) I bought a load of these and have big plans for them!


I have been looking for some Possum fibre for a while - in Australia at Christmas I couldn’t even find any yarn - all the supplier had was made-up garments at that time. This is a blend which makes the extremely short fibre a bit easier to manage. It’s harder than spinning plain merino, but holds together ok and makes a lovely fuzzy yarn. I tried some pure Possum as well (see below), but need to get out my support spindle I think as it just wasn’t playing ball.

Carded merino/silk

I bought a pile of this particular batt - falling in love with the colours and texture. It’s not at all my type of fibre usually - hence the trialling of new techniques. I tend to spin smooth, crisp and reasonably fine. This batt, however, begged me to use a long-draw method and make a thicker, textured yarn. The neppy silk makes lovely little slubs and textures and the colours blend into soft squidgy yumminess. You can’t really tell from the mini skein I know, but I have 200g of this so there is more to come.


Finally, the Yak fibre (de-haired according to the label on the bag). This was also very short but not as bad as the possum. I gave up on the wheel - I may be able to get it to work but I was using a borrowed wheel and couldn’t figure out how to fine-tune it the way I wanted. I switched to a very light spindle and managed the 2-ply with no problems. It’s a lovely soft yarn, a lot like the pink cashmere I spun a while back.


These four I grabbed handfulls of but quickly realised I would need to either blend with something (we forgot to take hand cards with us), have my own wheel, or use the support spinde. I like the feel of the cotton - it’s probably going to be quite easy to draft compared to the carded cotton I’ve tried in the past.

Yesterday, as Londoners will know, was butt-bitingly freezing and rainy and windy. I decided I desperately need a new hat even though the daffodils are trying to convince us that spring is coming. So as soon as I got home, I spun up 50g of some deep burgundy/red merino I bought - it’s squidgy and yummy! Once I have the other 50g done I’m going to make a Koolhaas for me. (sorry, red is terribly hard to photograph - I’ll keep trying).

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I just spent the weekend playing with a whole hall-full of fibre! Wingham Wool Work visited Berkshire yesterday and today to run a taster session and I went along with friend Jan. For a small entry fee, visitors have the chance to bring their wheels and sample all of Wingham’s great fibres: try-before-you-buy. I’ve only just got home so I will offer photos and details of all the things I spun samples of over the next day or so.

So many ideas, so many things I could spin, tutorials to write, dyeing to do… I tried setting a budget but failed miserably of course. More later :-D

In the meantime, here’s a pic of a very fun project. (Underlining reminds me that I’m really enjoying it. Really.) One is done, the next isn’t quite cast on yet but I promise it will be. I have never suffered second sock syndrome yet, and don’t intend to start now. Anyway - I am truly enjoying this knit (most of the time).


ETA for Lucy: The pattern is the Bayerische Socks from Eunny Jang’s website.

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Thank you Ali for showing me what was right in front of me. I really did deliberate for ages over a name and eventually gave up. I plucked the blog post title out of thin air without really thinking - maybe it was a suggestion straight from God. The socks are progressing well, I’m working on the heel of the first (much more done than is shown here). The pattern, which I will give in 3 sizes, is only a couple of weeks away so if you are planning to start knitting immediately now’s the time to think about yarn choices.


I am using The Knittery 4ply Sock (Merino/Cashmere/polyamide) which was very kindly donated by Alice of Socktopus specially for this pattern. The colourway is ‘Chocolate’ and is coming up beautifully in a range of lovely browns.


This yarn is on the thick side and, with the cabling, makes a very dense, cosy fabric when knitted on 2.5mm needles. Alan’s socks aren’t really destined to be worn inside shoes and will be thick and warm for the coming Australian winter. If you have other plans for your pair, I recommend selecting a lighter yarn such as Smooshy or Trekking. Both have a great range of men’s colours to choose from.


Finally, thank you so much to all the people who have already pre-ordered the pattern. Neil was rather bemused at people buying something that doesn’t exist yet - but I told him, ‘That’s just knitters.’

x x

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A few weeks ago I posted a rather cryptic message on my blog. If you didn’t see it then you can find it here. I cannot begin to thank the many people who left heart-warming comments and sent concerned emails. My mum wishes me to pass on her thanks as well for everyone’s kind words, the whole family has read your comments and feels supported and cared for.

As some of you now know, a few weeks ago my stepfather Alan was diagnosed with cancer. He is currently undergoing treatment and by the end of this month we should know more. I will be flying back to Australia soon to spend Easter and the following weeks with my family.

In times like these it is very natural for knitters to turn to their needles for comfort, strength and sometimes just to take one’s mind off things. I have felt frustrated by being so far away and unable to help in any practical way and, turning to my needles, I have found a way - doing what I most love to do.

I am working on a design for socks for Alan. The pattern will shortly be available for sale and all proceeds will be sent to support Cancer Research. It feels like a small gesture but it has the potential to make a big difference, knitters are renowned for their amazing capacity to band together and astound those who ask for help.


The first sock is coming along nicely, chocolately cables and all. I have measurements from mum, and I expect the pattern to be ready by the end of the month. If you wish, you can pre-order by using the button below. You will be sent a confirmation email and I will forward you the pattern as soon as it is ready. The pattern will be available as a pdf initially and I hope to have printed copies done later.

Pre-order the pattern for Alan’s Socks

US $4.95

Pre-order now

I need one more thing - I am hopelessly stuck on a name for this project! Please give me your ideas, I will send a free copy of the pattern (making the donation on your behalf) to the person whose suggestion I choose.

I will post regular updates here on the pattern, with a progress shot in the next few days.

Thank you!

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