Thursday, 29 December 2011

A Personal Entry at Year's End - warning no knitting content

This is what happens when you catch up with friends over the holidays:

You know you are ancient when you have nostalgic convos with your old uni pals. Rang an old bud from the dark ages, that period of the very early 80’s when our music was really f’in loud and our hair seriously short and crunchy. 

Well, at least mine was. Dear Donna remembered how bloody poor we were – no phones (‘cept the shite one in the halls hallway), no spending money, and really crap food. Well, I only remember eating Saturday or Sunday am after an all-night outting with friends. She recalls she did actually eat at the dining hall on occasion. Being a veg, the sight of ham salad on the salad bar, well, let’s just say it seemed safer to me to drink Tab and smoke cigarettes than trust the ‘salad’ bar.

That said, she was remembering how absolutely penniless I was one summer living in the Back Bay of Boston. Yup, I remember I had to borrow packets of 2-minute noodles from a mate who lived nearby. He lived on the things so much so that he’d buy an entire grocery store case of the suckers and glued it to his kitchen wall, with a cutout where the packets could be conveniently dispensed. Just in case you weren’t sure what that was for, there was a sign on the box that said, Take One.

I wrote a 2-minute noodle cookbook (wrote them out by hand with drawings) and gave them to friends. I wonder if anyone still has one of these gems of culinary publishing.

Good times people.

Donna also reminded me how much I pissed her off going out mid-week when she’d have a management exam. See, if you loved music, the way I did, that major was simply OUT. Too many exams. Me? I figured out early that an English and Communications major involved writing lame papers and working on ‘projects.’ No exams to cut into the club schedule you see. Donna Donna Donna, how could you not have known this?

One thing that came in handy were her management textbooks. I recall one evening when we used her Fundamentals of Management (or some such wanky title) to cut cheese slices (nice thick cutting board) to go with our Mooseheads (or was it Molson?). This was the night we decided to write fake answers to personals ads in the local cool free paper. So after a few of our missives (man wouldn’t it be great if I had a copy or two?) we sealed the envelope(s) and went for more beer at the Star Market.

Next morning I said, hey, let’s read some of those letters. She said, WHUH? After all, we had worked our way through some at least ½ a slab – no M, we mailed ‘em.

Well, that sent us into hysterics. A few days later I (I think I must have signed a few) WE got a reply. The result was a very strange d00d and one really strange song Kenne Highland wrote called Froggy. Uh, I kinda helped over a lunch break. Do I have a copy of the recording session still? Oh yes I do. Can you hear it. No you can’t.

Good times Donna. I’ve decided I’ve remained in contact with D when I’ve not done so with anyone else from that time. Why? Insurance. She knows way too bloody much.

Friday, 23 December 2011

A Christmas Gift from SWTC and SIOz

A big thank you to Jonelle Beck and the entire SWTC family and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year (for those of you who don't celebrate Christmas) from them (and us) to you!

Here's the latest SWTC enticement for your needles, with a little help from Stranded In Oz.

2010 Knitter's Club members will recognize this scarf as the Dark Rainbow Scarf -- here it's been knitted in the divinely soft Infatuation by Treisur. Am I infatuated? Yuh, it's fabulously soft and has a nice stitch definition for a bamboo-blend sock yarn. Mmmmmmmm. Did I mention this is also my favourite scarf?

Customers who order 2 balls of Infatuation from Stranded In Oz 'til the end of January will automatically receive this pattern with their order, starting today. The stocks are a bit low (xmas shoppers, thank you!) but MORE is on the way.

 Infatuation by Treisur

Monday, 12 December 2011

Next time someone asks you why you knit wool jumpers...

Check out this article from Mother Jones -- just adds some nice fuel to the anti-fleece argument fire. I reckon ditto goes for the plastic-based fleece-type yarns?

Ah well, there goes my guilty pleasure sleeptop -- the one I knitted out of microfibre. Then again, chucking that into a bin will pollute something for sure. Hmmm. Recycle it into what?

So when someone in your family or circle of friends says, really, what's with the woolly jumper knitting, you can say, well, it won't harm the oceans, it keeps Australian sheep farmers in business (buy it here please), supports local retailers, provides clothing for me and my family, and brings me hours of entertainment and relaxation as well. How many people can claim that for their hobby?

I've been cooking up an article about why I love sustainable man-made fibres from natural sources, like soy. Stay tuned for that after my next deadline this week!

Bye for now, Melf

Saturday, 3 December 2011

December? Really?

Getting into the holiday spirit here at SIOz Central -- this means holiday orders amongst the usual juggling of painting, designing, and writing. Can't say much at present, as been busy restocking and tackling the monumental task of sorting out mill orders for 2012.

Check out the new gift category on the webshop if you are so inclined. I've been steadily planning what to put there for you fab knitters, crocheters, and spinners, and felters.

Back to the workpile, which includes some sorting for tomorrow's Port Market.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

A word about TOES. Sock. Toes. Really.

