I have been very slack this year and have gone a whole year without posting, a situation that will be remedied from here on!
The Christmas Holidays are fast approaching and for those of you who live nearby there is a gorgeous display of crocheted snowflakes in the windows this year, all made by Lana and well worth checking out. There are also some lovely gifts on display as well as some really cute beginner knitting and crochet kits in lovely bright colours. As always we have gift vouchers available for that “hard to buy for” person. One really unique use was made of a gift voucher this year, the recipient used it to pay for crochet lessons!
Woolybutt will be closed on the 22nd of December at 5pm and we will re-open on Wednesday the 27th of January. This year we did try re-opening earlier but there were very few people about so this year we are opening later. If you need anything in the interim please email me and I will send it to you. Also a reminder to all those with lay-bys, if you intend working on your project over Christmas pick up enough yarn to last you now!
Our Knitting and Crochet classes are still going so if you need any last minute help call the Shop and book in now. Classes will re-commence on the 30th of January and will run on both Wednesday and Saturday mornings as they currently do.
At this time of year cottons are very popular and Patons have published some lovely booklets with modern patterns in them. Cotton is lovely to work with when the days are hot and I love wearing the summer yarns, particularly cotton on the hotter days.
There is a great range of baby and toddler wear in the Shop at the moment so if you need to purchase something for a new arrival please come in and check out what we have.
Current projects: a 4ply cotton crocheted jacket and a pouffe knitted in Panda Jumbo, this is a gift to match a throw that was knitted through the winter. As I wont get it finished by Christmas a picture of the item will be given instead with a “Santa Raincheck card”!
I hope you have a happy, safe and woolly Christmas and New Year,
Gosh I think someone has forgotten to tell the weather it is Spring! Here in Melbourne we’re expecting snow today on the nearby hills and it’s cold here. The winter woollies that I was washing and packing away have now been resurrected for a few more weeks. On that point do make sure you wash your knitted garments before putting them away as garments put away dirty attract moths and silverfish. If storing them on open shelves lightly rub cedar oil over the shelf to deter pests or place fresh lavender bags on the shelves or in drawers. Both cedar and lavender are the best natural deterrents that I know to keep nasty little insects at bay.
Thanks to the weather Woolybutt is still packed with summer yarns and a new, beautiful one arrived last week called Opium. Despite the name this is a lovely textured summer yarn which is very economical to knit and has a lovely soft feel. The colours are very pretty and it would make a great knit for layering with a t-shirt or singlet underneath. it is knitted on big needles so it would also knit up quickly as a gift for Christmas. While on the subject of Christmas don’t forget that Woolybutt has gift certificates for that “hard-to-buy” for person and if that person is a keen knitter or crocheter, it makes an ideal gift. A certificate can also be exchanged for knitting or crochet lessons. If you want to brush up your skills or learn a new one our classes go until the end of the year and are held 10.30am to 12.30pm every Saturday morning. Please contact the Shop (03 9458 3101) or email me (email@example.com) for more information.
If you have the yen to knit Christmas-based decorations come into the Shop and check out our new Christmas themed books which have just arrived – “Twas the Knits before Christmas” and the “Twelve Knits of Christmas” plus some new “Twenty to Make” Christmas themed books – all lots of fun.
Current Projects: a jacket in Baby Crofter, two knitted Meerkats (for elderly aunts who have gone dotty about those silly ads on the TV), these will be Christmas gifts with some chocolates. A pretty top for me in Opium – last on the list so I will probably be knitting this in January!
Autumn has arrived and new colours and yarns are arriving at Woolybutt almost daily.
This coming season sees a consolidation of yarns that were introduced last year rather than completely different yarns as such. Patons has increased the colour choices for both Bluebell and Totem. Totem has a new range of “marle” wools which look good as whole garments or just knitted as a feature into plain garments. Similarly their popular baby range Dreamtime has new colours which move well away from the traditional baby colours. Heirloom has introduced a Baby 8ply which has the same softness and quality as their famous Baby 4ply but takes advantage of all the great 8ply baby patterns that are now available.
There is some confusion about the term Dk. Dk is “double knitting”. For years the standard yarn was 4ply so Dk or “double knitting” was double 4ply i.e 8ply. Whenever you are in doubt always check the ball band for the size needles required and this will indicate the ply of the yarn i.e. 4mm (old size 8) is always Dk or 8ply yarn. Many English Dk’s feel a lot thinner than Totem for example and they have a lot more meterage on the ball, this is because they are Acrylic or a blend of yarns. Some people knit them quite happily on 4mm needles although I find with some that I need to drop down one size to a 3.75mm needle to get the correct tension.
Just to confuse the issue many laceweight (1 and 2 ply) yarns specify large needles (4.5mm/5mm). This is because a light airy effect is needed not a solid material that suits a garment!
Occasionally items arrive at Woolybutt that prove to be very popular. One of these is the Embellisher. This is a modern version of the old “Knitting Nancye”. You thread your yarn around the top then use the handle on the side to “knit” for you. A knitted I-cord is made in minutes! I have used it for 8plys but customers tell me they have used other plys on it with great success. We are currently out of stock of these but will have more by mid-March. Another item that is proving popular is fur lined leather soles for sock tops. They come in a kit form and include a pattern for either knitted or crocheted “tops” ( you supply your own yarn). I recently completed a pair in Sirdar’s Crofter which gave them a lovely Fairisle look. They are currently featured in Yarn magazine in their “Yarn Related Yummies” on page 50.
Current projects: a mid-green cardigan for granddaughter Zoe in Zara 8ply (a beautiful knitting yarn). It is to have “frog” buttons as it is going to be her “froggy” cardigan! Also two tape yarn scarves, one in bright multi-coloured Can Can for a customer and the other in delicious Park Avenue (the only tape yarn with kid mohair), for the shop.
Happy Knitting until next month,
The New Year is well and truly underway, schools are back and the hot weather of late summer is here!
We have been busy at Woolybutt making room for the new season’s stock which should start arriving this month and at this point of time I am, as usual, completely unsure as to what I ordered and didn’t order and it wont be until the boxes are opened that I’ll remember. I just know that there’s a lot of good exciting stuff coming.
Despite the heat people have been busy knitting and much of the knitting has been “baby stuff”. One of my customers earlier this week told me about a baby blanket that she is currently knitting. This lady is a keen knitter and knits lots of “baby things” for friends and family. Her yarn of choice is Heirloom 4ply Baby wool and she has lots of bits left over from various projects. She hit on the idea of knitting a 4ply Entrelac rug using her 4 ply scraps and it has been a great success. When I finish my current projects I’m going to try it and see how it goes.
Some unique bits and pieces have been arriving in the shop lately. A number of “sheepskin” products where you combine a knitted section with the “sheepskin” to make a really warm cosy garment. There are adult slipper soles, soles for baby bootees and even a small hat section where the crown is knitted. These are really mid-winter items as they are very snuggly. The beauty of them is that they don’t take overly long to knit and so would make an ideal gift for a relative or friend shivering through the dreadful winter they are having in Europe!
Knitting and crochet classes started yesterday and the schedule is the same as last year: 10.30 to 12.30pm Tuesday and Saturday, Classes run continuously and we keep class sizes small so that you get individual tuition. Last year one of the crochet classes elected to make a friendship rug. Each person in the class chose a colour scheme and then everyone else contributed one square in those colours to each person. By the end of the year each person had a rug in their chosen colour scheme!
Happy knitting and crocheting!
Happy New Year to all! Here in Melbourne we’re in the middle of our first heatwave for the summer and knitting is probably the furthest thing from most people’s minds. For me it is one of the most enjoyable times of the year. On hot days I try to get to all those niggling “inside” jobs that I have been putting off most of the year like sorting out cupboards in my study and generally editing the mess that seems to develop. By the afternoon I’m ready for a quiet sit down in front of the TV with the cricket/tennis and my latest project. In the hotter months it is easier to knit/crochet small light projects that are quick and pleasant to do and don’t require a great deal of effort. Lace projects are a particular favourite as they are light, fast to knit and actually do not require a great deal of concentration once you have done the pattern a few times. Currently I’m knitting a lace scarf that is in the current edition of Kntting – Back to Basics Vol.2. It is the Zig Zag Scarf on page 50 and is knitted in various shades of Lite Inca. Woolybutt does sell Lite Inca (an 8 ply) but I wanted a summer scarf that would be a little bit dressy. I’m knitting the same pattern but in Sublime Silk Tussaud in a glorious pale blue. As the silk is an 8ply I have not had to modify the pattern at all and knitted all in one colour it comes out looking quite different from the one in the magazine. A friend of mine ( a keen crocheter) was heading for the beach these holidays and asked me if there was anything she could make for the Shop as she gets bored sitting on the beach all day watching the kids. I happily gave her the cute little girl’s sun hat to make using the Woolybutt pattern and 8ply Heirloom Cotton. This particular pattern is due to appear in the September edition of Yarn magazine and is a very versatile pattern as the hat can be made in either wool or cotton although I personally prefer cotton.
As part of the Summer in the City Festival the Bali Twilight Taggers/Yarn Corner have been invited by the City of Melbourne to “yarn bomb” a corner of Federation Square. It is all happening on the weekend of the 21st/22nd of January and the schedule is as follows: Installation Day Saturday 21st – 9am to 5pm (the Installation will be up for one month). Workshop Day Sunday 22nd – 11am to 2pm. The Workshop Schedule is: 11- 11.30am Kids Learn to Knit (Knitting Nancye) 11.30 – 12.30 Learn to Knit 12.30 – 1pm Learn to Yarn Bomb 1 -2 Learn to Crochet Woolybutt is a proud sponsor of this event and it should be a lot of fun so if you haven’t got anything planned make a note in your diary and come along and join in!
Woolybutt will re-open on Monday 16th of January and will be trading normal hours for the rest of the year i.e. 10am – 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am until 1pm on a Saturday. Knitting and crochet classes will begin on Tuesday 7th of February and will be held every Tuesday and Saturday mornings from then on from 10am until 12.30pm. If you wish to join a class please phone the Shop and let us know so that we can hold a place for you. Happy and “cool” knitting, Lorraine
Another year is drawing to a close and final decisions have to be made about winter yarns for next year. Fairisle and cables seem to be the big fashion statements for the approaching winter so if you want to get a little ahead make some time in the coming holidays to pick up your needles and brush up your skills on both techniques. It is with some relief that I report that most of the new patterns only have touches of Fairisle, a few lines above the hem or cuffs or around the yoke so you don’t have to be a yarn juggling expert to get the look.
If you need some ideas for last minute gifts, pop into the shop and have a browse. We now stock an incredible number of “tape” yarns and scarves knitted in them make gorgeous and relatively inexpensive gifts with the added bonus that they are fairly quick to do. The following tape yarns are currently in stock: Sashay (full range of colours), Sole, Triana, Triana Lux, Rico, Park Avenue and Can Can. The prices range from $6.49 (Sashay) through to $27 (Park Avenue). Park Avenue is so expensive because it has a percentage of Kid Mohair in it which makes for a truly luxurious scarf.
A very exciting yarn has arrived at Woolybutt. We now stock Angora and the supply will be regular so if you want to knit something extra special for a little one come in and get some! The colours are white, cream, blue and pink and the price is very reasonable for such a scarce yarn ($17.95). Also with every ball of Angora sold a free pattern featuring seamless Angora baby bootees will be included.
People have been asking me for a pattern for a Baby Headband that would be quick to knit and use up bits of baby wool from other projects so here it is: Baby Headband Fits a baby 0 –3 months Yarn: Dk or 8ply – 2 colours Needle size: 4mm knitting needles, a 3.75mm crochet hook Instructions: using colour 1 cast on 69 stitches using thumb method. Ist row: knit 3, purl 2 across row. 2nd row: change to colour 2 and knit rib pattern (as in Row 1) across row. Knit in rib pattern for another 6 rows. 9th row: change back to colour 1 and knit rib 10th row: cast off in colour 1. Join ends using mattress stitch but very close to the edges to prevent a big seam. Flower: using colour 2 and 4mm needles cast on 10 stitches Row 1 – knit across row slipping every second stitch knitwise on needle. Row 2 – purl across all stitches on needle Repeat Rows 1 & 2 ten times, cut yarn leaving a 5cm “tail”. Take a wool sewing needle thread the tail then run the tail though all the stitches left on the needle, pull out needle and draw up stitches tight and sew off. Knit 4 more petals in this way. Take colour 1 and using the 3.75mm crochet hook do a single chain of crochet around each petal. Flower centre: using colour one and 4mm needles cast on 6 stitches Row 1: knit Row 2: knit 1, make 1 across all stitches (there should be 9 stitches) Knit the next 3 rows. Row 6: slip 1, knit 1, psso, across the row (6 stitches) Row 7: knit Row 8: cast off Using a small piece of fibre fill (toy filling) place this in the centre, thread a needle and using a running stitch around edge draw up the edges to make a little ball and sew off. Sew all 5 petals around the centre and sew the flower to the headband where the headband’s seam is. Have a lovely Christmas and New Year and a safe and happy holiday, Lorraine Woolybutt Knitting
The year has spun by and Christmas is not too far away. This next week will be spent by all of us at Woolybutt going to various Trade presentations and looking at the yarns that will be available for next winter. It is fun but a surprisingly hectic time of year and it is exciting to see what is on offer for the New Year. Orders are then placed and the wait begins as the first orders don’t arrive in the shop until March. In the meantime there are still lots of delicious yarns to chose from at the Shop. I’m sorry if you have tried to place orders through the on-line shop lately as we are still experiencing website problems. If you would like to order something from the website please write down the number and description and phone the Shop directly on 03 9458 3101 during business hours (10 until 5 Monday to Friday and 10 until 1 on Saturdays). Alternatively email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m not sure when these problems will be fixed but I will let you know as soon as we’re operational again and many thanks for your patience. Now is the time to seriously start thinking about Christmas gifts and Woolybutt has lots of bits and pieces that would make unique gifts. There are lovely sock knitting kits complete with needles, instructions and high quality German sock wool. Sock blockers, yarn winders, silly sheep mugs, handkerchiefs, cute tape measures as well as lots and lots of gorgeous yarn and scrumptious books for great inspiration! Current Projects: I’m afraid I’m one of those knitters who gets distracted easily and that has happened lately. Little projects get in the way of major ones and I can only admire those people who say “No, I’m going to be strong and finish what I’m doing first”. I find that impossible, there are so many great things out there and so little time. I knitted a scarf for my granddaughter in Crofter (she requested it, describing exactly what she wanted right down to how long it had to be), and she was very pleased with it. She is about to leave on a big holiday with her parents to Europe and it is getting rather cold there now so it suddenly occurred to me that I should knit her a matching hat. Two days later I gave her a matching earflap hat. She liked it but didn’t try it on (she’s not really a “hat person”) so I only hope it fits. It was a good pattern but it had ‘twisted’ ties at the bottom of the flaps. I don’t like twisted ties, making them is an aggravation and if not tied really tightly they often untwist, so instead I made plaited ties which hang nicer and are less likely to unravel. All this activity means that I have only just gotten back to my Sirdar Stripes jumper which hopefully will be finished soon and will be in the Shop before Christmas. Well, happy knitting until next month! Lorraine
Apologies for the lateness of this Newsletter but there have been some website issues which hopefully are now resolved. The Summer yarns are now in-store and there are some lovely ones this year. One that I particularly like is Sirdar’s Summer Stripes Dk. It is their Calico but dyed in slubby random stripes which knit (and crochet) into stunning garments. Panda Cotton Blend has been enhanced with new colours and is still incredibly reasonably priced. It has become so popular because although it has the look and feel of pure cotton the percentage of acrylic in it means it doesn’t drop like pure cotton does. There is also a stunning new crochet pattern book especially produced for this yarn and now available. Lots of new Sirdar pattern books for babies and toddlers have arrived with a nice mix of patterns for boys and girls. Two of the big trends coming on line are Cables and Fairisle and these are bound to dominate the winter patterns next year. I find Fairisle particularly to be slow and tedious to do but some of the Sirdar patterns have a wonderful “cheat”. You knit a “plain” garment in Dk and when you get to the yoke instead of embarking on a slog of Fairisle you knit a computer dyed Fairisle effect yarn such as Crofter! At the moment Sirdar has some toddler patterns using the technique but it could be easily adapted to adult garments. Tape yarns continue to be incredibly popular. They are available from some of the big stores but I’m reliably informed that when this stuff is knitted up it feels like cardboard. Not so the yarn at Woolybutt. In fact about 10 days ago a tape yarn called Park Lane arrived which consists mostly of Kid Silk Mohair. I knitted up a sample scarf in it and my husband commented that it looked like I was “knitting clouds”. It is absolutely gorgeous and would make a stunning Christmas gift for someone special. Another tape yan to arrive is Sole (again by Katia). This is a mixture of cotton and acrylic and perfect for warmer days. Two balls of this knit a scarf and the total cost is around the $16 area. Not bad for such a unique item. Here is a list of tape yarns stocked by Woolybutt: Can Can (by Rico) Triana Triana Lux Sole (all by Katia) Park Lane Rizo Ondas Sashay (by Panda)
Current projects: I have embarked on a project of knitting a sample scarf in every tape yarn we have in the store (there are 8). I’m on the last scarf now then I start the Christmas knitting. Also I’m knitting one of the new garments in the Summer Stripes Dk which should be in the shop in about 10 days. Happy knitting, Lorraine
Spring has begun and the milder weather is here and so the big move at Woolybutt is underway with winter yarns making way for the lighter more summery yarns and cottons. Lots of exciting things have been happening in the past few weeks. A new haberdashery supplier from America has started and there are lots of interesting bits and pieces being added to stock. Woolybutt now stocks wire garment blockers which are ideal for lacy and cashmere garments that require damping down, blocking and drying before wearing. These blockers are very reasonably priced. Wool winders have also arrived which are really handy things to have if you buy yarn that is skeined. There are also a number of “sheep themed” bits and pieces. The mugs sold out quickly but more are on their way and there are some great “sheep” tape measures as well as “sheep” shape stitch markers – great little gifts for the knitter who has nearly everything! Woolybutt now stocks three brands of “tape” yarn. There is Katia: both Triana (the very open lacy yarn) and Ondas which is denser and more like Rico’s Can Can which we also stock. As of yesterday there were only three balls of Panda’s Sashay left in the shop. Sashay is similar to Can Can and Ondas in texture but there is about half as much on the ball and hence the price is half that of the others. Unfortunately stocks Australia wide are gone and no more will be available until after September 19th. All of these yarns knit up into lovely scarves and as I said in last months Newsletter, they make great gifts if you can bring yourself to give them away! I have two myself and one customer told me yesterday that she now has six and has knitted more than that for family and friends. In Woolybutt’s front window is a T-shirt with a Can Can trim to show people that one doesn’t just have to knit scarves from this yarn. To make the trim I picked up only three stitches (not the usual 7) and knitted until I had enough to go around the neck of the shirt. I then simply hand stitched the trim to the neck of the shirt using a simple running stitch in the colour of the shirt. Note that the “normal” number of cast on stitches is 7 for a scarf but you can make a thicker or thinner frill by varying the number of cast-on stitches! Later this coming week we should have the new colours of Panda’s Cotton Blend in-store together with the new book (as featured in this month’s Women’s Weekly). This is a really good yarn because being a “blend” it doesn’t drop as much as a pure cotton garment, although I must admit to allowing for ‘drop’ and knitting the garment slightly shorter when using cotton. Thinking about cotton made me realise that I have a 40 year old cotton jumper! It was knitted when 10ply cottons were available. It is pretty plain with a v-neck and a central cable but it is one of those great garments to shrug on when the cool changes rock in after a heatwave. Which brings me to another matter. I must admit to knitting garments that I expect to last, as a consequence I have never had any qualms about spending money on good quality yarn because I don’t intend to throw it out in two years. I have two other jumpers one of which was knitted in 1979 and the second in 1985 and I wear them every winter. They’re both machine washable pure wool and are still brilliant. Unfortunately the mohairs of that era bit the dust years ago, mohair just plain wears out eventually but we’re still talking 7 – 8 years of life! Cashmere is another story. Cashmere will ball and shed particularly early on. It is also a moth magnet! Never put anything containing cashmere away dirty, not a good idea for any garment but diabolical for cashmere and cashmere blends. Next winter it will resemble lace! Use cedar chips or lavendar bags and put it with the cashmere and moths will give it a wide berth. Do the same with shop bought extra fine wool garments as moths love wrapping their little jaws around that fine fibre. If you do find moth holes repair them with sewing cotton not wool. It is easier to colour match sewing cotton (and even black has ‘shades’) and sewing cotton is fine enough to blend better. Current projects: *finishing a jumper for the granddaughter in the new London yarn from Patons, blue with muti-coloured flecks which she chose! *nearly finished kntting a toy possum from the Panda Aussie Kit Animals – very cute. *started some funky socks from a German sock wool kit to test the pattern as a customer said it “didn’t work”. Great excuse to knit some socks! Happy knitting…….