Thursday, December 5, 2013

Summer Knitting

If you're in Melbourne, Australia you would have experienced winter 5 days into summer today, hail storm and all!  Some people might complain about the weather but not me.  I love winter and don't mind even if it continues through summer.  Not to mention, the cooler it stays the more suitable it is for knitting!

Although I must admit, I haven't done much knitting throughout this year.  Having three children under the age of 5 meant that I hardly had time to myself.  But I'm glad to say I've made it to December and things are getting easier. The older 2 play together nicely for most of the time and they simply love having their baby brother around.  And just when I feel like I finally have gotten the hang of things, it's all going to change again next year as my oldest starts school! But there is still lots of summer fun to be had before that happens.

I've got the heater cranked up and have spent the afternoon adding some delicious new yarns to my store.  I'm very excited to have a few more yarns by Manos del Uruguay in selected colours.

Manos del Uruguay Lace is a wonderful and luxurious blend of baby alpaca, silk and cashmere. It is light but warm, and is extremely soft to touch. It would be perfect for a few of my favourite patterns: Rock Island, Gradiente and Color Affection.

If you love Manos del Uruguay's Silk Blend then you will also love Fino.  It has the same merino wool and silk blend but is a sport weight for the more refined and elegant projects. Made with a new dyeing process, they come in subtle and tonal colours which are beautiful and different to the strong colours we have been used to seeing from Manos. I personally love soft, pastel colours and have fallen in love with this range of yarn. I also can't wait to knit up these: Fino Circle Scarf, Eternidad Scarf and Martine Hat.

A yarn that has beautiful drape for summer garments is the Manos del Uruguay Serena. It is made up of baby alpaca and prima cotton and has a very versatile gauge. They are coloured using the new kettle-dyeing process which gives the yarn a heathered, stonewashed look. Some suggestions for this yarn and also some of my favourite patterns are: Chiton Pullover, Serena Shadow Shawl, Rayures, Wharton and Sofia.

We have more colours in Lace and Serena arriving soon so be sure to keep an eye out for them!

Joan xo

Monday, April 22, 2013

Yarn With Heart

One of the things that we aim to do at Wool & Flax is to support brands that have socially and environmentally friendly products.  We have a large range of yarns by Manos del Uruguay who are a part of the World Fair Trade Organization, and we are now pleased to introduce yet another brand of yarn which supports community development in economically depressed regions in South Africa, Be Sweet.

Be Sweet was created by Nadine Curtis in 2003 while living in Cape Town, South Africa.  The company gives local artisans the confidence and means to support themselves and their families through job creation programs.  Their mission is to bring socially and environmentally friendly products to fashionable consumers and help support community development around the world.  They also donate a portion of their profits to educational development programs in South Africa.

We are proud to be a stockist for them and to have some gorgeous colours from their Cotton Candy range on our shelves.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

A New Life

So I mentioned that there was a baby on the way a couple of posts ago and how I was knitting a few little things for him. I am delighted to introduce to you our beautiful boy, Ryan. He came into this world on the 1st of January. Needless to say, over the last couple of months I have been busier and lacking sleep more than usual. All well worth it though!

Life with a newborn - I am once again reminded of how quickly time goes by and how fast they grow. Those early days with them are so precious, so fleeting. Now I know why so many older women whose children have grown up gush over every newborn they come across. It is such a short and wonderful stage. Yes they are usually seen through tired and blurry eyes but to be able to cradle a small new life in your arms, there's nothing else like it. I do not look forward to the day I have my last child, knowing that he/she will be my last newborn. I guess, although I didn't always know it, I was made to be a mum.

As for knitting, I have not done any since Ryan was born and am proud to say so. Life is so precious and should be cherished. I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment with my special boy since he was born. He is growing everyday but my wool and needles will still be there unchanged until the next time I am ready to pick them up again.

Hence my new tag line for my blog "A blog about life with knitting on the side". While knitting is a great hobby to have, the rest of life also needs to be lived so I plan to blog more about the reality of life over this next year but will of course continue to update you on yarn and knitting too. And if you are in need of any knitting supplies, you know where to head! :)

Thanks for reading!

Joan xo

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Yarn!!!

Over the last few months I have been busy sourcing some new yarn for the store.  It's always an exciting time when they finally arrive! I'm happy to introduce to you some yarns from Shibui Knits.  Shibui yarn is not widely known or sold in Australia.  Their yarns are made in Peru and they only use fibers of the finest quality.

Here's some Baby Alpaca yarn by Shibui Knits, an amazingly soft and luxurious yarn.  I've got them in four basic colours, perfect for matching all clothing types.  A shawl in this yarn would be both elegant and heavenly on those cold winter days.

Shibui Baby Alpaca DK

We've also got some of Shibui Knit's Sock yarn which is spun from fine superwash merino. Sock is a touchable yet hard-wearing fingering weight yarn. In seven yummy colours, this yarn is perfect for socks, baby garments, or any fine-gauge project.

Shibui Sock


Joan xo

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Few Pretty Things to Knit

I think most knitters would agree that there are far too many pretty things to knit and not enough time to knit them in.  I always seem to find myself looking up pretty patterns on Ravelry and putting them in my favourites folder with the plan that I might knit them one day, some day, whenever that may be.

Here are a few that I hope to knit in the next year...