A Sock For Helen

Sock Toes. Who'd think this topic would generate interest? Not me. But I was wrong. Especially after talking about socks with knitters in Adelaide this week.

As a dedicated sock knitter, the importance of toes, and heels, does not escape me. The topic first caught my attention around 5 years ago, when I was knitting Sister Socks by yes, my sister, Bitsy. The subject came up then as we discussed the virtues of round vs standard toes, as only sock designers are want to do.

Anyway, I fell in love with the round toe and made many a pair with it. But then, I decided I needed to knit it from the toe up. I hunted around both in books and online, but could find no reference to it at the time.

Then, later on, I found a reference to it in another sock knitting quest, in Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. Alas, she didn't elaborate, (just a few lines!) but it added a nice weight to my obsession. We knitters, for the most part, understand that knitting is a communal craft and that innovation is a risky word. I like to err on the side of caution and use the Elizabeth Zimmermann assumption that it's unvention. Thanks to Ms. Schurch, I wasn't the only knitter who thinks it's a good toe.

Anyway, years later and I'm still extolling the virtues of the toe up round toe. Why?
  1. It's easy to get started – no fancy, special cast ons necessary
  2. It's forgiving – only a few sts to get started and off you go. You can adjust the stitch numbers further up the toe if it gives you trouble
  3. Because it's symetrical, you can choose where to insert a heel further down the line – very nice if you are a procrastinator and can't decide where you want your heel to go
  4. It's teachable – for people who are scared off by casting on 64 sts for a sock from the top, it is easy to manage the limited number of sts for new users of dpns
 Baby Beantoes

I'm sure there are more reasons than those above, but suffice to say, I'll keep knitting socks with this toe. And yes, there are some limitations to it, but hey, I'm sure we'll figure those out too, or just embrace them as an excuse to try something else that's new.

 Dark Rainbow Socks

Melissa, where it's summer and that means sock knitting season

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Moggy Doggy Bragging Rights from Stranded In Oz

Check out these beautiful socks from A. F. -- what a lovely surprise -- a finished pair of Moggy Doggy Socks in person! Thank you so much for showing them to us at the Fair. They are fantastic -- and her own take on where to put the moggy and doggy motifs.

The show has been so much fun thanks to the amazing knitters of Adelaide -- and sock enthusiasts!

If you would like to make your own pair of Moggy Doggy socks, stay tuned, the 4ply version kits will be available asap. I'll post a message or two and on Ravelry.

Bye for now -- it's been a long Saturday. See you at the Craft Fair tomorrow. Melissa

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair -- Nov 3-6

Hello knitters, spinners, felters, crocheters, and lovers of all things yarny. I'm home now after a marathon session of setting up my Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair Booth. B17 -- come on down!

I must say, the booth is looking spiffy -- yes I have the camera ready to take a few piccies before the doors open at 10:00 am.

I will be at this fair all weekend. If you happen to get to the Port Markets instead, Richard will be on duty to assist -- the summer selection is there -- all the really great summer knitting bargain balls are out, including a rather delightful Mako cotton ribbon -- available to Port Markets shoppers only -- it's a crazy bargain at $3.50AU per ball. I'm so taken with it, I've naughtily stashed a few balls for summer. Shhhhh.

See you at the Craft Fair! Melissa

Friday, 28 October 2011

Stranded In Oz Glinda Sock Project Piccies on a Friday!

Here's Anna's version of the Glinda Sock -- shown in October Sock Club colorway, Fresh Lemongrass.

Thanks so much for the piccie Anna! She's done her own thing with the toe and heel (original uses diff. stitch and toe construction).  Looking fabulous Anna!

Keep those project piccies coming knitters and spinners!

Since I live in virtually a spin and knit-free zone most of the time, I treasure the projects you make.

Back to the woolpile.  See you at the Adelaide Craft and Quilt Fair, Nov 3-6, Adelaide Showgrounds. Check the webshop for details -- email or ring if you have questions.

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Week That Is Show Prep

Hello from SIOz Central, where I'm up to the neck in dyelots -- and the rainclouds roll in. Not to fear, as plan B is in progress.

The inevitable result of rain, dyelots, and normal orders is the feeling that I'm always behind on something. Situation normal.

I could pretend to be superhuman and have some magical backup stock of photos to share, but that would be complete fantasy. Nevertheless, the SIOz club packs went out as scheduled last week. And the highlight of that was the fibre that went out (well, it was a hard pick, as the socks put a smile on my face too).

I've admitted to a softspot for pin drafted fibre -- and the best of those are American Cormo and Rambouillet. So this month it was a special treat for the spinners -- the Pretty Good Green Rambo.

The Glinda Sock is the October Knitter's Project -- I've been alternating toe up and top down patterns -- as well as difficulty levels for the sock patterns throughout the year. This one is meant to be a good non-stress project after the tech-intensive Moggy Doggy for August.

The stitch in the Glinda Sock is a variation of the Embossed Wave Stitch -- it's zazzy without a lot of effort. I've added some texture to the heel and toe to integrate with the stitch. I hope those of you who are clubbies enjoy making this sock as much as I do.

