It is all about the food in Penang

That’s right it is all about the food in Penang.

As most of you know I am travelling around the globe with my partner in crime Dean.  We have taken 12 months off from our normal life back in Brisbane, Australia to explore the world.  So we are now into week 11 of our trip and have made it to Penang in Malaysia, the food capital of South East Asia.  Upon leaving Brisbane, we have been to New Zealand and then Perth in Australia.

We first visited Penang in August 2015 and only stayed for 4 days, but we both loved the people, the culture and most importantly the food of this bustling island off the coast of Malaysia.  We vowed to one day come back.  Little did we realise that it would be sooner, rather than later.  This time we are here for 4 weeks in total and are now into week 3 of our stay.

The food here is simple but very good.  Our favourites so far are Char Kuey Teow (a must dish to try and one of the most famous Penang dishes), Claypot Chicken, Salted Fish Rice and Mee Goreng to name a few.  My favourite is the Claypot Chicken with Char Kuey Teow winning hands down for Dean.

On every street corner you will find little old (and some not so old as well) Malaysian women and men selling their dish and these are known as street hawkers.  We have come accustomed to eating from these vendors for two main reasons, we are supporting the local small business and most importantly the food definitely tastes better and is cheap.

There are all cuisines here in Penang ranging from Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Nonya, Japanese, Chinese, to name a few  and there are plenty of western restaurants as well.  We like to steer clear of these and soak up the food and culture of the place we are staying at the time.  To be honest have not missed the western food at all, which is surprising.

We look forward to every day working out where we can find some new street hawker to taste their lovely food.  Because the food is cheap here you can afford to eat out for every meal.

So if you ever get the chance, you should definitely put Penang of your list of must visit cities of the world.

It will be sad to leave this lovely island in paradise, but our next stop is another place we visited last year called Chiang Mai in Thailand, so looking forward to being able to explore this great city in more depth.

Just some photo’s of the food that we have been enjoying.



Who is my favourite Indie Dyer?

Today I wanted to write about one of my favourite Indie Dyers who comes from Hereford, England, United Kingdom and her name is Kate Selene.

I stumbled across her when I realised my love for Indie Dyers and was searching through Etsy.

I instantly fell in love with her wool as the bright colours drew me in straight away.  I immediately purchased her Pop Fizzle big bundle-Sock yarn/4ply – dyed to order -500 grams of super wash merino wool.

So after a very patient (and sometimes not so patient) 5 week wait for my wool, it finally arrived and I can tell you I was over the moon with joy.  The wool is even better in real life.  So soft and squishy and the colours just pop through and I just love how she manages to do this.  Please note that the she states that her delivery time is between 4-6 weeks (depending on where you live in the world).  The reason for this is that Kate is a one woman indie dyer who does a fantastic job of producing fabulous wool.  Trust me it is well worth the wait.

I have made a couple of items from my purchase and the wool is such a joy to knit.  Was quite surprised when I first cast on with it.

I used it in some striped socks and some stripes fingerless gloves.  The gloves are for when we head to Japan in January.  Now that is a story for another blog, so stay tuned…



Who does not like getting a parcel?

That’s right, put your hand up if you do not like getting a parcel.  Lucky I can’t see you as I’m not sure I have ever met anybody that does not like receiving parcels in the mail.  Even better, what about the idea of receiving a surprise parcel containing something that you are passionate about?  Goodness I am super excited all ready, just thinking about it.

What about the joy of choosing some wool goodness that is specifically for your fellow woolswapper and then knowing that you are spreading joy to other people from around the world.

This is what has happened to fellow Woolswappers who have already joined the wool swapping revolution and who have received and given amazing parcels in previous swaps.

Just have a look at some of these great swaps.


So if you are interested in giving and receiving a parcel from like minded wool swappers, who will understand your likes and interests, join up today as the third round of Woolswap, (and last round for 2016),  is now taking registrations until 15th November 2016.

As you can see the possibilities are endless of what you can send and receive, so don’t delay, join up today to be apart of  the wool swapping revolution.


Second Sock Syndrome

I am now 5 weeks in on my round the globe trip and have been loving being back in my home country of New Zealand.

Have had plenty of time to just relax and hang with my mother and this has given me an abundance of time to do some more knitting of my passion at the moment socks!!  But what has now happened is that I have now discovered that I have second sock syndrome.  Oh no!!  This has come about because I have knitted one sock and then keep seeing new pattern ideas on Instagram and Ravelry. Dam you Ravelry for making it so easy to download new patterns.

