Make It Your Own

Make it unique. Make it yourself. Make it your own

Ramblings 6 March, 2008

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,knitting,Sock knitting,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 10:52 am

Hmmmm….don’t really know what title to give to my ramblings today. I haven’t been blogging much lately but that doesn’t mean I have been idle. Life just gets complicated sometimes and making stuff gets put on the back burner or the stuff I’ve been working on I can’t show you because it’s for my top secret Yarn work or something like that. Anyway…in this post I have a yarn review for you and some pictures of a few projects I’ve been working on. Happy reading.


If you love affordable hand dyed yarn you’ll be pleased to know that I’ve dyed a stack more yarn for you to admire and buy. Click on the “Hand dyed yarn for sale” and “Hand dyed sock yarn for sale” tabs at the top of the page. Pleeeeeease tell your knitting friends about my yarns and watch out for my ad in the next YARN mag (due out in March sometime). Coming soon: wool/nylon/lycra bouncy hand dyed sock yarn. You’ll love it.



Live 2 Knit Lauren 100% Superwash Merino 12ply/aran weight. $21.60 for 100g.

Live 2 Knit Lauren

I’m working on a large project for YARN mag in this yarn at the moment and I am loving every minute of it. Lauren is a beautifully smooth, top quality wool yarn with a high twist and plenty of bounce. It runs pleasantly between your fingers as you knit and produces a very even, smooth and soft fabric. While the specs on the Live 2 Knit website say it produces a tension of 17sts to 10cm, I have found that 17sts is a little loose. I prefer to make it 18 or even 19 sts to 10cm for a slightly firmer fabric that still drapes. For a top quality, beautiful knitted garment that is also machine washable and will last a good long time, the cost is probably worth it. To see the full colour range go to the Live 2 Knit website. I recommend this yarn for soft and cosy winter garments and accessories in stocking stitch to show off the beautiful colours.


In my post of June 18 2007 I gave instructions for making a felt tea cosy using an old jumper that had been felted in the washing machine. By following the basics of those instructions you can also make hats. You might need to use two pieces of fabric to get a piece long enough to go around a head but the basics are the same. (Don’t cut the holes for the handle and spout unless you have very big ears or want to pull your pigtails through!). Add blanket stitch, chain stitch, a fold up cuff, beads or tassles. Here are some hats and tea cosies I made this week to give you some inspiration.

Felt hats

Felt tea cosies

Here are some socks I finished last week. They are the Breeze socks from Issue 3 of YARN.

Breeze socks


Do you love Patonyle? Do you care that ACS have discontinued it? If you are on Ravelry, join the Patonyle Lovers group or the ACS group and voice your displeasure! If you aren’t on Ravelry contact ACS and tell them what you think. Go to your yarn store and buy up before it’s too late. In my opinion, discontinuing such a fantastic yarn is criminal. I’ve been stockpiling it lately so that I have enough Patonyle to last the rest of my life. Sorry to anyone I have e-sniped recently…


The Handknitters Guild of SA are having their biannual exhibition on 12th and 13th of April at the St Peters Hall on Payneham Rd, St Peters. There is no entry fee except for a gold coin donation and the exhibition will be way way better than it has been in the past. There will be lots of knitting and crochet on display and stalls, including Colonial Lake books so you can stock up on knitting books. There will also be lots of knitted and crocheted items for sale and even some of my hand dyed yarn if you want to see it in the flesh. There will be a raffle and refreshments for sale. I’ll be there from 10 till 2 at least on Sunday.

Goodwood Autumn Sidewalk market will be on the 15th March along Goodwood Rd between the primary school and the tramline. A couple of friends and I will be having a stall selling a variety of handmade items, including my yarns, tea cosies and hats. The market runs between 9 and 3pm. Keep a look out for Barb, Sue and me by the physiotherapists, next to the lane and across the road from the Waste Not Want Not shop.

Happy birthday to my dear cousin Mia and my Dad. Also welcome to my new cousin Ben.

Visit me at Ravelry. My user name is SarahGolder. Have a happy day. Sarah.