Ceramic Flower

I spotted this pretty cowl on Pinterest and was very glad to find the pattern on Ravelry.  It is designed to be knitted with a worsted weight yarn and I think Manos del Uruguay Maxima, with its soft and squishy 100% merino wool, would be perfect for the job.  Or if you prefer a finer, smoother DK yarn, Manos Silk Blend, with its merino wool and silk combination, would do the trick.

In Threes: A Baby Cardigan

I love the simplicity of this little cardigan and would like to knit it for one of my girls.  I would probably knit this up in Manos Wool Clasica which is 100% wool and is perfect for outerwear garments.  Perfect for keeping our little ones warm and cosy on chilly spring/autumn days!


This lovely cardigan has been a favourite of mine for awhile now.  It is a Manos del Uruguay pattern by Cecily Glowik MacDonald, one of the patterns which I have hand-picked to sell on my online store.  It is knitted in Wool Clasica.  The problem I have is trying to pick which colour to knit it in!  Aster, Citric, Cherry or Midnight... what do you think?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Preparing For A Baby

Apart from opening my wool store this year, I have also been busy growing a baby, probably part of the reason why I was also getting sick so much over winter!  As I haven't been a knitter for very long, I didn't get a chance to knit many things for my first two but my aim this time round is to have a little collection of knitted things for this next bundle of joy so here are a couple of them which I thought I'd share with you.

First, a stripe hat pattern I found in a book I borrowed from the local library called "Easy Baby Knits - Clothes & Accessories for 0-3 year-olds" by Claire Montgomerie.  In the book Claire calls this the cotton hat and uses Debbie Bliss Cotton DK but I already had some Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino lying around so I have made a wooly hat instead!  This was an easy pattern which only took me a few evenings to complete.  I made it in size 6-12 months and tried it on my 2 year old.  It fitted her although was stretched so I'm sure it will be fine for a 6-12 month old.  Can't wait to see it on the little bubs!

The other thing I'm working on is a pinwheel blanket I found on Ravelry.  I am using Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend in Deep Sea for this one.  It was a little tricky to start at first but once you get going it gets easier.  I'm not sure how big I'm going to make it yet but I want bubs to be nice and snug in it so I'll probably use at least 3 skeins.  This wool is so beautiful and soft, and the silk content just makes it devine to touch.  I'm sure the little one will feel extremely comfortable wrapped in this little number!

So there you have it.  I will definitely be adding a few more little cosy knits over the next couple of months but I'm also giving myself some time to get them done seeing we are just heading into summer now and I still have 7 months till winter!  And in case you were wondering, yes, we are having a boy! :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Princess Party

October is a busy month in our household with both daughters having their birthdays just 5 days apart.  We decided to throw a simple party just for our 4 year old and her friends but leaving the planning to my husband meant that it wasn't going to be so simple afterall.  Who would have thought that an engineer would be so good at planning a princess party?!  We called it "Princess Amber's Birthday Party and the Dragon".

Upon arrival, the girls, all dressed up in their princess dresses, got to decorate their own tiaras with glitter glue and stickers. They then got dolled up with rings, bracelets and lip gloss before heading outside where they were greeted with a red carpet lined with purple, pink and silver balloons, a princess tent, a castle pinata, afternoon tea and a treasure hunt.

 They each had to find a necklace with a key on it, which they would have to use later on in the party. The princesses got to play pin the tail on the donkey, then had a go at swinging a sword at the pinata.

 After a fairly delicate rush for the fallen lollies, they got to play duck, duck, goose and pass the parcel.  We had planned for them to decorate some mini-cupcakes too but the girls seemed too busy and happy prancing around the yard in their dresses and having their afternoon tea in the tent.

On the menu we had mini quiches, party pies, sausage rolls, chips, carrot and celery sticks, dips, fairy bread, jelly cups, cupcakes and a fruit platter.  To go with that we also had some Fruitalicious tea from T2 which is a lovely child-friendly fruity mix.  This also proved to be a hit with the adults.

Then it was cake time.  Amber had requested a tower castle cake with a princess on the top and a dragon at the bottom.  As usual, daddy dearest managed to deliver.  He used a rosewater cake recipe for the cake, made 2 layers of it, one uncoloured and the other pink. With fresh cream in the middle and purple butter cream icing on the outside, it was a lovely, moist cake.  Did I mention there was also a moat with drawbridge and chocolate rocks at the bottom?  All edible too!

 As the party was drawing to a close, of course the dragon had to make an appearance or the story wouldn't be complete.  I must admit we didn't spend much time at all on a dragon suit but at least we had fire which was made from scrunched up red and yellow streamers.  There was a mini treasure chest for each princess.  The tricky part was that they had to steal it without the dragon waking up and getting them with his fire.  The princesses seemed to have the most fun with this game and actually all managed to successfully retrieve their treasure boxes without getting caught by the dragon's fire.

 And now for the best part, they got to open their treasure boxes with the keys which they had found earlier on in the treasure hunt.  Inside they had a dragon finger puppet, golden chocolate coins, lollipops, lollies, fruity lip gloss and scented nail polish.  This was their "lolly bag" which they all got to bring home with them.

So that was our princess party, and a successful one at that!  If you'd like to hire my husband to plan a party for your child, he comes highly recommended! :)  What kind of parties have you thrown for your child?