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Knitting with fleece

I was reading an article in The Flinders News, Page 8,  Wednesday 06, 2017 Road to Remembrance , by Michael  Grealy, Fragile traces of past, this photo attracted my attention:

Miss Coll Knitting socks direct from sheep’s fleece.

It reminded me of an article I had read in Wool Gathering by The Hamilton Wool and Craft Guild. So I dug out my copy and read it again. It inspired me to pull out the needles and a fleece and experiment.

Here is the result:


I found it a slow way to knit, as I had to stop to draft out the fibres. Pre drafting the fleece would speed up the knitting. I found it harder to get an even gist when drafting fibre for knitting with the 5.5mm needles.  It was surprisingly easy to draft evenly when knitting with the 2.5mm needles.

The photo from the War Memorial suggests the fleece Miss Coll is knitting with is unwashed. The lanolin in the fleece would of made the socks water proof. Water proof socks would of been advantageous in the trenches.

If you are inspired to give this a go, please let me know how you go and send me some photos.


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Spiral Toe Up Tube Socks


Photo on left  is a size 4 ladies and on right size 9 ladies and the socks fits both.

Spiral tube socks were often knit during the war for soldiers as they have no heel so fit a variety of feet sizes. The purpose of the spiral toe is to allow the sock to be worn in any position. They also wear evenly as the heel can be rotated. The stretchy nature of the spiral pattern makes for a nice fit.

My sock starts with a spiral toe, then is worked in a spiral stitch pattern for the foot and leg and finished with a rib cuff.

Materials: 4ply sock yarn
Needles: set of 4 x 2.75mm, 20cm double pointed needles

Using a figure 8 cast on cast on 10sts on 2 of the 4 needles


k = Knit, Kfb = Knit into the front and back of stitch p = Purl

Round 1 k (10sts)

Round 2 *k1, kfb repeat (15)
Round 3 k ( dividing stitches onto 3 needles, 5 sts on each)
Round 4 * k2,kfb repeat (20)
Round 5 & 6 Knit
Round 7 *k3, kfb, repeat (25)
Round 8 & 9 Knit
Round 10 *k4, kfb, repeat (30)
Round 11 & 12 Knit
Round 13 *k5, kfb, repeat (35)
Round 14, 15,16 Knit
Round 17 *k6, kfb, repeat (40)
Round 18, 19,20 Knit
Round 21 *k7, kfb, repeat (45)
Round 22,23,24 Knit
Round 25 *k8, kfb, repeat (50)
Round 26, 27, 28 Knit
Round 29 *k9, kfb, repeat (55)

Work leg
Work in a spiral *k3,p1 repeat until sock measures desired length.
Increase one stitch in final round of pattern (56)

Work in K2,p2 rib for 5cms

Cast off with a stretchy bind off.

My tutorial for a figure 8 cast on is on YouTube

I will write up the pattern for an 8 ply version in the near future.

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The BBB (The beautiful, boy, beanie)

89486950-2490-4101-A01F-8AD5F223D858Designed for my conservative men. This is a blokes beanie with a little more interest in the pattern than a 2×2 rib, to keep us knitters engaged. The pattern was adapted into the round from the Mon Tricot dictionary. A lovely old book I found in an op shop years ago, it was well worn when I got it and now even more so!

This beanie dose not have a turned up brim, nor does it suit one as the pattern is not

Knit in dull colours this will be a sure fire winner with your bloke too


K – Knit, P – Purl, K2tog – Knit two together SSK slip, slip, knit those two stitches together
St(s) – Stitch, stitches

8ply/DK/ light worsted yarn
I’ve knitted a couple of these with my handspun.

My gauge on unstretched fabric was 4 sts per inch on 4.5mm needles.
Knit for gauge, by knitting a couple of inches of the hat then check to see this will fit a head.

A moss stitch rib doesn’t have the same elasticity as a 2 x2 rib.
There is some stretch in this hat. The width of hat is 20cm (8 inches) unstretched in the teen size.  To change the size, change the number of stitches cast on, for the pattern to work the cast on number must be a multiple of 4. Increasing the length will also alter the size.

Needles etc…
4.5mm, 40 cm circulars or your preferred needles for knitting in the round.
A Stitch marker for marking beginning of round.

For a smooth join I like to cast on one extra stitch and knit this together with the first stitch of the round. Instructions for round 1 are written in this way.


Starting at brim-
Cast on 85 st (teen) 93st (medium) 97 (large) slip last stitch onto left needle.
Place beginning of round marker on right needle.

Round 1 k2tog, k2, p1, (k3,p1) repeat () to end of round (84 sts)

Round 2 (k2,p1,k1) to end of round
Round 3. (k3,p1) to end of round

Repeat rounds 2 and 3 until hat measures 20 cm (8 inches) or length desired from cast on.

Shape top
Note: as number of stitches decrease switch to double pointed needles, or magic loop method

Round 1 (K2, p2tog) repeat to end (63 sts)
Round 2 Knit, to end
Round 3 (K2tog, p1) repeat to end(42 sts)
Round 4 knit, to end
Round 5 ssk, to end (21 sts)

Continue to ssk, until 6 sts remain.

Break yarn.
Thread yarn through remaining stitches pull to tighten and thread end to inside of hat, secure by running thread through gathered stitches then weaving in end.

Weave in beginning yarn.


Wash in wool wash and lay flat to dry.
Don’t skip the finishing. It evens out the stitching, giving a more professional look to your work. When selling your work you need to ensure the item survives washing!

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Jamestown Show Hat


I wrote this pattern up for the Jamestown Show, Sheep to Hat challenge. The challenge was to shear a sheep, spin it’s fleece and knit a hat. We timed ourselves and I designed the hat to enable five knitters to work on the hat at the same time.  We completed the hat in 3 hours and 24 minutes a time to beat next year.