Spring has sprung 7 November, 2007

Hello everybody,

It’s feeling very much like spring now. The weather has warmed up and we have had plenty of rain over the last week. Consequently, the garden is going mad. There is new growth on lots of the plants and our fruit trees are putting out the first tiny fruits-to-be. The roses are flowering beautifully, including my favourite rose, Bonica, of which I have two. I’ve repotted lots of pot plants and moved most of them into the shadehouse or under the porch. The vegetables are also growing like mad. The salvias are just starting to flower and in a month or so they will be amazing. I’m a big fan of salvias for a dry garden. They stay looking great even at 35 degrees and come in a wide variety of sizes and colours. The chickens are giving us way too many eggs. I’ll have to make a few sponge cakes to use them up! Thought you might like some photos…

Freckles lettuce

Growing apricots

Apple blossoms and apples

Dry garden


If you’ve ever grown coriander in your vegie garden for the fresh leaves, you’ll know that it goes to seed fairly quickly, especially if it gets stressed from a lack of water or a slight increase in temperature. All is not lost however. Allow the flowering and seeding to take its course and you’ll be able to harvest the seeds and use them as a spice.

When your coriander plants start flowering, keep watering them and taking care of them. The seeds will start swelling and soon you’ll have some bright green berries.

Unripe coriander seeds

After the berries have developed the plant will begin to brown and die and you can stop watering it. When the plant is nice and dry pull it up and then pick off the seeds. Let the seeds dry a little more and then store them in an airtight container. Use them whole in curries and rice or grind them in a mortar and pestle to use anywhere you’d normally use ground coriander. I use it in lots of things including fried rice, stir fried vegetables, vegetable soups and curries. It is a very popular spice in Indian, Moroccan and Mexican cuisines.

Dry coriander seeds



Selby has been busy this week trying out Knit Picks double pointed needles and Suzie Horne yarn.

Suzie Horne Hand dyed 8ply Finnish Landrace Cross Wool

Suzie Horne wool

Not the easiest stuff to get your hands on if you live outside of South Australia but definitely worth finding. Suzie grows Finnish Landrace Cross sheep at her farm in Meadows in the Adelaide Hills. The wool from her sheep is commercially spun and the then she hand dyes it. Being an artist, she has an excellent eye for colour and so her colourways are deep, clear and never flat; warm pinks, vibrant reds and cool blues with a few fresh greens and yellows too. I’d happily buy them all and at around $10 for 100g they are very affordable. The yarn itself is smooth but still woolly and has a high twist. It knits and crochets well, showing stitch definition but still springy. I’ve seen and felt plenty of garments made with this yarn and they all feel and look great. Suzie and her yarns can be found at small fibre fairs such as the Mt Pleasant Fibre Fair or the Hills Spinners and Weavers open days. You can also find it at All Seasons Wool shop in Hahndorf. If you see some, buy it; you might not see that exact colourway again!

Knit Picks Double Pointed Needles (steel)

Knit picks needles

In short, these are the best fine double pointed needles I have ever used. I love them and I think I might buy some in every size I regularly use. They are smooth, very pointy, light, not too long and come in sets of five.  The steel is very smooth and slippery for fast knitting. The points are long and sharp, making them excellent for tiny stitches and doing tricky stitches like a k3tog or a p2togtbl. Their short length (15cm) and lightness are good for socks and glove fingers and won’t weigh your hands down. Lots of sock patterns require a set of five needles rather than four. Instead of substituting a needle that’s not quite the same (doing this still works but it feels a bit odd) or buying 2 sets of four needles, having a set of five the same is better. The whole range of Knit Picks products are not available in Australia but the double pointeds and circulars are now being imported. You can find them at many of the online yarn stores in Australia, at Tapestry Craft in Sydney and, if you are in Adelaide, you can get them at the Button Bar in the Adelaide Arcade where they cost $10.60 (say hi to my friend Helena while you are there). These needles make me happy! I highly recommend them for socks and gloves.