It's Monday -- which is errand day in this household. So it's off to do the boring maintenance errands that suck the life out of a day off.

Til next time, Mel

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Back at the Port Markets Sunday October 9th

Hello and thank you to all the knitters who have sent welcome home messages. It's great to hear from you all. Esp. kind have been the messages regarding the 2 Stranded In Oz sock designs in the latest issue of Yarn Magazine. If you are having trouble getting a hold of a copy, we've got some in stock online and at the Markets.

As you can imagine, the workshop is full of sorting jobs, drafts needing editing and orders to be cleared. The backlog that is a result of my travels in Sept is nearly cleared. Thank you all for your patience and good will.

I'll be at the Port Markets at last -- tomorrow. Thank you to Richard, the Shrek, and to Eric Corbin for keeping the place going while I was overseas. You are the best!

The shop will get an overhaul for Spring and Summer, beginning tomorrow. Out comes the cellulose and more sock yarn -- away goes the thick wool. If you, however, need something wintery to work on as a big long project, just let us know, as the yarn will be there, but not out on the displays.

For specific specials and product information -- keep an eye on the webshop blog.

I wish I could say I have a giant stack of photos to share from America, but really, most of my time was spent with my overseas family. In between catching up there was the Knitter's Day Out (which was fab) and a trip to Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival, where I finally caught up with Jim, the master spindlemaker.

Just when I thought it might be safe to visit their booth, he's gone and made wheels! Oh yes!

 And yes, he makes stools to match. Single and Double Treadle choices, the Hilltopper is Jim's new baby. And it's real wood of course. Love it.

There's nothing like talking to someone who's spent a lot of time and thought designing a new spinning wheel. And Jim and Susan are ace people to talk spinning with.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Here's what I'm missing in Oz!

Lyta with Maddie, the Mastadon

The above is a photo of my beloved Lyta, snoozing with a toy she swiped from me! She likes to keep it close and give the tusks a cleaning every once in a while.

Here she is snuzzling under the handspun, hand-painted blanket I knitted last year! Cheeky monkey! I miss my Grl heaps.

And I miss this guy here:

Yes, he refuses to let me take a decent photo of him so bad luck, this is what I am able to post! Perhaps this will allow a better photo shoot in future!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Knitter's Day Out 2011

Just one more sleep until the 2011 Knitter's Day Out! The yarn is safely nestled into its tubs, the patterns are labeled and printed. The ridiculously huge US truck is full of petrol and ready to roll.

For those on the other side of the planet -- hello and yes, I'm homesick.

Online Shop: the new Hiya Hiya gear is starting to arrive and is loaded under it's own category on the shop. New bamboo interchangeable needle sets at an affordable price! There are also some mighty cute accessories to add to your collection of knitter's gear, including the insanely cute Dumplings.

There are also some new circulars in 2.25 in the Hiya Hiya steel tips -- after requests from sock knitters to stock a good, solid knitting needle for 'magic loop'. Check 'em out! Nice tips, smooth joins. Mmmmm.

Happy knitting from Easton, MD. 

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Bon Voyage for this week

Check out the shopblog for the ltd time discount offer to help send me off to the USA!

Note: thank you to the customer who asked -- seriously, Kollage Square needles really are different. I wouldn't sell them if I didn't think so. Sure, they cost a bit more than some brands, but the square tips (greater stitch control and really, they make your knitting look really tidy) and the no-memory lines that connect the circs are totally different than other brands.

Yes, the Kollage people do make the sturdier lines now for the circs, but I reckon it's the revolutionary no-memory lines that make them a pleasure to knit with, esp. for tired wrists.

I thought I'd put my money where my mouth is and run this special. See how you go with a pair.

There's so much I would like to write about show prep, workshop prep, and the new yarns and designs, but I'm pushing my luck this week. 

Enjoy your taste of Spring if you are here in Adelaide. See you this Sunday at the Port Markets or online!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Did Someone Say SOCKS and COLOUR?!

Check out the latest title by Jonelle Beck and Katherine Cade - Socks a la Carte III - Colorwork. They've even put up a free pdf sock pattern to give you just a taste of what's in the new book. Thanks SWTC!

And yes, Stranded In Oz is a contributor to the fun. I really enjoyed Socks a la Carte II (toe ups!) and can't wait to get my hands on the newest volume. Remember, one lucky Stranded In Oz Knitter's Club member will win a copy of this new book. To order, please consider keeping your purchase in Oz -- check out Colonial Lake Books. Brenda is ACE and an Aussie-based bookseller. 

Back to the dyelots and prep for KDO!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Yarn and Fibre Adoptions Successful -- It's Melf's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to myself. Well, it's very early in the am and the dog and hubby have already wished me a happy birthday. Not quite sure of the hubby as he is NOT a morning person. It's rather pathetic --walks into walls, answers to Fred. Ugly am man.

Lyta, the Kelpieweiler Princess, just rubbed her eyes with her paws, yawned, and rolled over to sleep again.

