24 December 2011

all wrapped up

Yay! I've finally finished off my work family's Christmas presents and have wrapped them up ready for the day. I finished off the second mitt I've already told you about. I also finished up a heatbag. I crocheted the front with a star stitch in a multicolour half wool half acrylic that I had in my stash.
I knitted two sides for the back that are buttoned up to hold in the heatbag. Only one minor issue I needed to cover up. I laid all the pieces overlapping in the right order to sew them together but forgot that as I was doing that inside out the order needed to be "inside out" so to speak. So basically, once I'd turned it in the right way the button side overlapped over the button holes instead of the other way around. So I pulled it to overlap the right way which twisted the ends a bit. But I sewed them down so it all works. ;) The bag is denim sewn in sections and filled with buckwheat.I also made some wine glass rings with a black, white and silver theme. So it can go with any table setting. I had to get a little creative to come up with ways to make each one look different. I only had a few mini charms. I think they look quite smart though.Now to pack and catch a train to the country house where I'm having Christmas with my work family since my actual family is all the way home in Australia. I'll see them online on Christmas morning then I'll kick back and relax and enjoy a wintery few days away.

16 December 2011

feeling the season

Merry Christmas everyone!!
I'm anticipating my second winter Christmas but my first one was in San Francisco, USA and it didn't get that cold there. So this is my first REAL winter Christmas. It's almost a week to go and the weather here is regularly below 8°C. A top of 3-4°C forcast for this weekend. I went and bought myself a squishy, warm down-filled coat and some slippers this past week. They are both well used already. For all my life Christmas has had winter attached to it (movies, products, wrapping paper, decorations...) but it's just not like that in Australia. Down in the southern hemisphere it's summer. Christmas is hot (generally speaking) and Christmas meals are often BBQs in the back yard or at the beach. Here all the wintery Christmas things fit which makes it all the more exciting and despite objections from the locals, I hope it snows. A white Christmas would be tremendous. This week I spruced up my bedroom window with the winter Christmas theme. Simple but lovely. My "tree" has two presents under it already. Three if you count the ticket to see Billy Elliot the Musical (technically not under the 'tree' but it is a Christmas present). Most boastfully I crocheted some cute little snowflakes to dangle in the window. ^^ My favourite is the middle one. I basically searched for snowflakes on ravelry just for ideas and then created my own versions. A lovely little festivity in my room and they are most welcome to stay all winter long. I'm looking forward to experiencing a full-blown winter (snow in the city--will surely be an experience).
Hope you all have a wonderfully, delicious, fabulous time in great company.

10 December 2011

half done projects

So I have been knitting. I've only been half finishing things. Knit the fingerless mitt on the right with a bit of possum (and merino, alpaca and nylon). ^^ It's from two skeins of Fibreworks yarn that my sister so kindly bought from the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show and posted to me. I've knitted 'stripes' alternating between the mostly blue and the multicolour. As the blue is not quite a solid blue the stripes are a little blurred together but it's just a different kind of cool than I was imagining. This is the Pay It Forward project I blogged briefly about a few posts ago.

The white fingerless mitt I decided to start after my boss thoughtfully brought me back a ball of Carriag Donn 100% merino wool from her weekend away in Ireland. When I saw the pattern (Susie's Reading Mitts) on raverly I decided to knit some for my boss for Christmas. Since the yarn is different to what the pattern uses, I'm just using the general pattern idea. So I put the other mitt aside and got straight to work on these. So one of each finished at the moment but the second white one is under construction.