The day was a lot of fun, with many of our audience having never seen spinning before! Many thanks to the great team who travelled from as far away as Adelaide and Whyalla to participate. Ally was brave enough to put the unwashed hat upon her head.

The hat is now residing in the kitchen at the shop, waiting for next years Show. I had many asking for the pattern so here it is. It would make a great beginners project only needing cast on, knit stitch and knit two together. If using a commercial yarn I would use a 10ply. The pattern could be easily adjusted for a child by using a lighter weight yarn, or by changing the number of stitches in the section.


Hat Pattern

Yarn: handspun yarn around wpi 10
Needles: 4.5mm

Hat is made in five sections and seamed together.

Make 5 sections

Cast on 20st
Knit every row until piece measures 22cms

Decrease for crown
Decrease row – K2tog, knit to end
Repeat decrease row until 1 st remains.

Break yarn and finish

Using mattress stitch, seam the five pieces together along the long side.

If you do Knit the hat please share the results with me.


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Basic Beanie In The Round

Knitting hats in the round is fast and easy. When knitting in the round there is very little purling and no seaming!
This pattern will start on a 40cm circular needle for the brim and body of the hat and change to double pointed needles to reduce the crown. When stitches are decreased they no longer fit comfortably on the 40cm circular needle and are easier to work on double pointed needles.
This pattern uses minimum abbreviations, to help a beginner better understand.
Knitted hats are mostly worked from the brim to the crown. Brims tend to be worked in a ribbing to prevent them rolling and to provide a firm fit. When the brim is completed, the main body of the hat is knit. Once the required height for the hat is reached, the crown is knitted by reducing stitches. The remaining stitches are threaded onto the cut working yarn and pulled tight and secured by stitching.
2 x 50gms balls of Totem 8 ply by Patons, (200 meters)
Other 8ply yarns can be substituted. When substituting yarns, it is important it be of the same weight. A good guide is to look at the number of meters in the balls, a similar amount is needed. Fibre content is important too. Wool is best as it has the elasticity to fit well and keep the correct shape.
1 X 4mm, 40cm circular needle,
1 set of 4, 4mm double pointed needles
Don’t be tempted to buy cheap needles, often the joins are not smooth, they are difficult to work with and can damage the yarn.
1 x stitch marker, a piece of scrap yarn in a contrasting colour works well. The stitch marker is used to mark the beginning of the rounds.
K – knit
P- Purl
Sts – stitches
( ) – instructions in brackets are repeated
K2tog – knit two stitches together
DPNS – double pointed Needles
22sts to 10cms
If gauge is loose there will be less stitches to the 10 cms, if tight there will be more stitches.
To change your gauge, change the needle size used. Loose knitters use a smaller needle size 3.75mm and tight knitters use a 4.5mm needle size
Size – Adult
This hat is 52cm in circumference slightly smaller than an average adult head. This allows it to fit snug. The height from brim to crown is 25 cms, this measurement is best generous, allowing coverage of ears, or even the brim to be turned up.
It is easy to adjust the size of the pattern by adding or reducing the cast on stitches by a multiple of 4, and be increasing or decreasing the height of the hat. If changes are made, then it is necessary to also make changes to the crown decreases.
For your first hat keep to the numbers in the pattern. It will fit someone.
The Pattern
Cast on 100sts on 40 cm circular needles and place marker to mark beginning of round.
Join in the round as you knit the first round below.
The Brim – Worked in Colour A
Rounds 1 – 14 (k2,P2) to end or round
Additional rounds of rib can be knitted if desired. When making a brim to turn up, place a round of knit stitches at the fold position, then return to (k2,P2) rib. This make a crisp turn up.
The Body – Worked in Colour B
Break colour A and tie in Colour B, use a half bow, it is easy to undo and sew in snuggly when the hat is completed. If a knot is tied, it can work to an obvious spot in the knitting.

Work in stocking stitch until the hat measures 20cms from cast on edge

When working in the round, stocking stitch is made by knitting every round, no purling is done.
The Crown – Worked in Colour A
Break yarn B and join in yarn A
Knit one round before decreasing. Adding this round makes for a neater colour change, preventing the K2togs from showing in the body of the hat.
When the stitches are too few and are stretching the hat. Knit the stitches onto the double pointed needles. Double pointed needles are worked by having stitches divided evenly onto three needles and knitting with a fourth. As each needles stitches are knitted off, it becomes the working needle.
Round 1 – (k8, k2tog) to end of round (90sts)
Round 2 and all even round – knit
Round 3 – (k7, k2tog) to end of round (80)
Round 5 – (k6, k2tog) to end of round (70)
Round 7 – (k5, k2tog) to end of round (60) – (change to DPNS)
Round 9 – (k4, k2tog) to end of round (50)
Round 11 – (k3, k2tog) to end of round (40)
Round 13 – (k2, k2tog) to end of round (30)
Round 15 – (k1, k2tog) to end of round (20)
Round 16 – (k2tog) to end of round (10)

Break the yarn, leaving a tail of 20cms. Thread the tail onto a darning needle and thread through the last ten stitches. Thread through the first stitch to the last stitch. Pull tight to close the stiches. Do this a couple more times to make the top of the hat secure. Bring the yarn to the wrong side of the hat and weave in the end.
Untie the colour joins and tie them snug. Sewing in the ends in opposite directs.
To block your hat, soak it in warm water. Gently squeeze out the water and lay the hat flat to dry, pulling it gently into shape. Blocking helps even the stitches giving a professional look to your work. If selling your work this is a must, ensuring the hat will not shrink when washed correctly by its new owner.

Thankyou Gemma for modelling