Inspiration: yesterday, the Intrepid Knitter popped by, and I was grossly distracted by her very cool PURPLE CORDUROY Converse sneakers. I now covet them very badly. When I inquired where they were found, she replied -- online shopping!

It has been said numerous times that I flunked shopping. So this am, I have been perusing for cool stuff online. And found this:

Isn't it pretty? From Threadless. Now, I need to knit a t-shirt T-shirt in return. So there!

We're not Threadless here at Stranded In Oz!

Special thanks to the knitters, felters, spinners, and crocheters who came by yesterday at the Port to get some rare SIOz bargains. Well, there are a few hanks of Mitey Sock left to go to Mt. Pleasant. MSock is one of the yarns I used in socks for the Sept Issue of Yarn Magazine (pre-orders cheerfully taken from SIOz online). The ltd edition merino/alpaca (80%/20%) is now missing Robin Hood, but the other colours, Sherwood Forest, Maid Marian, and Friar Tuck are still available. There will be some new lots for this Fair.

Hello and thanks to the 2 knitters from Melbourne who graciously put up with the bags and bins that was the Market stall yesterday. I love it when you find just what you are looking for.

There, in the crazy oddball bin of mohair blends from Turkey, was THE BALL Melbourne Knitter #1 was needing to finish a project. Glad it was there for you and thanks for taking the time to come up the Port Adelaide. Please send a piccie so we can see how it turned out!

We've all done it -- you know, bought some yarn for somethingorother. Then, once you've into the project, disaster. Need just one. bit. more. To finish. It can drive you nuts when this happens, so I really sympathised with this knitter's problem. The knitting goddess was smiling yest.

It may be my birthday, but it's back to the work I go. CU at the Port Markets, online, and at Mt. Pleasant this Saturday. M

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Show Returns Sale on for this weekend at Stranded In Oz

We -- the wool and me that is -- are back from the Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair. Four days of nonstop crafting mania! Thanks to some timely help from Melanie and Merilyn Scott, I made it through. And a special thanks to the Machine Knitters who lent a hand on Thursday!

A special thanks to the incredible knitters who stayed late in the day to catch my intro to sock knitting workshops. There are going to be some very well-clad feet in Melbourne! I really appreciate your enthusiasm and interest -- be sure to send us jpg's of your lovely sock creations.

The patterns and orders were shipped today -- if for some reason you don't receive your pattern envelope or emailed PDF, please contact me. There were so many pattern requests that the postie loves me now.

This Sunday at the Port Markets, Adelaide:

There are broken lots and lone hanks needing homes back from on the road. All will be marked down accordingly -- so for those of you who missed Bendigo Sheep and Wool, please come on up for a fondle of the hanks of yarn and balls of fibre.

In addition, I will bring a few of the new Namaste Mini Messengers and Skinny Minis. They're both ACE! The new Namaste gear is now loaded online and ready to ship or place an order for Port Markets pickup.

These new Namaste, Inc. bags are roomier than they sound -- larger than the Bitty Bag, but not as huge as the regular Messenger. I am so in love with this bag, as I like the messenger style roominess at the top.

And look at the cute new case -- she's a beauty!

Mt. Pleasant Fleece and Fibre Fair -- August 13th -- Stranded in Oz will be there with new lots of the latest sock wools. Yes, that includes the new Glinda, the Good Wool. She'll be there in her sparkly goodness.

 Glinda, the Good Wool from Stranded In Oz

The above shot of Glinda was taken by Jonelle Beck at SWTC. Thanks J for the awesome piccie of Glinda!

BAH-LING! The String Me Along sequined yarn on cones is nearly sold out, but more is on the way. Ditto for the new metallics -- JAZZ. For you hand-spinners, you'll love plying with this new carry-along BLING!

Must run -- new dyelots are needed for Mt. Pleasant and then, the KDO, PA! 

See you online and at the Port Markets on Sunday, Melissa

Thursday, 21 July 2011

SIOz back on the Road for Melbourne Craft and Quilt Fair

Yup, just as I headed back to Adelaide -- chucked laundry in machine, patted needy pooch, nursed hubby who has a nasty cold, it dawned on me that I have to go back to Melbourne in a week. Wheeee. Thank you to all the incredibly talented people who came by the booth at the Sheep Show. I love to see what you are making!

YAY! For you Melbourne/Victorian Stranded In Oz enthusiasts, I have 4 FREE TICKETS to the Craft and Quilt Show to give away. First emailed, first won, so email melissa AT strandedinoz DOT com and if you're quick, you may win a $16.00 ticket! That's a damned fine savings. Means more $$ to spend on cool craft gear at the show, right? Update: They're gone!

This Sunday at the Port Markets: more hanks of Dye! My Pretties :-). The BSWS response was incredibly positive re this yarn. Thank you everyone who purchased it. I hope you enjoy knitting with it as much as I did painting it!

I'll be posting a show preview early next week.

Since I'm on another dye schedule, I'll keep this entry brief.

