Wrap Up – and some pretties

Well. That whole Aussie Bloggers Conference thing was fun. Some fabulous discussion I totally didn’t expect. I got a lot of comments directly via email too and really loved how it all played out. I do hope the organisers (who I know read it) found it useful too and that Aus Blog Con 2012 is the success they hope it to be. If nothing else, I know I was really glad to learn that I wasn’t alone in some of my feelings on the weekend. Some of the comments made me wish I’d gotten out of my shell a bit and tried to engage more. I might have found more like-minded souls if I had.

So a huge thanks to everyone who offered their thoughts and reflections. It really meant a lot to me.

+ + +

Shall we enjoy something pretty now? Do you see stuff made by other people sometimes and wish to God you had half their vision? Β I like the things I make and am often very happy with them, but I never pretend to have a great eye for how things go together. It’s why when I sew I like to use pre-selected packs of squares for quilts. Someone with a greater design aesthetic has done that hard work for me.

When I won a contest on the blog of Sydney knitter 1FunkyKnitWit,Β  I sort of forgot. I knew I’d won a skein of her handspun but a few weeks passed and I couldn’t have told you more than that if you’d held a gun to my head.

Then the package arrived and I was awe struck. I know from reading her blog that Margarita is big on design and style. Most of it wafts over me in a vague blur of wonder because I don’t really get a lot of that detail but I know it all looks nice. What was in the package was some stuff I really fell for. For starters, a pin cushion that is, well, very funky.


Who thinks of putting stuff together like that? I don’t. But I love it.

And what about this? Know what it is? It’s a needle case, for storing hand sewing needles. On the outside, it’s like this.

needle case outside

Open it, and it looks like this.

needle case inside

As you can tell, I’m a bit impressed. Β Anyone else think people who do this stuff should be selling it? I do. Great work, Margarita, it’s really lovely.

But wait! There’s more. With a bit of a story.

Last year when the Masters exhibition came to the National Gallery of Australia, Drk and I stood in line for three hours to see some wonderful art works. Both of us were VERY excited about seeing Van Gogh’s Starry Night Over the Rhone. It was a really special day to share with a friend – to have such a sacred moment together.

As we admired the painting, we said to each other, someone ought to come up with a yarn dyed to look like a Van Gogh starry night. Turns out they did.

So when Margarita included in her package a skein of yarn called Starry Night, I believe I got a little misty eyed. Margarita didn’t dye it but she spun it beautifully into a delicate 2ply and I think it’s beautiful. Look.

starry night

I tried hard to capture the depth of it and I failed. It’s got hints of black in among the blue and yellow, just like a light flecked blue-black night. It’s beautiful and so even though I don’t always know what to do with handspun (a lot of that really busy, chunky handspun you see around often leaves me cold), I really love this yarn and it’ll be turned into something for me before too long. Ideas welcome! (edited to add: I have 301m/321yds).

So thanks heaps Margarita. I’m really pleased.



30 thoughts on “Wrap Up – and some pretties

  1. Oh such wonderful pretties! I’m with you, I’m a pretty good mimic, but coming up with it in the first place?…just making something wonderful right out of your own head?…that’s well beyond my touch I’m afraid. But Kudos to Margarita! And the Starry Night story makes ME misty eyed. So wonderful to literally have a wish come true. Doesn’t happen very often so live it up! I’m going to start searching patterns for your handspun (don’t think I’ve ever worked with any!).

  2. Isn’t that little case gorgeous? I have design ideas in my head but they rarely look the same when made up so I too admire those clever people!

  3. When you mentioned “Starry Night Over the Rhone” I had an image of the yarn, and then I scrolled down. It’s *exactly* what I pictured – that little greeny-yellow twist at the front is perfect!

    As for the presentation, is there any chance that 1FunkyKnitWit will teach us both some classes? The needle case is just brilliant, and I too stand back and let others sort out arrangements for me…

  4. You might consider knitting mitered squares about two inches on a side, joined together to make a cowl. That gives a swirly effect like in the painting. You pick up along the side of the first square to make the second, pick up along the side of the second to make the third, . . . hmm – you’ve given me an idea. Instead of working back and forth, you might work the squares in a spiral to shape the cowl.

  5. What a great prize package! The yarn is just beautiful. I love Van Gogh, so it’s not surprising that I love that skein.

    And I’m so glad to know I’m not the only person who thinks seeing great art in person is a sacred experience.

  6. Jody and Kyn have already commented on Margarita’s grey alpaca. It is jaw-droppingly gorgeous. She is a very talented, stylish designer and how lucky are you to have some of her unique creations!