30 November 2011

jillymitts completed

So here's the jillymitts I finished a while ago now. I have a friend's 30th coming up and I decided to make her something. As I don't know her real well and was unsure what to get her as a present I just decided to make her something by hand. A personal present that is useable is a good gift I think. So I decided to frog the shawl that wasn't working that I'd started to crochet with my plum purple 100% alpaca by Tailored Strands. It's fingering weight/4ply and I used my 3.75mm circs for the job. I planned to do simple fingerless mittens as they would be quickest to make meaning I should get them finished before the party. I decided to add a bit of interest with a touch of lace work. Just a few thoughtfully positioned holes I planned to work in. Since my friend is quite a bit smaller than me I made them tight on my hands and I'm hoping they'll fit her well. I let the ends curl at the edges of the ribbing sections. Even on the thumb. For the thumb I just held some stitches and picked them up later. It's on the gloves I started next that I tried a thumb gusset which I like as a better option. These mittens I find to be rather tight across the palm. But hopefully they'll fit my friend's hands fine. The only pity is that with the positioning of the lacework, though I like it, it doesn't really get shown off unless you hang your hands to stretch it out. Oh well. All in all I'm rather happy with them and I hope my friend loves them and finds them wonderfully useful.

23 November 2011

rattlesnake beanie

Watch out! He's got the evil eye on. You can tell he's a hungry one. Oh no.... HE GOT ME! Ahhhh!

Yes yes. I had fun with this one. I was thrilled knitting every stitch and sewing on each decorative piece. Yes, and taking every photo. :) Such a laugh.

I bought thicker yarn so I could knit it quickly. I used Lang West in a perfect browny black. Just the right colour for a snake and a good boy colour. The charcoal yarn is left over from my wurm. I knit a black lip with it and then switched to the bigger needles and yarn. Instead of finishing off the top in a rounded beanie shape I just kept knitting in a smaller tube. Then switching back to the charcoal I did some knitting and purling rounds to make his rattle. I decided to stuff him lightly to give him shape and so crocheted a round circle which I attached on the inside to stop the stuffing coming out.
I then used felt to cut some fangs, wicked hunting eyes and the diamonds for his back. I think it all came together really well. My 8yo nephew has finally received it and sounds like he had just as much fun with it as I did. I doubt it will get a lot of use at the moment as he's in Australia where the heat is on. All the same, I think he did get the kick out of it that I believed he would. How could you not though? He he.
Happy 8th Birthday Ben!!

22 November 2011

first thumb gusset

It's late here for me. I should be going to bed. I also have a finished project to show and tell.

But I can't resist. I'm a little thrilled.

The last mittens I knitted--the ones that are waiting for a post--got a bit tight across the palm at the thumb base. So when I got to that point with these ones I thought I'd do a bit of youtubeing. Found out about thumb gussets, got the general idea and gave it a go.

It worked. It fits much better. It looks good. I'm so happy with it. This project is my PIF project (Pay It Forward). Some facebook thing that if you joined in something would be handmade for you. Then you post it too and those who commented on yours, you made something handmade for them. That was back in January or something. Back before I left Australia. It was to be made this year. I just remembered last week I owe a friend a handmade. So I'm knitting away. And very pleased with this new skill I've learned.

My thoughtful boss brought me back some yarn from Ireland when she went there on the weekend. Carraig Donn 100% Merino Wool in Ecru (white). Think I'll be making some more mittens for me when these ones are done. Anyway, more about this later. I need to go to bed.

21 November 2011

wokka wokka lunch

I've been a bit inspired by friends and pinterest. I premade a special lunch last Friday for a bit of fun. Left it waiting on the table for when I got the boy home from nursery. Let me show you what I did.

I took one ordinary marmite sandwich and cut it up in a funny way. And then with some bits of cheese and cucumber in the right place....voila!

One thrilled little boy who had fun eating a helicopter for lunch. (Wokka wokka is the sound they make apparently.) The boy is mad about helicopters.

16 November 2011

simple knit necklace

Just a simple thing to knit while I'm doing other things. I've been planning on doing this ever since I bought the yarn in Ireland back in May. It's Donegal Aran Tweed from Studio Donegal. Probably not the best yarn for the project as it doesn't knit up smoothly. So my necklace is textured. This is just the beginning. I plan to make more that I can wear all at once or mix and match.