Knit in good health and happiness, Melissa

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Off to Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show 2011

The wool is ready. The car has been emptied in preparation. It's all good here at SIOz Central.

In brief:

  • for online customers, please note that orders placed from 13/7-19/7 will be shipped 20/7. If you have a query regarding a SIOz product, ring 0409 859 219.
  • The Port Markets Shop is open this Sunday -- Richard will be there to assist you. There are fresh hanks of sock wools and some lovely new hanks of 10ply as well as a few more goodies in the Lone Hank Hamper. The bamboo needles will be there too.
  • Namaste bags and accessories as well as the Kollage Square Needles will be in Bendigo at the Show
Thank you to the incredible knitters who came by on Sunday to have a chat and to check out the new yarns and fibres. The new Glinda, The Good Wool is getting a lot of attention. This yarn is a traditional sock yarn (some nylon for strength) plus a little bit of bling. It's incredibly soft and lovely to knit with.

Special hello to Theresa who came by to learn to use a drop spindle.

If you're at Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show do stop buy and see what's new at SIOz! And of course, if you've been by before, be sure to show us your FO's!

Back to the show prep, Melissa

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Pre-Show Fun at SIOz

Hi there -- I'm in finish everything NOW mode. This season has been a bit crazy, as design deadlines have coincided with painting deadlines. Madness all around.

Check out the shopblog this week for a SNAP special discount. This is your chance to grab a further discount on the Namaste gear in stock before it goes to shows. I won't be restocking some designs, as the newer models come in stock. Still a nice selection here.

Some colour for your day:

Glinda, the Good Wool - 75% wool/25% nylon with a touch o' bling

Stranded Silk Sock
The above colour has been painted in both Glinda and the divine Stranded Silk Sock. Very distracting as I have other work to do. There are also hanks of Glinda and Stranded Silk Sock in a beautiful pale blues mix that I've nicknamed Heaven. It is truly heavenly. If you want to get your hands on this yarn... come by the booth at BSWS or the Melbourne Fair (see info below).

The Port Shop is still amply stocked with new yarn and colours -- most of the new yarns are going on the road, but don't worry if you are a local SIOz enthusiast -- I have special yarn at the Port, including more At the Quilt Shop and some new Fairies in the Garden hanks. 

bye for now -- Mel

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Show Dates and News from Stranded In Oz

Glinda, the Good Wool from Stranded In Oz

Wow -- it really is that time of year! I'm just now coming out of the rainbow fog that is show dyeing. Thanks so much to everyone who's come by on Sundays to help keep me going. Your encouragement and enthusiasm keep me going.

So much news, and so little time! Here are some SIOz highlights:

Check out the new information regarding Socks a la Carte III: Colourwork
This is a really cool series of books for sock knitting enthusiasts and you won't want to miss this volume. Click on the link above and see what I mean! I had a lot of fun contributing to this book from Jonelle Beck and Kat Cade, along with all the other fab contributors. Go on and pre-order yours today.

CLUB MEMBERS: one lucky Stranded In Oz knitting club member, subscribed from August through December will win a copy of this book!

SHOWS: I'll be at Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show July 15, 16, 17 -- orders placed online or via email will be filled upon my return to Adelaide after the 20th. If it's an urgent request, ring the landline listed on the website and Richard will help you.

Melbourne Craft and Quilt: July 29, 30, 31 at the Melb Exhibition Centre -- where I'll be there with all the new yarns and fun things for knitters and crocheters to play with.

The Fleece and Fibre Fair -- Mt. Pleasant, SA Saturday, Aug 15th. A lovely day out in the Hills with the amazing people from SACSOS.

I'll be doing my utmost to try to keep this blog up to date, but please forgive me if I get behind. As always, I will check my email and mobile for messages.

Knit, spin, crochet, felt in good health and happiness.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

blog lagging

Hello from SIOz Central where the dyeing just keeps on going! I wish I could say I've got a clear list in my head, but to be honest, the colours are going faster than I can list.

If you are wondering what is heading up to Bendigo... here's few hints (not a full list):
New yarn in Robin Hood colours -- this is a charming merino with a touch of alpaca fine yarn -- approx. 225m per 50gms. It's incredibly lovely in this colour group and I'm sooo wanting to play with it. But onward...

Select hanks of Uruguayan merino lace in some oldies but goodies, including Drama Queen, Banjara Quilt (haven't painted THAT in a while and why, I do not know), as well as a few others that people have requested. I've done a few hanks of Dye! My Pretties in the same colours. Just for fun!

There will be several specials for July, so check back every so often for those. In the meantime, thanks for reading the blog and for your enthusiasm!


Friday, 17 June 2011

Beautiful Knitting and Yarns for the Weekend of June 19, 2011

Hello and thank you to everyone who came by on the holiday weekend. Enjoy your yarn and fibre.
And a special thanks to the people who shared their beautiful work.

Piecepatcher, Colleen, shared this photo with me and I have to post it -- I'm behind in the blogging!