My sock knitting class went well. I had five students and we had a good time yesterday morning. I’ll be heading to the Craft and Quilt Fair on Thursday afternoon. The fair goes from Thursday to Sunday. I’d avoid it on Saturday morning, unless you like driving through the Christmas Pageant traffic. (I’ll never understand why the Adelaide Christmas Pageant is held in early November. I don’t start to feel Christmassy until December.)

I’m off to England on Tuesday to visit my sister for a couple of weeks. I probably won’t be posting in that time but when I return I’ll have rundown on what’s happening in the English knitting world and show off some yarn purchases.

If you want to see some of my hand dyed yarn and some of my tea cosies in the flesh, there is a market at the Goodwood Primary School on the 24th (yes that’s election day). My friend Sue is having a stall with hand made items from various people, including me. Thanks Sue!

If any of you are beta testers at Ravelry, you can find me there as Sarah Golder. You can see my stash, my library, my projects and my original designs. For the uninitiated, Ravelry is a social networking site for people into knitting, crocheting and spinning. It’s still in the testing stage and should be open to the public sometime soon. I’m waiting, not very patiently, for my “I swatched Ravelry” t-shirt to arrive in the mail.

That’s all for today. Have a lovely week. Please leave me your comments so that I know who my readers are. Tell us all what you like to make or grow or cook.



5000 winners! 20 September, 2007

Filed under: Hand dyed Yarn,knitting,Sock knitting — makeityourown @ 3:06 pm

Well, no, there are not 5000 actual winners, but there are one winner and one runner up in the 5000 competition. Only 4 people entered which surprises me. Don’t you people like winning knitting prizes?


Tina M who told us about the cushions she made for the owners of a treasured pet.

Earlier this year a family friends dog (Zappa) passed away . He was their baby and a big part of our lives as well. He would come and visit us during the day if his parents were boring ; ) . He was special and we wanted to do something. So we knitted his picture onto 2 pillows. A positive and a negative version. It turned out well -even looks like him. But the weird thing was that we didn’t really know what we were doing with the photo or the knitting but it worked with about 10 cm of wool left. We figured it was meant to be.
PS We’ve posted a photo of it on our blog ( we’re new at that too) if you want to see it.

I thought this was a great story of a project that was meant to be. I’m pretty impressed with the knitting skills displayed here too. Also a lovely gesture for someone who has lost a good friend. Tina M wins the laceweight alpaca, the sheep tape measure and the Clover tapestry needles.


Amanda who told us about felted bag disaster.

My disaster story: I have only very recently discovered the delights of felting. My first two attempts were quite successful. I made two pairs of felted clogs in Bendigo Woollen Mills Aran. It took some effort to felt but I was pleased with the finished product. About a month ago I was at the BWM’s sale room and picked up some Rustica which I thought should felt well. I bought a number of balls in a cream colour and a number of balls called Ink – a lovely shiny black. I then set out to make a Eva Weichmann felted bag. I knitted the bag over two nights. The bag is knitted from the handles down. So I made the handles in the two colours. Then I knitted the upper half of the bag in the cream colour and then the bottom half in the ink colour. I really liked the look of the bag at this stage and couldn’t wait til morning when I would felt the bag in the washing maschine. Next morning, feeling ever so cheery I bunged the bag in the maschine with a flourish and started the process. Well, some time later I went to retrieve my trophy. The top half of the bag felted beautifully, the bottom half? It’s, a floppy, saggy mess! No amount of effort has changed this. I might just have to cut up the top half and turn it into coasters?

What a tragic story. The fact that only one half of the project was disasterous and the other half successful is especially tragic. Amanda wins 2 balls of grey, black and white Patonyle. Enough for a pair of socks and guaranteed not to felt!

Honourable mentions to Leonie who managed to felt only 1 bed sock and Sarah who accidently pulled out the whole lettuce from the garden when only wanting a leaf or two.


If you lurve to knit socks, I have some sock wool for sale. It is soft and squishy, 70% Australian merino and 30% nylon, hand dyed by me and ONLY $15 FOR 100g !! What a bargain. Click on the “Hand Dyed Yarn for Sale” button at the top of the page to see the full range. I’ve also got 4 little hanks of yarn that are only $2.50 with any other purchase. You’ll find them at the bottom of the all the other yarns.