    I agree – a cowl it has to be. Look forward to seeing it knit up.

  7. what beautiful things! such a clever and stylish combination of materials. i’m sure they’ll give you pleasure every time you use them and enhance the sewing experience. and that yarn is perfectly gorgeous, vincent would approve.

  8. I am so glad you received and like your gift Helen πŸ˜€

    Well, here I am having read this post and comments and I am left feeling rather humbled and moved by it all. When I create things I put my heart and soul into it and I must confess that it is always nerve wrecking when creating for others and putting your work out there for others to view.

    Thank you for your kind words Helen and to the everyone who took the time to leave such lovely comments, I’m truly amazed by it all. I gave YOU the gift and I can’t help feeling like I have received a gift in return.. thank you ! πŸ™‚

    You asked for a suggestion on what to make ? hmmm… COWL πŸ˜€
    Like what most have written let the yarn do the work, make it a simple stitch pattern although a textured stitch would work nicely, a cowl would make for a fab splash of colour for a wintery day πŸ™‚
    Just have fun and enjoy !

    It’s a shame about the conference because as you know I too wanted to go but I was left disappointed as there were no tickets left. As a result I was going to live vicariously through you and I was really looking forward to reading your post on the event, sadly it was not to be as you expected or wanted out of it. Hopefully if there is a “next time” some of the issues you wrote about may be rectified and it will be more suitable for all bloggers, and maybe next time I’ll get a ticket ;D

  9. Yes, I do think people should sell things like that. Unfortunately, they’re unlikely to get a fair price for it, which is such a pity.

    And that handspun is beautiful! I can see the painting in it for sure.

  10. Interesting posts, food for thought! I’ve never heard of a blogger conference but have seen lots of posts from Australian crafty bloggers lately. Love your pics and lust after your description of the Starry Night yarn.

  11. That is beautiful yarn. I think handspun yarn can be an acquired taste. Some of it is gorgeous and some of it less so.

    I am always in awe of designers and people who can see something and make it happen. I sometimes have a vision of what I want something to look like and then I hope someone else has already designed it! I can choose fabrics and patterns to sew but designing the garments? Not so much. I am so grateful for designers who sell or give away their ideas so that I can enjoy my hobby and love of handmade things.

    I hope the people who put together the blog conference take the comments and suggestions to heart and that next year’s is more inclusive.

  12. Occasionally someone will tell me something I’ve made looks like it could be in a store or I should sell stuff, but beyond the fact that I don’t have time to make all the things I want to, never mind try to make enough to sell, I get hung up on the fact that if I can make it, really, how hard can it be? So why would someone buy it instead of just making it for themselves? And this is often my reaction while browsing Etsy: “Well, I could just make that myself!” I think it takes an incredible confidence (or ego? but not in a bad way) to decide that what you can do is worth someone else spending money on it. And then there’s the idea that if you take something you love and try to turn it into a business, you run the risk of hating it, after a while. None of this is to say that I don’t admire or enjoy what other people create–the needle case and pincushion are fabulous! I just often see it as inspiration, instead. πŸ˜‰

    I can’t spin, though, and have no desire to dye. So I’ll always be buying yarn!!

  13. Beautiful! (All of them!) I’m with you – I can’t come up with ideas (even simple color changes can leave me stumped!) on my own, but I can definitely admire them – and those are some great ones!

  14. What an amazing prize! The pincushion and the needle book are just gorgeous. Not to mention the handspun. There’s so much disgusting handspun yarn out there it gives handspun yarn a bad name – Margarita really challenges that perception doesn’t she?

  15. You are so fortunate to have received some of Margarita’s handspun yarn. Tonight at knitting group she was knitting up some exquisite grey alpaca she’d spun. Very beautiful. I see your prize yarn in a very generous cowl – perfect for Canberra’s winter mornings.

  16. I wish I had a great design aesthetic too, but like you, I generally let other people do that work for me!

    Margarita has a really great design eye! And a great spinner – such lovely yarn. I think handspun deserves something relatively simple, to let the yarn do the talking. Not sure how much you’ve got, yardage wise, but a simple small shawl or scarf/stole, perhaps a hat, or some fingerless mittens? I saw a freebie recently from Interweave, designed specifically for handspun, the helix scarf – that might be an option?

  17. Oh so pretty! So lovely to have a yarn to evoke that wonderful day. And M’s handspun is really special I think. I wish I could sew, but I’m glad other people are so good at it for me, and make so many great things we can buy on etsy, for example, hint hint.

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