Colleen's Piecepatcher (Rav) beautiful shawl knitted 
in SIOz hand-painted mohair/merino lace

The yarn used in this shawl is some mohair/merino I purchased from the good people at Kraemer Yarns, PA. It's been given the SIOz treatment of course and there are just a few hanks left -- in Floral Purples and in Cork, one of my more popular greens. Mmmmm. Green!

Here are some yarns to tempt you this weekend:

Glinda, the Good Wool -- new sock yarn from SIOz 
75% wool/25% nylon with a touch of lurex

This yarn as been torturing me this week as I work on show and design projects. But you, my dear yarn addicts can get yourself a hank of Glinda this week. There's more drying at the moment, in what I can only describe as a psychedelic serendipity. Totally, like, think Haight Ashbury.

Also ready for the needles -- more Dye! My Pretties!:

Fairies in the Garden -- Dye My Pretties Sock Yarn 

 Dark Ochre - Dye! My Pretties Sock Yarn

I have to admit it, it's going to be difficult to part with the new lot, Fairies in the Garden. There's just something about this dye lot that makes me smile. And the Dark Ochre is a tonal mix, for knitters who want less contrast for those more complicated stitches that need some colour, but not to be over-powered by wild yarn.

There are more lots to come, including a lovely purple-dominated Winter Floral mix that is drying at the moment.

Thanks as always to you all. There is no way for me to adequately express my gratitude for your continued support and enthusiasm for what I do. But thank you.  

Saturday, 11 June 2011

There. That's Better! And thank you!

Antarctica, AU Dye! My Pretties!

The sun came out just in time to take some photos! Here are some new ones of the latest lots of Dye! My Pretties! The newest lots have been loaded online.

And here's a photo of the free glove pattern to go with the luxury cashmere and cashmere/merino hanks for the weekend. The colour shown is Loaded Dog. This glove features a gusset shaping that works for either hand, making it easy to work up quickly.

A big thank you has to go out to everyone who voted for my Under the Sea Sock for the Cherry Tree Hill Sock Contest. I didn't win, but that's ok, because I sold the pattern this week to a different yarn company. I'll let you know when it becomes available for you to knit!  I hope all of you who voted got some consolation by getting the discount voucher from CTH. Mmmmm. Supersock!

CU at the Port Markets this weekend, and online. M

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Photos? Yarn and darkness do not mix

Apologies to those of you who've been trying to glimpse the new colours for this weekend. The lack of decent light -- and a busy weekend made for terrible photos. The one's I've got just don't cut it.

New lots for this weekend include Dye! My Pretties!:
Argus -- a mix of beetroot and pink
Bel Air Green -- very eucalypty
Easton Green -- Piney Green -- very dark
Antarctica AU -- icy, chilly blues

There are also lots of Will Scarlet and Dark Pear Green in the squidgy Merino4 Premium

A few hanks of Merino8 Premium will be available -- what's left after a run for a shop.

For weekend hrs, please see previous post.

What's next? There are some more announcements re Stranded In Oz in the next few weeks.

Lots for next week include:

Stranded In Oz's new sock wool -- GLINDA, the Good Yarn! This yarn is a traditional wool/nylon sock yarn with a thread of silvery, spangly lurex in it -- subtle sparkle for special feet. It takes dye more intensely than the Kraemer Silver.

More lots of Toe-Toe, the hand-dyed Tofutsies from Oz (in a long-awaited Woodland Creatures) and some more Dye! My Pretties! including a very Aussie, ochrey mix. as well as a bright blend of Winter Floral in blues and hot pinks and a very vibrant version of jade green.  Yowza!

Club packs go out on the 15th this month. Hey, you know, if you are currently a 6-mos subsciber, you are eligible to use your club discount on the resub. Clever knitters!

And... if you have been thinking of joining -- you can use your Ravelry SIOz one-time intro discount to join too. Because Aug's pack takes a bit more prep than some of the others, the sooner you sub would be greatly appreciated here at Oz Central.

CU online and at the Port Markets.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Queen's Birthday Specials and Kaz's First Sock!

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend: Stranded In Oz will be trading both Sunday and Monday for the long weekend. To Port Shoppers, please peruse the online shop -- and if you wish, order ahead. There are of course yarns that haven't been loaded online yet, but if you see something you want to buy, do so now to avoid disappointment. Choose Store Pickup for your shipping option.

And, to celebrate the Queen's birthday, I'm running a special on the luxury side. What else? Cashmere.

This weekend, I will have the Cashmere DK and Cashmere/Wool DK on sale -- 90gms of hand-painted luxury yarns -- each pack will have 3 hanks of yarn and a pattern for gloves. $19.99 for cashmere/wool and $24.99 for the pure cashmere. You won't find these yarns any where else -- they are luxury spun yarns done for a European brand. I've got the lot here and am continuing to dye it until it's gone.

I am endeavouring also to top up the Lone Hank Hamper and the bargain yarns -- for fun scarves and other nice things to knit this winter.