Here’s something to whet your appetite…

Sock yarns

That’s it for this week. I know: no book review, no yarn review and no craft project. Sorry folks. To keep you entertained I’ll leave you with some photos of the knitting at the Adelaide Show.

Adelaide show

Adelaide show

Adelaide show


Fun with Dyeing 13 September, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 11:20 am

Dyeing is fun, not to mention all the puns you can make the dyeing/dying thing (I dyed today. I’m dyeing. I’m going to dye next week. Dyeing is fun. Dyeing can change your life and so on and so on.) I always have fun playing with colours and yarn and I always wish I’d made more hanks so that I can keep going. I dyed lots of cotton yesterday (pictured below along with some wool) and you can buy it! Go to the Hand Dyed Yarns For Sale page and peruse the new additions. Next week I’ll be dyeing a large amount of mohair/wool/acrylic blend yarn and maybe some laceweight and I’ll add that to the list of available yarns too.

Dyed yarns

I dyed some t-shirts too. This was my first go at tie dyeing since I was a kid. I had a couple of t-shirts that used to be white and new and nice but after a few years of constant wear, were not looking their best any more. Perfect candidates for being spruced up with some dye.


Here is an easy way to tie dye t-shirts. This is how I did it anyway. You can do it in the kitchen without making a mess and hopefully all you’ll need to buy is a packet of Rit powdered dye. I bought mine at Lincraft but you can also buy it at the cheaper department stores. Each colour costs around $6 and it’s enough to dye several t-shirts should you want them all the same colour.

What you need: a cotton t-shirt, vinegar, a packet of Rit dye powder, water, string, a microwave, a medium sized bowl, a microwave safe container, scissors.
To mix dye for one t-shirt: into the bowl put 2 teaspoons of dye powder, 4 tablespoons of vinegar and a cup of very hot water. Mix to dissolve the dye. Add cold water so the bowl is about half full.

Tie up the t-shirt: gather up the t-shirt from the centre front and tie pieces of string around it as pictured below. Tie up other smaller sections too if you want.

Tie Dyeing

Immerse the t-shirt in the bowl of dye for a minute. Remove it from the dye and let the excess liquid drain away. Put the t-shirt into the microwave safe container. Microwave on medium-high for 2 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and then microwave again on medium-high for another 2 minutes. Leave until it is cool enough to handle. Snip off the pieces of string. Rinse the t-shirt under running water until no more dye is coming out. Squeeze gently, spin dry if you want and hang to dry completely.

Easy huh?! Here are my results…

The two purply ones were my experiments and the pink one is the result using the above instructions.

Tie Dyed t-shirts

Don’t forget to enter my competition. You could win some knitting goodies. Have a look at the post of 6th September for the details and photos of the prizes.

Thanks for the congratulations on reaching 5000 visitors.

Have a good week. I’d love it if you’d all leave comments to let me know that you read my blog.



Make Your Own Peg Bag 2 August, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Hand dyed Yarn,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 3:46 pm

Hi there everyone,

It’s Tuesday again… no, wait… it’s Thursday. Sigh, it’s been a busy week.

This week I’ll show you how to make a very useful peg bag out of some fabric and a wooden coat hanger and I’ll give you a yarn review. Hope you like it.

You may have noticed a new page called “Hand Dyed Yarn For Sale”. Please have a little look. People who see my yarn in person say that it is lovely and that the colours are beautiful so rest assured that even if my photos aren’t great, the yarn is. Since my sources of yarn are cheap, I can offer you original, hand painted yarn at low prices.


Peg bag

The idea of using a coat hanger in this design is not quite my own. I saw a picture of one in an interior decorating book. It didn’t come with instructions and the design was quite different. I liked the idea and so I made one for myself that matches the red and white decor in our laundry. Mine has been in use for a couple of years and has faded a little. The coat hanger gives it sturdiness and means you can hang it on the clothesline or the laundry trolley while you hang out the washing and then hang it on a hook in the laundry when you are done.