So here are a few of what I have started:

Second Sock Syndrome

Second Sock Syndrome


Top left is the pattern is “Parthenon Socks” by Jill Wright and the wool is  “Mango Sorbet” by NaturalFibreArts (one of my favourite Australian Indie Dyers)

Middle is the pattern “Celtic Climbers” by Lisa K Ross and the wool is “Frog Pond” by OfGraceAndStitches who is a fairly new Indie Dyer from USA, but definitely well worth checking her out on Etsy as her wool is amazing.

Bottom is the pattern “Smooth Operator” by Susan B Anderson.  The is definitely my all time favourite sock pattern so far.  It is so easy to knit up and so versatile.  The wool is “Haunted Mesa” by Savvyskeins.  I was lucky enough to receive this in a woolswap parcel I received.  Love the colour ways in this one.

Just so that I can prove to myself that I can knit the second sock have finished one and cast on the mate straight away.


I have now put a self imposed ban on starting any  new sock pattern until all the mates to the above socks are finished.  Wish me luck with that!

Twenty Seven Days In

Cannot believe that I am into day 27 of our trip around the world for 12 months.

Have been enjoying just hanging with my mum here in Ashburton, New Zealand, doing all of the mother/daughter stuff such as coffee’s and lunches out and of course plenty of shopping.

As I have been living in Brisbane, Australia (after moving there over 22 years ago from New Zealand), it is great spending some quality time with my mum.

Mum and I at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Mum and I at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand

Thought that I would have plenty of time to work on Woolswap and knit, but the general day to day life has been taking  over.  But hey let’s face it after working a 9 -5 job for the last 30 odd years with no break, it sure is nice just chilling.  Even better when you can do this with family of course.

I have managed to keep some socks on the needles and try and knit any chance that I get when sitting (if I am sitting you can generally find me knitting).  Have managed to finish one pair of socks since being on the road and have another two pairs of socks on the go.  That is the danger when you have numerous sets of needles….

Completed Scrappy Socks

Completed Scrappy Socks

I have some new and ongoing ideas for Woolswap in my head and just need to get down to the business of making these ideas come to fruition  Gosh as I am typing this more ideas are flowing, so had better go now and jot these down on paper, so I don’t forget.

Ashford Handicrafts

Famous for making Spinning Wheels

Famous for making Spinning Wheels

I grew up in a farming town called Ashburton, on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand.  This has a population both of the town and the country district of approx 35,000 people.  Now this is where I am basing myself whilst we are in New Zealand for the next 5 weeks.  First stop on our 12 months journey around the globe.

One of Ashburton’s most famous businesses is Ashford Handicrafts which is situated on West Street (the main thoroughfare through town).  In 1934 Walter Ashford founded Ashford Handicrafts in New Zealand, a company that has become a world leader in the manufacture of quality wooden textile equipment. 

They are most famous for their spinning wheels which are now sold around the world.  They also sell wool and all accessories for the knitter, crocheter and weaver.

I am lucky enough to have this place within walking distance from my mum’s place (where I am currently staying) and got the opportunity to call in the during the week.  Of course I had to make some purchases and picked up some lovely sock yarn, which will be for my stash or one of my monthly competitions that I run on Instagram.

Below are photo’s of what I did end up purchasing……

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 You can find all details more in depth about Ashfords on their website


Today I wanted to write about one of my favourite Etsy stores in Australia to purchase hand dyed wool and other goodies from.

NaturalFibreArts is a shop on Etsy that is based on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia.  I first came across this shop when I was searching for Australian Indie Dyers.  I instantly fell in love with all of her bright colours and my first purchase consisted of 2 x hand dyed fingering weight yarn – 100gm skeins in Mango Sorbet Colour way and Over the Rainbow Colour Way.

"Over the Rainbow" and "Mango Sorbet"

“Over the Rainbow” and “Mango Sorbet”

I still have the Mango Sorbet to knit up into a pair of socks and use as a contrast colour as well.  Next on my needles I think….

My next purchase from this wonderful shop was some Knitpro Zing 15cm DPN set.  I love, love these needles as they are a dream to knit with and comes in a cute zippered pouch to keep them nice and safe.  I also could not resist getting some more sock wool and purchased hand dyed fingering weight yarn -100gm skein in the colour way A Nanas Love.  I got this one for a custom order for a friend who wanted a pair of socks knitted as a gift for another friend.



“A Nanas Love”

I then purchased some super wash fingering weight 100gm hand dyed in colour way “Silk Way” and some DK hand dyed tweed 100gm skein in colour way “Very Cherry”.  I have yet to knit either of these skeins up yet.

"Very Cherry and "Silk Road"

“Very Cherry and “Silk Road”

My last purchase was some more circular needles for sock knitting as I am so addicted.

Go ahead and check NaturalFibreArts out on Etsy, I’m sure you will not be disappointed as the quality is amazing and the service is brilliant.



Thank You to the Person that Invented Knitting

Who invented Knitting?

Well, that is a good question I hear you knitting buffs say.  According to the internet it can be traced back to the 11th century and I am forever thankful that somebody did , that is for sure.

All I know is that I learnt to knit in the late 1970’s and was taught by my grandmother and mum.  Growing up in a colder climate in the South Island of New Zealand, I soon realised that it was amazing to knit something that looked great and could keep you warm at the same time.

When I firswool shopt started working I would put aside money to purchase enough wool (sometimes putting it on lay-by) at my local wool shop and only purchasing it a ball at a time as needed.

After moving to Brisbane, Australia back in the mid 90’s, my knitting was put on the back burner.  I was just having too much fun enjoying life.

In fact it was only just in the last 5 years or so that I have taken a passionate interest in my knitting.  I even have been teaching myself new techniques like knitting socks, which I am so addicted to.IMG_0059 (1)

I have also discovered the wonderful world of Indie dyers out there.  The internet has made this so easy to purchase wool from around the globe at the touch of your key board.  I purchased wool from some wonderful Indie Dyers out there, from America, UK, Scotland and of course Australia.

So I will continue to follow my knitting passion now and until the end of my days.

Therefore I am forever thankful for the person that invented knitting.

How much wool is enough to pack for my 12 months trip?

Oh the dilemma that I face in a couple of months when I have to pack my suitcases (one medium, one small and one bag pack) for my world trip for 12 months.

I was thinking of around the 1kg mark of wool, which would mean I could take ten 100gram skeins of sock yarn. This is the only thing that I pretty much have left in my stash now. Did I tell you that I am addicted to sock yarn, no, well yes I am!!!

Sock yarn stash

Sock yarn stash

So the first country on our list is New Zealand, which will be fine as I will be able to purchase some lovely home grown New Zealand wool and I will be on the hunt for some unique Indie Dyers that I can purchase from.

The next two cities will be Penang in Malaysia and Chaing Mai in Thailand. Not sure I will be able to purchase wool from these countries, well any indie dyed wool that is.

Then we hope to go to Japan, so looking forward to replenishing my stash by the time we get there. Then it will be Europe and the UK, so all good there for purchasing.

So I reckon 1 kg should keep me busy for the time being.


I think there just might be some room for my clothes!!

My First Ever Giveaway

So about a month ago I did my first ever giveaway on Instagram.

As I will be travelling overseas for 12 months in September, I needed to cull my lovely wool stash.  So first up was some Debbie Bliss Donegal Luxury Tweed Aran wool – 2 x 50 grams balls.

aran giveaway instagram

I got 20 entries and the winner was a lovely lady by the name of Marie from Lincolnshire in England.  After making contact with her to tell her she was a winner, she was so excited as she had never won a competition on Instagram before.  The old saying “you got to be in it to win it” rings true here.  She was even more excited when I told her that the parcel would be coming from Brisbane, Australia.

Now I will always put in some sort of surprise with my giveaways and Marie was over the moon when I included a ball of Crucci Donegal Aran NZ wool.

She very kindly posted a picture on Instagram.

Photo by Marie Hamnett

Photo by Marie Hamnett

I was so excited myself that my first ever wool giveaway has made so much joy to somebody way across the other side of the world.

I will be aiming to do a giveaway once a month and where possible I will theme my giveaway from each country that I visit.   As I hope to visit as many wool stores as I can around the world, I think this will be easily achieved for me to re-stock my stash with some local yarn from each country.

So stay tuned as you have to be in to win it and you could just be the next happy winner like Marie.