Something to share from Kaz:

Kaz has been majorly bitten by the spinning and knitting bug -- here's her first sock! Spun in SIOz merino/lyo (that's the fibre I'm featuring this month for the club) -- she spun hers from the Queen Anne's Garden mix.  I was blown away by her socks! Thank you to Kaz for giving me permission to post these piccies.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Socks Away, tidying up, moving forward

I have a deadline hangover. That's right -- the files are emailed, the garments have been confirmed received (until they are confirmed safe, there's that few days where you think, AusPost, please make sure the hand-knitted X arrives safely. Puh-leeeese).

And today, I have a deadline hangover. Hearing slightly off (that could just be the Van Halen hangover from the 80's -- no earplugs, head in giant Marshall stack), slightly dizzy, prone to napping with doggie.

And just when I thought it was safe to go to the computer, there are more files that need attention.

Today, I've tidied up the webshop a bit, added a few colours to the Dye! My Pretties! range, including the very subtle, very soft and pretty Blue and Paler Purple WF Mix. The colour shifts are very subtle in this dyelot -- the photo just doesn't capture this at all!

Dye! My Pretties in Blue and Paler Purples

I've also uploaded new photos of some of the Merino 4 Naturals yarns -- my fave scarf yarn at the moment.

Destined for the needles: new designs for 2011 and 2012. More socks, more shawls, and some more larger projects. I've been obsessed with a cardigan idea on and off for way too long and that needs my attention.

There's a heap of news regarding SIOz and shows both here in Australia and my work in the USA. Will try to keep you posted asap. Stay Tuned. First up of course is Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show in July. I hope to see some of you there!

Club Updates: the yarn and fibre are ready to rock and roll. I'm fully subbed on the lots that are ready. If you've been thinking of joining, the subs for the second half of the year are open. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding. I'm pretty damned excited about June's sock. The colour is decidedly DARK and rich -- just right for a warm pair of socks or a lovely winter scarf.

As much as I want to sneak a piccie on the blog, I don't want to ruin the surprise for the subscribers. The colourway for both clubs is Melbourne Twilight -- a purple-dominated colour.

Off to giftwrap the darling husband's birthday gift. Tomorrow we celebrate by going to see the new X-Men flick. Yup, his choice for sure.

Best X-Men pic ever!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

New Article by SIOz in YARN Issue 22

Ahoy Mate-eees! It's time for the Winter issue of YARN magazine, the Aussie Indie mag for fibre addicts. And in this issue you will find an article by yours truly. It's a rather short description of my thoughts on wool and Aussieness. I was rather sedate in my commentary, which for those of you who've discussed the issue of global business and local wool selling, will already be familiar. If you'd like to read this issue, I've loaded copies on my webshop. And if you have any little pirates around you, you may just have to knit one for them.

Dye! My Pretties! - the newest SIOz sock yarn is available in the first colourways of the season. I'm very excited about this yarn as it is a really nice match between yarn type and the way I paint. The results are just what I was looking for in a sock yarn for 2011.

Keeping it brief for now, as the worktable awaits, M

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Thank you and what's happening at SIOz

Well, it's been a busy week here at SIOz Central. Amongst the winter knitting and various projects, I've managed to get the dyelots going -- sleep obviously is at a minimum, but still at a healthy level (don't worry Melanie!). These will take longer to dry as the humidity level has gone up again.

I've been tackling the new sock yarn lots. This week -- it's reds and more softer florals, including a version of one of my favourites, Timberlake (a bit of sky, a bit of water a bit of trees). This week's is a dusky version with a tinge of light purple. We're still chewing on names on the Ravelry group, so hop on and you too might win a free hank of new, fresh, sock yarn! Thank you to everyone who's played along -- keep those suggestions coming.

There are more hanks of 8 and 4 ply blues and purples, with a nice mix of Rome (see prev postings) and a complementary blue.

Here's a photo of the hood I am still playing with. I'm trying to get this one off my back -- I broke my leg last year just after sewing in the ends. Seriously, this hood has some bad juju I'm trying to get out. Anyway, it's knitted in SIOz Merino 10. Very warm and I think will be reknitted in something lighter before I've said FINISHED for this design. Hmmm.

The Hood by SIOz

Cable Close Up for The Hood

Amongst the yarns that I HEART very much in the SIOz line at the moment are the cashmere treat hanks -- here are some piccies of the latest colours loaded:

ink marle in 100% cashmere dk

dark orchid in 100% cashmere dk

I've checked the going rate for 50gms of cashmere online (well, the european good stuff anyway) and it, on sale, runs around $32.00 per 50gm. SIOz hand-painted cashmere dk is $12.50 for 30gm/75m hanks. This yarn has brilliant stitch definition and is lovely to knit with. 3 hanks makes a pair of women's mittens.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Name That Sock Yarn

Kraemer Sterling - Hand-Painted by SIOz

Supersocke Silk in SIOz Pretty Good Green

It occurred to me as I started running the new sock yarn lots that I needed a name for the yarn. I've labeled it Stranded Sock, my catch-all name for regular sock yarn. But I really need a name for this one.