For this yellow one I just cast on 200sts on 4mm circulars, linked them into a loop, knit about 6 or 7 rounds and cast off. It rolls itself into a tubular shape. I think I'll make the next one, a grey one, a little shorter--for varied length.

In the meantime, I have a couple of projects with time limits. I have the Jillymitts to finish by early December and something handmade I promised to make a friend this year that I only just remembered about. Might make some more fingerless mittens. Then I might get back to things for me. :)

09 November 2011

tongue surgery

I bought some shoes the other week. (I'm very sad that my other ones wore out so quickly. I really liked them but with winter ever so close here it just won't do to have shoes with holes in the heels.) The only thing I didn't like--call me superficial if you like--is the fat tongues. Oversized. Squishing the insides (my feet). So I planned some liposuction for them.
Ok, so I just opened them up, turned them inside out and cut away the excess. :)

Here's a comparison between the one that's been through surgery and the one in waiting. Much more reasonable.

Happy with the surgery, I stitched it back up and got to work on the other one. Then I carefully and diligently laced them up in a different way just for fun. In time they will compact a bit more but they are much more useable now. No more ghastly superfat tongues. :P

02 November 2011


Happy Birthday to my little bro! Back home in Australia he's clocked up another year of life. He's a new age that I'll likely not see him in person for. You get that when adventuring on the other side of the world though.

Speaking of birthdays, I've been working on some presents. The rattlesnake beanie is one I'm making for my nephew. (Blogged about a few posts ago.) I'm also working on some Jillymitts. Named so for the receiver who will be making the 30 milestone next month. And I get to celebrate with her. ^^ So I decided to frog my lacy Elise Shawl (it wasn't working anyway) and use the lovely alpaca to provide some sweet warmth for my friend's hands.

I started out with a very basic idea. I want to get them done in time for her party. But of course I decided to add in a simple bit of fancy. So once I'd formed the idea in my head I did some scibbling on paper to work out the logistics of making it knitable.

All my planning and forethought paid off and I was able to produce what I'd envisioned. Yay! The thumb hole was a different matter but it's set now and waiting for me to finish off the finger end ribbing.
It's a bit tight on my hand but since my friend is quite a bit smaller than me I thought that was a wise idea. With an open end thumb and fingers (mitten style) they're more likely to fit ok. Since I'm not too far off finishing the first one after just a couple of weeks and I've kept a rough record of what I've done, I should be able to finish the second one by the end of the month. She shall get a completed present. Ah, I love a bit of homemade birthday goodness.

31 October 2011

coastering along

In my room in London I have this lovely little writing desk to use. It's the kind of desk that makes me reluctant to sit my cuppa straight on the wood. Usually I rest it on some paper or whatever pile is there. But today I decided to tidy up a bit. While the boy was sleeping this afternoon, I decided to pull out some scrap yarn and make a pretty little cup rug.
I love a spot of colour. I used the Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury that I dyed blue and a little of what remained of the yellow and purple sock yarn. Using them both at the same time, I crocheted a simple circle. It still took a while as I find it difficult to make a flat circle. It keeps going wonky with too many stitches or not enough so there was a bit of frogging involved as per normal with my wing-its. When I'd made it the size I wanted, I dropped the sock yarn and did one more round of plain blue which wraps it up nicely. I really like how the stripey yarn blended with the plain. I ironed it to make it sit nice and flat and now I can rest my chai tea without any worries about the desk surface.

29 October 2011

sneak peek rattlesnake

This rattlesnake beanie is a wing-it. (Meaning I got an idea and am making it up as I go.) It's knitted from left over wurm wool and mostly thick Lang West (roughly half wool half acrylic) in browny black. I've gotta weave in some ends and add some details yet but I'm eager to see the finished product. I think it will go down a hoot with my soon-to-be 8 year old nephew!

26 October 2011

wander the crafting world

If you're bored or if you want to procrastinate or if you feel like you want to simply wander around a craft market (without leaving your home) then check out the new link on the left.

