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 :)