11 June 2014

besties birthdays

I have two (most wonderful) best friends.  They happen to have been born within two weeks of each other so I'm often thinking of present ideas simultaneously.  This year as they were approaching I decided in the spirit of the moment to knit them some fingerless gloves.  Such a wonderfully personal idea that of course was formed with not enough time between its birth and their birthdays.  Nevertheless, though late, both were warmly received.  ;)


Knitted from the glorious Zauberball Stärke 6 in colourway 1537 Herbstsonne being 75% wool and 25% nylon and machine washable is always a bonus.  Mostly I just love the colours and the way the colour changes flow.  I had to use this yarn from my stash for Tab since she's rather fond of orange.  

I knit this based on a fingerless mitten pattern on ravelry but I didn't actually follow the pattern so I can't remember which pattern it was.  I just made them based on the picture and added fingers.  The second I knit purposefully trying to start in the blue shade to somewhat match but there's not much of a pattern to the colour changes so it's that fun mismatched pair look.  I did try to keep the fingers in orange and the tabs with the contrasting blue button tops it off and adds that nice bunched up interest to the cuffs.  I also guessed the stitches for the second, lining it up with the first and estimating if I should start the thumb, string up the thumb gusset or if the fingers were long enough yet.  I find store-bought fingerless mittens only come to the middle knuckles if you're lucky so I made the fingers quite long with only the tips of my fingers poked out--providing finger warmth but with skin contact.  


These ones were a total wing-it.  I knit them from Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic in colourway 752 Coral and I think some Magnolia maybe.  Little bit of white that I had left over from something else.  It's 100% wool so nice and warm for Australia's south end.  Vi's much more into pink than Tab and I, and sweeter too so the hearts suit.

 I decided to try some intarsia though I've never done it before, nor read up on how to do it nor been instructed.  Ha!  That's me.  At first the heart was really bobbled even though I thought I tried to give it lots of slack at the back.  I ended up frogging it a bit and re-knitting it.  Even then it bobbled a bit but at knit's end I sewed in the tail around the edge of the heart shaping it more.  I steam ironed it once it was all complete and that flattened it nicely heightening my happiness with my efforts.

This time round I recorded each row I knitted making the first glove take a long time to knit.  But it also made the second glove much easier and quicker.  I found that I knit the fingers perhaps a little tight as the ends of my fingers noticeably darkened with slow outflow of blood while I was weaving the ends around about to close the gaps inbetween the fingers.  I think the ironing helped with that and Vi has slightly skinnier fingers than I do.

In all I'm happy, they're happy--we're all warm and happy. xxoo

09 August 2013

scrappy skirt

A little something I picked up from Jorth.

It was a present for my niece for her 5th birthday back in early July.  A simple design that only cost me the effort of raiding my mum's craft supplies for scraps and putting it all together.  The only sewing I did was to handsew two elastic ends to make a loop.  I selected mostly non-fraying fabrics and cut long strips of them and then just tied them onto the elastic.  I did end up cutting points on the ends of the dangling fabric pieces too just coz I thought it looked better that way.  I added some little bells I found and some tied on some ribbon.  That's it.  One fun skirt for a happy little girly girl.  Another of her aunties gave her a set of fairy wings so the outfit was complete.

24 July 2013

back at the Aussie show

I moved to Sydney a month ago to start a new job--just as I scratched through the bottom of the money jar.  Even though I'd gone beyond my savings I pulled out my credit card and booked a flight to be back in my home zone, the cold yet beloved Victoria. My reason for ensuring my return this weekend... The Australian Sheep and Wool Show!  I was excited about this and have been looking forward to it ever since attending Knit Nation in London in 2011.  That event pales in contrast to the Aussie version.  From a small hall of stalls with a couple upstairs (I think they must focus more on classes or something) to the grand Australian shearing sheds--about three huge ones and four average ones plus some outside stalls--I was thrilled to be heading to Bendigo with my sister for a full day of roaming, observing, eating and buying.
We headed off at about 8:30am for the 1.5hr drive there.  I was tired from arriving super late after my flight had been severely delayed the night before but excitedly chatty.  We found the place fine and paid our $20 to get in.  My sister, Tam, always saves for this event and stocks up well to continue her hobby throughout the year.  Being more than broke I hadn't had much of chance to save but I'd thankfully done a couple extra shifts during my month in Sydney and had some spending money too.  We headed straight to the fashion parade as we were right on time for it.
The fashion parade wasn't as spectacular as it has been other years.  Every piece entered in the parade is made from some sort of fibre whether knitted, felted or sewn from woollen jersey.  There was only one outrageously amusing outfit.  And there was one I really quite liked too.  Guess which one is which below.  ;)

Next was roaming the stalls.  We went to another huge shearing shed that was full of stalls with yarnie/fibre goods.  All for crafting with.  There's always this one guy there who has fabulous wooden crafted knitting tools such as spindles, knitting noddies, ply gauges and more.  This year he had these yarnie spikes that you skewer your ball onto and then as you knit and pull at the yarn it conveniently and smoothly turns.  No more tangles and balls bouncing around the floor or resisting letting out yarn.  We each bought one. That guys was also dressed in his awesome beanie and vest that his wife knit for him that makes him look like a viking--plaited beard and all.  And there were loads of stalls selling yarn and fibre and needles and hooks and buttons and other fibre related goodies.

We next went back to the fashion parade shed and there was a few good things there but most of the stalls were actual items of clothing and as yarnie crafters ourselves we were after supplies.  We went down to the smaller halls were there were more stalls and demonstrations.  One of the sheds was the competition shed that had all the entries displayed and the notices of which items won first and second place.  That's always interesting to look at and see what others have masterfully created.  Such a variety and things I've not thought of trying.