Wanna win some new sock yarn? Just join the Stranded In Oz group on Ravelry and offer your suggestions on the Name That Sock thread. You might just get your name chosen. I welcome a healthy debate on names. Best name wins! Who decides? The group should take care of that for us nicely! SIOz knitters aren't a shy bunch.

Here's another peek at the new yarn, in a run of my Winter Florals.

100% Superwash wool -- spun for socks
This yarn needs a name!

The green yarns shown above are lone hanks I ran last week. The Supersocke Silk is a test hank -- of the new yarn base from Cherry Tree Hill. The Sterling was the last of the lot I had and it said it wanted to be green. Really!

It's back to the needles for me. Mel

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Not sick of sock knitting. Nup

Foreground: Stranded Sock 100gm/360m superwash wool
spun for sock knitters

Greetings from Oz central, otherwise known as the place where 100gm hanks of superwash woolly goodness threaten to bury the inhabitants.

That's right -- Mr. Delivery D00D arrived this am with my much-anticipated boxes of socky fun. Only problem? It came un-dyed. I somehow forgot to clone myself in an alternate universe, dye it, then ship it to myself over here. Ah well.

In the midst of the wool pile, I'm immersed in some sock designs - what else would I be doing right now?

I was thinking as I unpacked boxes -- I tend to design in my head doing other things -- that it's the minutia of knitting stitches that attracts my attention. Tweak this, swap that, and suddenly, the whole thing looks different. As you can imagine, I spend a lot of time doing this.

So this week, I have in front of me 2 very different projects -- a completely natural sock (I like to work in un-dyed yarn as a change of pace) as well as a decidedly oceany blue sock.

Ravelry: thank you to everyone who has joined us at Oz Central on la Rav. Some of you very clever knitters are already taking advantage of the Thanks For Joining SIOz on Rav discount of 15% off your next order. This offer is only good on regularly-priced items and is a one-time only offer. No additional discounts apply. And yes, it's good on Namaste, Inc. products, thanks for asking.

Want to join the fun? Join Rav, the SIOz group, then email me at melissa AT strandedinoz DOT com and I'll send you the handy discount code. Most of the time I can figure out who you all are, but sometimes your fun Ravatar names don't immediately connect to your 'real' names.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Winter Chill Down Under -- we love it

Ocean Blues Superwash Sock Yarns -SIOz

The first blast of cooler air has finally hit Adelaide and I, for one, am loving it.

Fun and games this week for me here in the workroom. What arrived? Well, many kilos of... the wrong yarn. From the mill. *sigh* Lemons from lemonade you ask? Yes, well... since the cost of shipping it back were ridiculous and decidedly UNGREEN, I've negotiated a way out of the headache on this end. Not ideal of course, but at least I can put the Panadol back in the cupboard! LOL Here's a piccie of the new ooopsie yarn:

I ran a lot in a darker version of Forbidden City. It positively glows!

What's at the Port Markets this week?

Mixed lots of special yarns -- when I say mixed lots... I grouped individual yarns by type and dyed them in the same lots.

Ocean Blues (above) -- haven't run this one for a while, so was pleased to do so this week. Didn't think they would dry in time, but hey presto -- all superwash sock yarns went into this lot. Make a pair of socks in SIOz Ocean Blues for winter. There are hanks of Kraemer Sterling, given the SIOz treatment, as well as some Louet Gems, and some ltd edition Italian Sock (my fave high twist yarn for socks, far too dear to run very often). The photo was taken before I finished processing the hanks -- just had to snap a colour shot right away!

Rome Purple from Stranded In Oz

The purple run was a test of a new colour I'm torturing myself with called ROME. Purple. What else? And the photo on my screen just doesn't do this shade justice. My screen a yarn much bluer than in person.

I've been in search of the ultimate purple; and just when I think I've got it, it eludes me. This search has meant a lot of mixing and remixing -- emailing dye houses, and all manner of colour mania. Dare I even say I think I've got it? The truth will be in the knitting.

Come out this Sunday and grab one of the few test hanks in ROME. Who knows, I may go back to the drawing board yet again. I am looking forward to the feedback on this colour. In this lot was a hank of Green Mountain Spinnery Mountain Sock -- a base they don't wholesale, as well as a hank of my beloved Merino 4 Natural. Sooo soft, so luxurious. And yes, I don't want to part with either, but out they go.

MORE banana palm silks and So Sari:

So Sari in Light Olive from Stranded In Oz

Banana Palm Silk in Kansas from Stranded in Oz

Banana Palm Silk in McLaren Vale from Stranded In Oz

The diehard SIOz addicts know that I don't run the McLaren Vale in BPS very often. This lot is divine and features another new purple -- it's rather grapey and rich as well as my fave dark eggplanty purple I use in this colorway.

Pattern restocks -- there's been a run on sock patterns at the Markets, so I've printed up a new batch. If you purchase online, be sure to ask in your notes upon ordering if you'd like a free pattern with purchase.

CU online and at the Markets, M