A piece of fabric about 65cm long and 25cm wide. Use a heavy cotton fabric.

A sewing machine and thread

A wooden coat hanger

A small saw like a hack saw or pruning saw (yes really!)

A small length of ribbon


An iron


Cut your piece of fabric into a rectangle measuring about 65 x 25cm.

At a point in the centre of the width and 11cm from one end, make a 1cm long buttonhole using the sewing machine. This is where the metal part of the hanger goes through the fabric into the wooden part of the hanger. If you don’t know how to do a buttonhole, the instruction manual of your sewing machine should explain it.

Now you join the ends of the fabric and make the opening at the same time. Make all seams 1.5cm from the edge. Pin the ends of the length of fabric together. Sew a seam at either side of the ends for about 5cm so that the ends of the fabric are joined only at the sides and there is a large gap in the middle. To make the opening more secure at the edges, sew backwards for 1cm at the opening edges. Press the seam open and continue pressing the top and bottom of the opening to make a hem around the opening. Sew down the raw edges of the join and the opening about 5mm from the fold line. You now have a long piece of fabric, joined at the ends, with a neat and secure opening in the seam. It’s a bit hard to explain so have a close look at the picture.

With wrong side facing out, lay the bag flat so that the button hole is at the top fold line. Pin sides together and sew a seam down each side of the bag. Turn it right side out. You now have a bag with a small hole at the top and an opening about 10cm down from the top.

Put the bag up against the hanger with the buttonhole and the metal hook lined up. Mark on the hanger where the bag edges are. Using a small saw, cut off the ends of the hanger so that it fits into the top of the bag. Remove the metal hook and put the hanger inside at the top of the bag. Poke the metal hook through the buttonhole and screw into the hanger.

Tie a piece of ribbon around the bottom of the metal hook. Fill it up with pegs and make doing the washing a little easier.



Heirloom Alpaca 8ply, 100% Alpaca, 50g, 95 metres, made in Australia.

Heirloom alpaca

This is the best commercially produced alpaca that I have come across. It is soft, smooth and lofty and has just the slightest amount of halo. Some alpaca can make you itch and some can be a little rough. This one, however is almost as soft as angora and not at all itchy. It knits up like any other 8ply or DK weight at 22sts to 10cm, perfect for substituting into 8ply wool patterns. It is pleasant to knit with, doesn’t split and glides easily through your fingers and on to the needles.

What I like best about Heirloom Alpaca is the colours. Although there is not a huge range of colours, each one is heathered and made up of many colours to achieve the main colour. The light blue, for instance, if you look carefully, contains light green, pink, lilac, mid blue and light blue. The pink contains light pink, mid pink, lilac and light purple. The heathering is just visible in the finished knitting, making for beautiful, dynamic colours. Aside from the heathered colours, there is a light brown and white twist which is also lovely.

For huggable, comfortable and warm garments, this yarn is an excellent choice. It retails for around $7 a ball which is not a bad price for 100% alpaca. I highly recommend it.


After a couple of sunny days the weather has turned cold and wet and, once again, our lounge room has turned into a drying room. If I go for a walk in the garden my shoes get very wet. Our broccoli is finished. We have eaten some and frozen some and the remainder of the plants go to the chickens where they get devoured. We have had some caulis already and there are more to come. I never really liked cauli until I tried homegrown ones. We have had some baby carrots but I’ll let most of them grow larger before we eat them. Our broad beans are flowering so beans aren’t too far away. The potatoes are grand and the chickens are giving us about 5 eggs a day. I think when the weather warms up our peas will be happier. We have ordered various seeds for spring and summer vegies and also a heated propagating tray. This should help us get the summer veg growing early.

I’ll be spraying the stone fruit trees shortly for leaf curl. This needs to be done in late winter and again as the buds begin to swell. Leaf curl spray is basically copper and prevents the tree succumbing to the fungus that causes the disease. Spraying is particularly important if you have pruned the tree because the fungus can enter more easily where the cuts were made.

Many thanks to those who read my blog regularly. Please leave comments and questions so that I know who you all are.