We deliciously refueled with nacho baked potatoes before setting out again picking up more bargains along the way.  It was the perfect day for it.  Cold so everyone was happily wearing and displaying their wooly creations.  A tad wet but not too bad.  We didn't bother looking in the animal tents this time.  I finished spending my money just as it was coming up to closing time.  We left rather happy with a very satisfactory day at the show.

We stopped by a small hall where some others had some stalls.  Tam bought a little more but I didn't think much of it and I'm not sure why they have their own thing going.  Tam also tried her hand at a different kind of spindle.  You can't actually see it in the photo due to it's motion as it's spun around in her right hand.  We didn't stay too long before making our journey home again.

Back at mum and dad's we both came in and played show and tell.  I'm quite happy with my loot though I didn't get the felting tools I'd planned to get.  There just wasn't much there this year on the side of felting.  At least, not dry felting.  But I got a bunch more fibre--all pure wool--plus a wet felting kit (to do one specific project).  I got the yarnie spike I mentioned earlier and one skein of yarn (Madeline Tosh Vintage) and some cute robot stitch markers.  I've now managed to pack a good stash of fibre and other crafty stuff into my suitcase for my return to Sydney.

You can see even more pictures and read Tam's post of the same event here.

20 June 2013

bramble cowl

A cowl worked with bramble stitch.  Just your basic rectangle with ends sewn together.  At least that was the idea.  I decided to knit this out of Moda Vera Audrey in 3901 Rainbow which was actually half knit into a plain scarf. I frogged that obviously.  I used 6mm needles to stretch the yarn out as I only had two balls of it.  However, once I'd finished my rectangle, I decided it was too floppy as I wanted it to stand up more around the neck.  So I started a new rectangle with garter stitch to make a liner.

Half way along I realised my guessed width wasn't matching but I decided to knit the right length and then pull out my crochet hook.  I crocheted some extra around the edges and then sewed the two pieces together, joined them in the loop and did a few stitches in the middle section so it wouldn't gap and bubble.  Very cosy and warm though a little more 'turtle neck' than intended.  This one's a surprise gift.

08 June 2013

bunny slippers

How sweet are these!!

I crafted these from Tiny Owl Knit's Hopsalot pattern using Moda Vera Pure Wool extra twist.  I had showed a picture to my friend for her birthday and said, "This is your present.  You choose a colour and I'll make them for you."  She chose pink to match her pjs.  I'm not a fan of pink but they still look cute.  This was my first attempt at knitting and purposely felting.  I looked for yarn that required hand washing and was 10ply as the pattern suggested. I knit double following the pattern.  (And I really did follow the pattern!!) It was a reasonably quick knit using doubled 10ply and 8mm needles. Once all the knitting was done and I'd sewn the slipper together to form the 'shoe' shape, I put on a movie and got scrubbing.

Warm water and a bit of soap and whole lot of elbow grease.  Takes a bit to felt by hand and scrub away at the knitted fabric for quite a while before fibres start to loosen and matt together.  But they do.  As they matt they shrink so the felted product is always smaller meaning the knitted version has to be oversized.  My friend arrived, as planned, just as I'd almost finished the felting process and I fitted them to her feet.  Once the ears were felted as well and all the shaped pieces were dry I was able to do the finishing touches.  I sewed the ears on and sewed some eyes and nose.  I made two little pom poms using the fork method.  My pom pom making skills must need some work coz I found it quite difficult to get a good pom pom happening.  Sufficient ones for bunny tails still so...good enough.  I found though that the slippers would slip off my heels too easily so I also stitched some elastic on the inside around that area so they pull into and hug the heel.

Overall I'm rather happy with these cute little buns.  I think I'll make myself a pair, though I plan to alter the pattern a little and make sheep instead.  And not pink.  Maybe I should do green.  ;)

10 May 2013

needle wrap 3.1 upgrade

A couple of years ago, just before venturing to the UK, I made my travel friendly needle wrap.  I really liked it.

However, after a couple of years of use, I started to form some ideas for improvements.  So when I got my desk back from the babysitters I pulled out my old sewing machine and got snipping and sewing.  I had decided to put a little zip pocket on one of the panels for all the tidbits that can't easily be kept loose like stitch counters and stitch markers etc.  I made the little "pencil case" with the same fabric and made it all matching.  Now, I and 'sewing zips' don't work so well together.  We had some disagreements and misunderstandings that the stitch unpicker had to come and mediate.  We came to an agreed understanding and whilst it's not as good as it could have been (more practise will get us working smoothly together in future) I'm happy enough the with result.  I did, however, have a change of plans when it came to sewing the pocket onto my wrap and opted to just sew one end allowing it to flip up and still use the slots underneath.  I also gave some inbetween stitching to the larger slots so they more snuggly hold my thinner needles and hooks.  Wah-la!  Needle wrap 3.1.  And I'm smiling bigger than before.

 You can also see that over the past two years I've upgraded the supply list too. ;)

03 May 2013

back in Oz sale

Hi everyone!!  I'm back in my homeland.  Good old Australia.  Or should I say young?  After two years in England and travelling round Europe I realise how Australia's hundreds of civilized years are not that old.

I've been back a month now and spent some good time catching up with people and adjusting back to Aussie life.  To celebrate my return I'm having a sale in my online store.  So pop on over to kelgellcreations in the Artfire neighbourhood to check out some bargains.

There's 30% off everything in stock!!  Sale ends 15th May.