Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunshiny sunflowers

Well it is Christmas eve and I have done a tonne of cooking today in preparation for tomorrow. We made over 60 Greek shortbreads at lunchtime and I’m cooking a roast pork roll and roast chicken at the moment. It has been so hot today I couldn’t put the oven on for that long.

Tomorrow looks like it will be a lot cooler and wetter.

I went out into my tiny patch of garden this morning and managed to get a shot of a sunflower that has just opened up. It is gorgeous. I’ve never grown them before but I tossed some seeds in spring and this is the result. There are another 5 plants that are about to flower.


So craft…

I’ve just wrapped up a few presents without taking any photos so I’ll have to get people to model them for me.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Urgent Christmas Knitting in progress

Well it is only 4 days away and I’m still knitting some of my presents.

Here is a quick update of the sock knitting

Granpa's socks

These are Granpa’s socks, very plain blue ones. They are wrapped and at my Mum’s house waiting for the big day.

Grandad's socks in progress

Here is one of my Grandad’s socks complete and one still in progress. I ran out of brown self-striping yarn so they are being finished off in a plain cream wool with a bit of the self striping mixed in. Hopefully they don’t look too strange.

I have done another pair of socks but I didn’t get a picture of them so I’ll have to get a pic when they get opened.

I’ve been quite productive over the last few days, sewing, beading and knitting. I’ll try and get pictures of things when they get unwrapped.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

the flash… modelling the nappies

Ash wore some of his new nappies today and I tried to get a photo of him modelling them. He is crawling so fast that it is hard to get a good shot of him when he is still. Here are a couple of action shots that I managed to take.

Cloth nappy

Alien covered bottom 

He needs some baby legs now to protect his knees. The carpet is a little harsh on his chubby little knees.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sewing: nappies... modern cloth style

Well I managed to sew 7 nappies on the weekend. They have been waiting around since July to be made up. So it was very satisfying to clear these out of my to do pile. I’m pretty happy with my technique now as well, doing 7 at once makes the process very efficient, as long as they are the same in colour anyway. The last lot I did all had different colour covers which meant a lot of thread changing.

Cloth nappies 6 green and 1 alien

We’ve been a little slack on the cloth nappy front. Ash wears them about one day each week so we aren’t making much of an environmental saving with them. This is about to change now that we have about 3 days worth of cloth nappies, it means we can have half in the wash and the other half in use.

I like the cute patterned polar fleece ones but they are a lot more bulky than the pul ones. I’ve run out of pul lining for the patterned ones as well so I’ll have to think about how many more I want to make. I got a little obsessed with cloth nappies at the end of my pregnancy and found a lot of great patterns and websites with information on making nappies, but the reality is that you really need the baby to check the fit and sizing. Now that Ash is a little bigger these nappies seem to fit a lot better and there are a lot less problems with leaks.

Ash in another cloth nappy during hot weather

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekend Knitting: a review

I’m still on my knitting book binge and picked up Weekend knitting by Melanie Falick earlier this week. I really like the idea of some quick projects to plough through before Christmas. Also the possibility of projects that are smallish and therefore not to hot to hold and knit in this 30 degree heat.

weekend knitting

This is a great knitting book, it includes activities and recipes as well as stories behind the patterns. This style of writing makes it a book that you can pick up and read for pleasure as well as use for the patterns. It feels like a treat to be able to dip in and sample the short little vignettes and then move onto some good photographs alongside pattern notation.

I can see a checkerboard, legwarmers, lace-edged pillowcases, argyle slippers, flower washcloths, fluffy lace camisole and a felted stash accessories bag in my future.

I’m also very inspired by the finger puppets, I can see some of my fabric stash being coopted into little finger and hand puppets.

The checkerboard has a new technique that I would like to try as well, double knitting. It really pays to read the notes the whole way through, now the pattern makes more sense.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How do other mums do it?