The Universal Craft Blog Directory is an increasing list of various craft sites across the world wide web. Whether it's about knitting, sewing, papercraft, model making, doll making, cake decorating, crocheting, beading, jewellery making, cross stitch, woodwork, mosaic, pottery, or whatever else is out there and being done this is a place to gather.

If you're a crafter and have a blog to share, come and add it to the list. If you just want to look and see what others out there are creatively crafting, take a random wander through the links. I'm sure you'll find things that are new and interesting and amazing; even surprising and inspiring.

Just click the pic to begin.

17 October 2011

twice as warm

I've just finished crocheting two animal beanies. A lion and a monkey. They'll be ever so cute on the gorgeous twin boys I used to help care for. They turn one at the end of the month. I made a rabbit beanie for their big sister back in June. While I no longer work for that family I thought I'd still go ahead and make the beanies I'd planned to make for them. It only seems fair. Besides, it's their first birthday so it's a little bit special.The lion beanie I made from a chunky soft acrylic along with some plain brown mostly or all acrylic (I can't remember). I made two lines of triangles for the mane. One is long and goes from earflap to earflap and the other is shorter just going from ear to ear. I was going to put one in front of the ears but when I looked up pictures of lions, I discovered that most of their mane is behind their ears.
The monkey I made from the same brown and it took me quite a while to get the head going. Lots of frogging and re-crocheting as per normal when I'm winging it. I eventually got it to work and decided on grey for the inner ear and top of the face. I'm quite happy with how they both have turned out.
The only issue is that I think I made the monkey one too big. See...it fits MY head! It's always a challenge to make things like this, not using a pattern, when you can't try it on as you go. I hope it's not too bad of a fit but better too big (it can be grown into) than too small.Oh well. I'll post them on anyway and wish them a wonderful birthday. Little cuties. :)

My next projects are more beanies. Knitted ones this time. One is my wurm replacement and the other I've just started is a special one for a nephew of mine whose birthday is coming up next month. I think he'll get a kick out of it.

09 October 2011

a bit here and there

I haven't been blogging much for a while, I know. But I HAVE still been knitting/crocheting in between everything else that's been going on. Aside from the limited internet access, I've been on a road trip around Ireland for a week while I was waiting for my new job to start. When I got back I had to pack and move to London and start settling into my new job. All this has kept me pretty busy. Oh, I also got sucked in to listening to The Host by Stephanie Meyer on my ipod. Very interesting story.

So before I went to Ireland I bought myself an ipod. A lovely yellow one with 16gb so with all my music and the shows and audiobook I bought from the iTunes store there's still plenty of room. I decided to knit a case for it so it wouldn't get scratched and ruined when I threw it in my bag. Using left over sock yarn from the last socks I made, the first one I knit ended up being too tight to squeeze my earphones in as well. The way I stitched the top looked terrible too. So I started again. This time using doubled yarn so the stripes became a speckle of colour and using 4mm needles so it would knit up quicker. The idea was good but I had intended to make it even looser than it turned out but it fit my ipod and headphones. I didn't have time to try again. The lid is attached so it's a flip-top; even if it is a bit of tight fit. I also purled an 'i' on the back of it. ^^ It's a snug little sleeping bag for it.

My other knitting has been the continuance of the spiral cowl I've been working on. I started it about a month and a half ago a bit before I went to Scotland. I cast off and wove the ends in the other night and today gave it an iron blocking so it would sit flat and show off the spiral pattern. I noticed a few mistakes when I did this. Not that they're that noticeable to anyone else.

I just realised I've not showed you this project at all. I used the Malabrigo in Atardecer that I bought in Ireland back in May when I went for the weekend. I only used one skein and a little bit more. I used the Spiral Cowl pattern by Keri McKiernan. Free raverly one of course.

I'm actually a little disappointed at how this turned out. It's a lot bigger and floppier than I'd hoped and doesn't quite sit like I want it to. