Friday, February 23, 2007

Love the beach

This time a month ago 'my beach' would have been jam packed with tourists and holiday makers. Best avoided really. But it's February, everyone has gone back to work and school, the summer holidays are over, and the best weather has arrived! Mid to high 20s all next week - bring it on...

This evening at 5.30pm Mr S went for his first swim.

Of course, my favourite beach time is winter, but this is OK too!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Do sheep do the splits?

No they don't!

I'd nearly finished my sheep, when I noticed its legs gradually moving apart...

Not good.

Had already had a few goes at stuffing my sheep - difficult to get the balance right - I want sufficient firmness without it looking over stuffed. Because knitting stretches, unlike fabric, getting firmness without distorting the shape is very difficult.

I thought I had achieved this. But clearly not! I looked at it for a day, debating back and forth - could I live with it could I not??? I couldn't.

So off with its head! Will need to knit another one as I've nicked the knitting while unpicking the stitching :(

Let's see if I can do better?!?!


Monday, February 19, 2007

The magic of the post

Love getting packages in the mail. Even when I know what's in them, it's terribly exciting finding them in the letterbox, carrying them inside and ripping them open. No delicate surgical approach for me, I want it open, and I want it open now!

I'm still a bit of a reluctant internet shopper - I like to touch and feel what I buy before I buy it, and security worries me too. But there are some really good internet shops and sometimes the temptation is just too great.

Superbuzzy proved just too much for my self restraint! And a nice little package has arrived.

I am going to make Mr S a pair of Robot pants later this year (for next summer - so need to wait to see what size he is) and a linen shirt to match, with Robot trim...

I also bought some more strawberry fabric for my quilt and some ladybird fabric that I don't know what I will do with

I realised this Christmas that virtually none of my current tree decorations will be usable for the next few years (most of them are German and Polish glass balls and figures). So during this year I am going to knit, crochet and sew a new collection. This fun book (yes another Japanese craft book) has some great little felt toys that will be perfect. Scaled up, some of them would make good play toys too.

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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Oh my... my first wool dream!

It's been extremely hot in Melbourne over the last few days - 38 deg C yesterday and today - and it was still 30 deg C at 11pm last night. Very hot and uncomfortable.

Finally I did get to sleep and dreamed. I don't usually remember dreams, but last night I dreamt that I was knitting a hat for Mr S from Jo Sharp's Alpaca Silk Georgette. The pattern was Debbie Bliss' Hat with triangle edging and rolled brim from Book 1.

What was so strange is that I know it was part of a larger dream, but cannot remember the rest, and that this part was so vivid and specific.

Maybe it's because my knitting life is so limited at the moment? Perhaps I'm compensating? What's really strange, is that I have never knitted with this yarn before and that the gauge would suit the pattern. Bizarre. How did I know that? Think I'm obligated to knit this now! A dream hat...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Never rains, it pours!

Bit of an ironic reference given the terrible drought that Melbourne (and the rest of Australia) is experiencing - wish it would pour indeed!

But things do tend to come in groups - or maybe it's just that that is when we notice?? Not sure, but my point is that over the last week or so I seem to have acquired (gosh, just don't know how it happened!) a number of knitting/ patchwork/ craft books. Pouring books...

I've joined the Japanese craft book craze and bought Cafe Kids (IBSN4-529-04332-0) from Amazon Japan. I first saw it on Molly Chicken (who has much better photos - unfortunately my scanner is packed away at present and photographing books doesn't give great clarity - so apologies).

I really want to make the teddy for Mr S. And there's a great wall hanging for a child's room. The only disappointment is that most of the cute clothes are for girls, not boys, and there was no pattern for the little coat with peter pan collar that is pictured in the book. It would have looked great in couduoy on Mr S once he is walking next year.

Then, at a local market I came across a stall with some fab buttons and a pile of vintage patterns. I wish I had had them last year. There are some lovely layettes for newborns which I could have knitted. Never mind, given how hot it's been here he wouldn't have got much wear from them anyway. There are some great patterns for slightly older boys too.

May I introduce you to Colin. Wonder what he is doing now?

... and just in case I thought there was any risk of running out of projects...

Bouton d'Or books have fabulous designs for both boys and girls. And these jumpers, which Mr S would look very stylish in, are sized for 2 - 12 years - so I have plenty of time to get around to knitting them...

And then there are more toys for Mr S!! Huggable Hedgehogs indeed!

And lastly, the Wedding Ring Quilt... I really really want one! Have seen a lovely one hanging on a wall in a children's wear shop in Maling Road. Rationally I know that despite the hefty price, it would just be simplier and easier (not to say very much quicker) to buy it and be done, but I won't. No, I've (someday) got to make this for myself.... and now at least I have the pattern. There are several other quilts in the book, all nice, but not why I bought it.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A pattern and some yarn!

Here, as promised, is the pattern on the little cardigan knitted by Viv. It's probably in one of the Barbara Walker pattern books, but I only have one of them, and it's not in that, so I can't tell you what it's called. Perhaps someone else knows?

And on today's afternoon excursion to the LYS I found Totem heavily discounted. Apparently they are changing the label. I've never used it before. Always thought it was too scratchy/hard and not sure I like the crepe structure. It's been around for years, so it must have fans. On the positive side it's machine washable, tough wearing, resonably priced (even without the discount) and has good stitch definition (if memories of my grandmother's jumpers are accurate). But regardless of all that, a bargin is a bargin and I'm now the proud owner of several balls... might make some tea cosies?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Thank you

People - friends, colleagues and relatives - have been very generous with gifts to celebrate Mr S' birth.

Mostly presents have been shop bought (and very appreciated), but some have been handmade (also very appreciated). My friend Viv was very generous, making a crib and the lovely items below.

The cardigan is in 4ply wool. I'm not sure where the pattern came from, but I think it's a vintage one? The pattern on the body is interesting (will try to take a clearer picture of this tomorrow).

She also gave Mr S these toys. The patterns come from Debbie Bliss. Extremely cute!

Monday, February 12, 2007

"Another one bites the dust..."

I'm not a big Queen fan, but can't help singing this fragment of song each time I finish something.
This little wrap around is in Jaeger 4ply Baby Wool. Love the edging. Figure that a boy can wear it in his first year - just think retro 'new romantic'!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Yes, it's Melbourne!

Typical Melbourne - stinking hot yesterday, cool today, and tonight... I want to fire up the heating!

Instead, I've put knitwear on everyone.

This is a lovely little Rowan pattern that I first showed you in my first post for this year.

Thanks Claudia

One of my favourite cookbooks is Picnic by Claudia Roden. I like the way she talks about food, it's a good read. While of course the food is good out of doors (I love picnics), I use some of the recipes in this book for 'normal' meals too.

Once I have cooked any recipe the first time I will start to experiment with variations. Claudia gives two versions of a chicken pie with moroccan flavours, which I have cooked many times. It's decicious both hot and cold. Now I use an amalgam of both to create my own version. It's a quick and easy recipe that I can put together before Mr S becomes too over the top!

I bake a couple of chicken fillets in the oven, covered with tinfoil to keep them moist, and flavoured with lemon and any other herbs or spices I have at hand.

Into a white sauce I put the chopped chicken, slow sauteed leek or onion, toasted slivered almond and/or pinenuts, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Claudia gives a fantastic pastry recipe, but at the moment I just don't have the time, so I use pre rolled.

And here it is... with the demands of Mr S, every meal I cook is a huge achievement... and this one was delicious!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

I went for an afternoon drive

The afternoon often finds me in the car. Mr S is a terrible daytime sleeper (solid 8 hours at night so I'm not complaining), but the combination of the car's movement and Mozart often does the trick!

Yesterday, I thought I'd drive to the little country town of Loch, about an hour from my home, to visit The Quilter's Barn and the town's collection of antique shops.

I have in mind a quilt for Mr S, based on this lovely little sun hat I bought him from Jasper Junior (a great toy shop in Melbourne, that also stocks some fun hand made clothes).

Alas, no suitable fabrics there.

Instead I found some more strawberry fabrics for another quilt I have in the planning stage.

Today is Loch's annual Quilt Hanging Festival. So the Quilter's Barn is also having a fabric sale. Unfortunately, it's expected to be a hot day (around 34 deg C), so there is no way I would take Mr S there today. Yesterday, they were getting it ready in their big teaching room and weren't letting customers in despite some disappointed noises. However, when they heard I was collecting strawberry fabric they took me in to show me a few bolts. I bought a metre of a pink linen with large strawberries, and nearly 6m of a cotton I think I'll use for the backing. It was reduced to $5 a metre - a bargin!! I had only intended to buy a metre, but when it was opened out I thought it would be perfect.

And here are some of the fabrics I've collected - I know it's very sugary sweet - not my normal taste at all - but I think I'm compensating for a childhood deprivation. My mother would never have allowed something so saccharin into the house! Generally I agree with her, but sometimes you need to feed the inner child, and mine has an occasional need to be a 'girly girl'!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mr S' footwear

Here are some lovely little slippers that my friend Lisette, who blogs at Textile Seahorse, made for Mr S - cute hey!

The braid has a honeycomb background and bees! It comes from a website that has fantastic braids, but I keep forgetting the 'www' address.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Dreaming of my next project

I'm committed to finishing the four remaining items for the Redhill Show, BUT let's face it finishing doesn't hold the same seductive power that choosing the next project and starting does. All that hope and inquisitve tension - what will it look like, how will it feel...

I've been doing quite a bit of reading and surfing while Mr S breastfeeds or sleeps in my arms (I'm failing sleep! He screams if placed in his bassinette which I cannot stand - just cannot do controlled crying- so either he sleeps with me in bed or in my arms - and I then read or surf!).

And I have found so many beautiful things I would love to make. So what am I dreaming of?

  • Rowan's Birch shawl made with Kidsilk Haze (I have the pattern for this already!) - here it is made by Amelia at Knitter Natter
  • Knitty's Monkey Socks knitted here by Marie at A Knit's Tale
  • Baby Pixi Hat knitted by Cast On Cast Off
  • Lady Eleanor's Stole from Scarf Style (have the book!) knitted here by Pretty Knit
  • Ripple crocheted blanket which both Alicia at Posie Gets Cozy and Jane at Yarnstorm have made - I cannot actually crochet but have been wanting to for years so maybe this is the project to make me learn???