I read so many blogs of mums who craft and I am in awe of how they achieve so much. Where do they find the time? They appear to be reading just as many blogs as I do, they talk about multiple children. Where do they find the time?

I feel exhausted even contemplating the crafty things that I want to do. I just packed away the knitting machine, I really don’t see myself getting the time. I’m seriously thinking of selling off all my beads. I’ve got a 90 litre tub full and they are just too dangerous to have around the little one.

I have material cut out that just needs sewing up into some trousers for me and a pair for Ash. I think of doing it while he is having a nap, but then I don’t want to run the risk of waking him as he is just in the next room.

Does your life feel cluttered? I feel that I have so many things on the go that I need to rationalise the clutter to make any kind of impact on my lifestyle. But then I think about how much I have invested in this clutter and get depressed at the thought of giving it the heave-ho with no recompense.

There is always the thought that if I give it to charity it is doing good for others and the good will make it back around to me. But really has that ever happened? I give stuff to people, help people and I’m always pleasant and I rarely see others returning this sort of behaviour.

I’m hoping the care/craft mix of my life will even out a bit in the next year as Ash gets more independent and we start getting regular sleep patterns. The irregular sleep is really impacting on my day-to-day activities, or lack there of.

Ok bitch and moan over…

Monday, November 9, 2009

Toe up magic loop

Wow, why didn’t I try this earlier. Knitting socks from the toe up using my favourite bamboo circular needles is so easy. I only looked at the instructions once and then just powered ahead. That is pretty amazing for me, usually I have to pour over knitting instructions for ages to make sure I’ve got the technique correct but this time it just flowed all right.

I’m starting on my Christmas knitting, I figure socks for the grans will be good as you always get cold feet in retirement homes/hostels. I’m going to create secret crazy socks. In other words I’m going to use up my left over painted sock yarn for the foot and make a conservative upper to peak out of the shoes. Hopefully they’ll see the humour and enjoy the hand knit gift.

Here is a peak of the first toe-up sock I’ve done.The toe on the needles The toe and the yarn

Monday, November 2, 2009

I dipped back into the stripy bag

Okay confession time, after lunch I remembered a plan to make Ashby some cute onesies for summer and pulled a couple of really nice soft Bonds tees from the charity bag. Here are the rescued items.

Rescued Bonds tees

I’ll have to make some time for them soon.

Maybe tomorrow. Melbourne Cup Day holiday (ACT)

I really don’t like the Melbourne Cup Day holiday and will be glad to see it go next year. I’ve always really enjoyed working it, everyone is in a good mood, they usually have a nice lunch or afternoon tea. Everybody stops work to watch the race and then the rest of the afternoon is usually a write off because you’ve all had a glass of champagne. Those were the good days BC (before child)

Any tips for the race?

Guilty secrets

I planned for this blog to be about my use and reuse of items within my stash or own collection of clothing. The trouble is that  I have run out of time. I go back to work this week :( and have been sorting through my wardrobe to make sure that I have clothes to wear for work. It was good to rediscover all my old friends but it has made me realise what a collector I have become. So I have done a massive cull.

This has been surprisingly easy. A lot no longer fits. There are a lot of maternity clothes that will not be used again. So it is all packed up into stripy bags awaiting dropping off at a charity store.


I’m feeling slightly guilty that I am not going to recycle some of this into clothes for Ashby but I know that he has plenty of clothing already so I don’t need to make more.

So here they are…Stripy bags full of clothes

proof of my consumerism.

I did cull in January, when we moved house, but obviously not very well. It was very hard to do when I was 8 and a half months pregnant, and unsure what my figure would be like post baby.

Luckily my figure is pretty good (gotta love breastfeeding) and I’ve returned to my pre-baby weight and maintained it for 5 months now. Sorry to brag, but if I get it down in writing then it is all the more reason to stick to it. My maintenance program once I return to work will be riding to work, plus walking with the pram every now and then.

So you may be wondering if I have any clothing left. Yes I do, 2 wardrobes full.

DSC05411 DSC05413

These pictures only show a portion of each as the doors hide the other parts. The leftovers need reorganising and I think that after that I will have to get into the shoes.  That will be really hard as I really love my shoe collection, but I can’t see myself wearing any of those stilettos anytime soon. They are not exactly walking with the pram type of shoes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sewing: Jeans

I’ve made the little one some jeans. They are so gorgeous but too big. It will probably only take about 2 months for him to grow into them but I am impatient because I'm so happy with how good they look. I’ve cut out another pair of pants that I’ll size down a little so that he can wear them now.

Jeans - back, faux pocket flap with lion on it

I’ve just realised that I don’t have a photo of the finished front. Here is one in progress. I did faux pockets on the front, just stitched them on.

Front - in progressI'm loving making trousers for Ash, they are so quick and easy, especially when I just do an elastic waist to make it easy to get over the nappy butt.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Well we are back from our quick holiday up north and I have a new big stash of fabric from Mum and her friends and I have had little time to even unpack the bag let alone do any real sewing. I’ve darned holes and reattached buttons but I’ve done very little else. I’ve haven’t even been blogging much, the laptop has been languishing in the kitchen as I’ve been knitting, by hand, to finish a project that I started at least a year ago.

The beautiful spring weather has deserted us and it is miserable and cold again so I think that is why I have been living on the couch with my knitting when I get any spare time in the evening.

During brief moments of sunshine we managed to get to Floriade twice this year so here are some beautiful spring flowers that I have been enjoying on my screensaver.

DSC04452 DSC04434 DSC04435 DSC04441 DSC04443 DSC04448

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fair Isle experiment number 2

I had another go at Fair Isle yesterday before packing up the machine. It was a rough start, I didn’t have the second yarn in the right position so I dropped all the stitched for that yarn, but then I got it sorted out.

Here is the result:

Fair Isle scarfClose-up dot and start of hem

Here is a shot of the back of the fabric. It is so interesting and sometimes I think it is just as pretty as the front. I plan to cover it up though. I’ll back it with polar fleece so that all those floating threads are less likely to catch. Then it is getting wrapped and gifted off to my Mum. (Lucky she doesn’t read this blog yet, eh!) The back as pretty as the front!  It is interesting how tastes change, I never liked Fair Isle patterning. I thought it was too granny-ish and it is so 80s, but I guess the 80s are back in so many ways and I really like this now. I don’t think that I could come at a jumper for me, but definitely one for the little tacker is in the works.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Machine knitting fun

As I posted a while ago I dragged out my knitting machine and I’ve been playing with it. I have yet to finish anything and I have ripped back nearly everything, which can be frustrating but then again I haven’t really been following a pattern. The pattern books that I have are the original 70s and 80s ones that I’m not really into. The 70s basic raglan and crew neck jumpers are really cute but from previous experience they aren’t really designed for my body, they sit incredibly high under the arm and the rest of the sizing is very fitted as well.

Singer knitting machine main bed Knitting machine

  Here she is, my wonderful old hunk of metal. It’s pretty heavy and is precariously attached to my dining table at the moment, which hubby is not so fond of looking at :)


Here is a sample of the fabric it creates, it is so uniform and fine. I’ve used an old 5 ply  merino in this sample, it has a really silky kind of texture.

Fair isle attempt, balloons

I tried out some fair isle patterning which went ok, unfortunately a couple of the needles need replacing and kind of wrecked one side of the intended project. I’ve serviced the machine now and hopefully the next attempt will be perfect.

I can’t wait to do some more, but I have to pack it up for the long weekend :( I really wish I had a large studio so that I could leave all my machines out, that way I could just walk in and pick up where I left off in those rare moments the bub is asleep or entertained.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Knit Couture – a review

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a knitting book binge. Knit Couture is the latest victim. I feel like I am looking for the perfect pattern to inspire me. I currently have quite a few knitting projects on the go but I’m still looking for something else.

Well… onto the review. I’m disappointed. The book has a lot of history and development of contemporary fashion designers who use knitwear in their collections which I found really interesting. I even remember studying a couple of these designers myself a few years ago in design school. People like Vivienne  Westwood and Kenzo who have done absolutely amazing things with knitwear.

When it came to the actual knitting projects I just wasn’t inspired. The photography is all  dark, arty and broody so you can’t actually see the detail. This was so frustrating, other people probably wouldn’t find it  a problem but I am a visual learner. I need to see things in detail in order to understand them. The written pattern is fine, but I like to see a visual representation in order to know where I am going and to know that I am on the right track with the patterning. There is an absolutely gorgeous skirt in the book that looks to have beautiful lace detailing but the pattern is written and has no supporting graph or close-up photograph.

I consider myself an intermediate knitter, I like a challenge every now and then and probably could easily handle something that is a little advanced as long as the instructions are clear. The other problem is that this book is geared to imperial measurements and does not have metric in brackets for ease of use by Aussies.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sleep, what was that

With a 6 month old baby you kind of forget what it is like to get a good nights sleep. The trouble is that in the last couple of months of the pregnancy I didn't sleep very well either, so that means that I haven't slept a solid 8 hours in at least 9 months. Last night I got 6 hours in a row! It was so nice. Bub has had a shocking week, his cold has meant that he hasn't been sleeping very well. But yesterday he seemed to turn a corner and is starting to do better. (Plus we had a big day out in the lovely sunshine and that wore him out.)

The middle of the night breastfeeds have not been too much of a chore. I've been catching up on some podcasts to keep me awake. I caught up on Cast-on which has been really good. I love the music that she chooses for the show. I've really enjoyed the most recent series of "Make do and mend". I've been trying to do more of that myself since I started maternity leave. When I look at my wardrobe it horrifies me. I don't just have one wardrobe I seem to have 3, with large bags of clothes lurking in the bottom of each containing maternity clothes, work clothes, fat clothes... the list goes on.

The other thing that I have discovered is audiobooks from my local library. I've started listening to Chasing Harry Winston (the same author of The Devil wears Prada). The library has heaps of different titles to choose from and I can transfer them from my PC to an MP3 player which is really convenient. I now have no excuse not to go walking or cycling. I'm a bit of a lazy exerciser, I get bored really quickly so if there is no one around to make me do something or to keep me interested I kind of slack off.

Anyway, I may head off to bed now, I'm actually looking forward to my late night wake-up call so I can get on with more of the book :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Baby leggins

So here are the leggins that I made the other day that I blogged about. Here is the long sleeved tee that was sacrificed to the cause...
I used the arms to make the leggins. I laid a pair that currently fit him (sort of) onto the sleeve to use as a pattern, then I cut it out quite a bit longer and a little wider on the waist, so that he can grow into them for a little bit. (He is growing like a weed)
I laid the right sides together and joined the crotch, I haven't worried about having a defined front or back crotch, considering the nappy makes the crotch huge anyway. I did a stretch stitch on the sewing machine and also neatened it up on the overlocker.
I overlocked the edge of the waist. Turned it down to make a casing for the elastic. I cut elastic a little larger than ones that he is currently wearing. Here is the finished product...
Here is the bub modelling them. Pretty successful 20 mins work I think.

Erghh, sick and tired

We've had 2 days of being really sick with a virus, the bub and I. We've both been whingey, runny nosed blobs in bed. That paints a delightful picture I'm sure.
On the up side I kept to my deadline and managed to photograph and get one thing up on etsy! Woohoo. Since then I have managed to add 2 more things as well. Check them out in the sidebar.
One of the hearts in my heart pendant necklace. Hard to part with this one, but I know that I am never likely to wear it.
The weather is so gorgeous today, here in Canberra, it feels like spring has finally arrived. I feel invigorated, it is amazing what a little vitamin d can do for you after a long winter and a cold.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Getting to it

Guess what? I actually got my sewing gear out today. I made a pair of trousers and trialed out a new bib for the bub. It was fun to do something on the fly. I haven't had the chance to do that for a while. I used up an old men's t-shirt that was due to be sent to the op shop, so I am sticking by my de-stashing/refashioning goal.
I even got out the camera to take photos of some projects to put up on etsy and found that it had a flat battery :( I documented my t-shirt refashion using my mobile phone, so as soon as I have a pic of the bub modelling the finished product I'll put up a post.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Get on with it already

Wow, way to procrastinate. I keep thinking about doing the etsy thing but keep delaying. I guess I haven't really made it a priority so there is always something else to do. Even if I don''t get any sewing done there are heaps of old beading projects that are saleable.

The trouble with loving to bead but being allergic to base metals is that I keep creating and then just shoving them into gift bags as presents for my family. But I'm pretty sure my family members are kind of over beaded jewellery for Christmas and birthday presents. Same with the knitting thing, most of our family live in the north so they really don't need scarves or woollen socks in their climate.

So to make myself do something about this I'm going to blog a deadline. Saturday afternoon, I am going to put something up for sale on etsy. There... it is said now, no going back.

Time to tend to the bub, he has a runny nose and bad cough poor thing, so the procrastinating isn't all about me, some of it is about caring for him ;)

Friday, September 4, 2009


Even though I am not currently going to work I still really cherish the weekends. It is a time when I know there will be help and time off from my darling boy. Time to sleep in in the mornings (or nip across the road early on Saturday morning to check out the farmers market. Bacon and egg roll, fresh, hot chai, yummmm) I might even get some time to work on some craft projects.

My current obsession is playing with my knitting machine. I pulled it out recently to see if it still worked. It has been in storage for a few years now and I couldn't remember the state I left it in last time I used it. It needs a bit of a service but is still in good working order for something that is at least 25 years off age. I've been churning out bits but with not much success. I have a huge stash of machine knitting cones and quite a few old patterns from the 70s and 80s but the fit of these patterns is really not great for the modern silhouette. I need to spend some time working out gauge and design, rather than just designing on the fly. It's frustrating when you have a design in mind but can't translate them to the medium.

The other problem with the knitting machine is that my darling boy can't stand the noise it makes! Poor thing, he cries whenever I think that I might have a spare minute to run the carriage over the needles. I guess it is his equivalent of nails dragging down a blackboard.

I'll try and get pics of my ancient singer to put up and some samples of the cloth that I have been turning out. A lot of it has been frogged and rewound in frustration but some samples are still languishing on the table.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I just saw this short post by Roy Tennant and realised that I can agree and disagree with him. I keep my professional and my personal interests in separate readers so that if I am at work I can catch up on professional matters quite quickly. Since I have been on maternity leave I haven't looked at that feed reader more than once in 6 months. So I look at and listen to all the Twitter commentary with interest, but I feel that I have missed out on half of the conversation. I've signed up and I'm following a few people but still haven't really gotten into it, maybe that will change now that I have downloaded Tweetdeck.

Bring it on. Time to get back into that professional groove.

Keeping me awake at night

Do you ever have those weeks where you seem to be brimming ideas, but most of them seem to hit you just as you are trying to get to sleep? The last 2 nights my darling boy has slept 8 hours and I have slept around 4-5 hours. Ergghhh, my brain just won't switch off. I need to take a notepad to bed, write down all the ideas and then I may get some relief. My visual diary has so many ideas in it, but I have made little real progress on actually constructing anything.

My mother's group met today and it was so nice to hear that the other mother's are experiencing similar things to me. One friend referred it to as the ground hog day effect. Doing the same thing each day over and over and making little progress.

I've been thinking about baby accessories that I would like to make. There are quite a few that I think would help me out, to stay organised and feel a little co-ordinated so I'm sure that they  would sell as well. Like a Nappy change organiser in a wet bag so you could take home any disasters without contaminating everything.
I keep writing posts in my head... there are not enough hours in the day. Anyway the boy is off to sleep so I might try and get comatose early :)

Monday, August 31, 2009


Not so long ago I was reading a post about bibs that a mum was deciding over and I thought the idea of a pelican bib was kind of weird. (There is an example of a plastic moulded one here.) What would you need a pocket on a bib for? Now I know. My DS is trying out finger food and I can see now that a pocket would prevent so much of the food ending up in his lap. The high chair tray only covers so much then there is the gap between the bib and the tray where everything seems to end up. I have been draping him in a tea towel and then puttting a bib on in an effort to not have 3 changes of clothing a day.

So the next design project is going to be some bibs with pockets. I'll have to do some research. I have a great normal bib pattern that I have been using for the last 2 months. I hope to have a few in my Etsy store soon, for sale. Here are some WIPs they just need some velcro to finish them off.

Next time I'll get a shot of the bub in one. He is so cute I have thousands of pics of him so will have to introduce him to this blog as my chief model.

Craft, social applications and libraries

While reviewing Custom Knits yesterday I had a quick scan of the patterns that were up on Ravelry. I noticed that there is "search your local libraries" hyperlink on the left hand side. How cool is this? It links you through to WorldCat and you can find the book in a library near you.

Unfortunately it couldn't find a copy in Canberra (even though I have a current copy from ACT Library service) I guess the data that they are drawing from does not include this service. There were plenty of other Australian libraries listed and they even had how far away the library is from me, e.g. Waverly Council Library has a copy and it is only 245 kilometres away!

Also I don't spend enough time on Ravelry, it is really helpful. I had a quick flick through people who had blogged about the pattern that I was interested and I looked at how other knitter's had completed Ingenue. I think this social extension to patterns helps you determine if you are going to have any problems with a pattern and you can see real women wearing the style. (Helpful for us short people who are not model size)

I love techy stuff, it is so hard to keep ahead of it though. I feel out of touch even though I have only been away from work for 7 months I don't feel that I have been keeping up the exponenetial growth of social tools and how libraries are hooking into them. Oh well, I'll be back to work soon enough and then I'll have to be super-mum with no time to spare at all.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Review: Custom Knits

I recently managed to get a copy of Custom Knits, by Wendy Bernard, from the library and thought I'd write a quick review. I didn't realise until I read the introduction that I'd read her work before through reading her blog, where I have admired her patterns for a while. The knitting world is so small isn't it?

I love top-down construction methods of knitting and was excited to see that you could do it with set-in sleeves. It was kind of a light bulb moment when I read that. D'oh. Her instructions are pretty clear and I like the way that she gives you options/tips on how to alter the patterns.

Of course the test of any pattern book is the actual number of patterns that you are likely to use. There are 11 in this one that I would be very happy to try so I'm even contemplating buying my own copy. The extra information that she includes like short row knitting and making your own dressmakers dummy makes this book a solid investment. The inclusion of classic designs mean that you could use this text for years to come adapting to the latest fashions with ease.

I have a bit of a problem with the styling of the shots. I know that she lives in California so there is not much need for excessive clothing but there seems to be a lot of leg in these photos. Is it just me or are there a lot of shorts and undies? Am I showing my age? I'm really not that old, but I think if you are wearing a cardi it is likely that your legs will be just as cold as your arms and would probably be covered up as well. At least you can see all the details of the knits, they are all shot in full daylight, which is the complete opposite of another book that I have from the library at the moment. ( I'll review it later it this week.)

Fave pattern: I'd really like to try knitting up Ingenue (Ravelry link)

I like the wide neck on this one, the length in the body seems perfect, I think that I would prefer long sleeves, so that is one mod I'd do to make it my own. It is very rare that I follow a pattern the whole way through, I always have to a large bust alteration and I usually change the length of the body - short stuff.

It is silly that I have only discovered this at the end of winter, so I'll have to plan on doing it for next winter.