Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Monday Photo - Rochester Cathedral

While living in the United Kingdom, Alex and I did a lot of travel around Europe. Alex definitely has the better eye for photography than I do and has taken some amazing photos. I thought that I would share a photo on this blog every week of ones that I think are not only brilliant photos but are slightly different in their composition. I will try and post one every Monday during 2012.

This photo is of Rochester Cathedral in Kent and I really like this photo because it looks as though you are spying on the place.


Friday, 20 January 2012

Hand Dyed Yarn Sneak Peek

I wanted to give readers of the blog a sneak peek of the hand dyed yarn that I have started producing.

The photo is of a 100g skein of 100% Superwash Blue Faced Leicester.

I'm getting to know the camera and the settings to get the most accurate colours possible. If any readers have any tips on photographing yarn please leave a comment on this blog post.

The yarn that I have been dyeing is a mix of semi solids and variegated yarn and will be available from The Quizzical Owl's site in the very near future. I'm thoroughly enjoying dyeing the yarn. It's creative and therapeutic. I'm looking forward to trying out new dyeing techniques, colours and yarns.

Watch this space!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

An oldie but a goodie

Just before Christmas I'd been into our local antique shop to browse. I love looking at all the weird and wonderful things that are for sale. Let's face it, people collect all sorts of things!

*Cough* Not that I can say much really, I collect miniature tea sets. There you have it. I have 60-odd of them.

But it's not just about collecting stuff though, is it? In the modern world of flat-pack, plastic/particleboard objects, it's fun to be able to look at how things used to be done. How things used to be made is an eye-opening experience (how things are made, and what they're made from today is surely an eye-opening experience too, but not for this blog post!) Being able to wander into an antique store/secondhand shop can be inspiring, amusing, and educational.

When in our local antique shop before Christmas, I'd seen a swift (wool winder) for sale. I didn't buy it then, but today I went back into the store in the hope that the swift would be waiting for me. And waiting it was!

I was thrilled that it was still there (obviously it was waiting for me to take it home).

Wanna see it? These photos were taken before I gave it a bit of a clean.

I'd love to know more about the item - where was it made, who made it, how old is it, who has used it over the years, what did they make with the yarn they wound from it? So many questions! The base is made from Silky Oak, which makes it most likely Australian made.

I can't wait to use this to wind my newly dyed skeins of yarn. I'll be posting more about those shortly!

What do you think? Can you shed a light on any of my questions about my new winder?

Friday, 6 January 2012

New Year

It's a few days into 2012, and I've been thinking about my New Years Resolutions.

Apart from the usual get healthy, etc, there are a few new things I'll be doing with The Quizzical Owl. And I'd like to share them with you here.

1. Hand dyed yarn

I'll be hand dyeing yarn. I'm so excited about this! I've bought in my supplies  - dyes, yarn, gloves, etc. I am itching to get creative! I've bought some amazing lace yarn (made from Baby Alpaca and silk), and several varieties of sock yarn (an organic merino, a merino and nylon mix, and a merino and silk blend). I've also got a special order of some sparkly yarn from the UK on its way to me.

2. Commercial Yarn

Fyberspates is a UK company and is owned by the lovely Jeni. I became friendly with Jeni through attending various yarn shows. Jeni has a range of yarn called Scrumptious. This yarn lives up to its name, it's yummy! It's a blend of merino and silk, and comes in weights from lace to aran. There are also 10 colours in each weight. I've knitted a Clapotis in the DK weight in a lovely deep purple. There are also two pattern books to support the Scrumptious yarns - one for adults, and one for babies (released soon!).

3. Pattern books

I've got some of the fabulous Ysolda Teague's pattern books - each of her three books. I'll be loading them onto the website for purchase soon! Ysolda's patterns are well written, and easy to follow. Her latest book, Little Red in the City is a combination of a pattern book and knitting manual - if you are a shape that doesn't fit "conventional" measurements (you are between sizes, different sizes top and bottom, etc) then this book teaches you how and where to alter patterns to suit you. Invaluable advice for all knitters who are not supermodels!!

4. Jewellery

I'd like to experiment more this year with Fimo. It's a fun medium to play with, and I'd like to get creating with it. There will be lots of Lego, of course. I'm thinking about other new things I can do with Lego and Fimo pieces.

So there you go! It's going to be an exciting year. I'm getting used to being back in Australia, and slowly getting used to the humidity in Brisbane.  I'm looking forward to sharing 2012 with our growing fan base. Thank you for welcoming us back to Brisbane and to Australia. Keep checking back to keep up with our progress on dyeing and creating.

Remember you can Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and check out our homepage.

Alex :-)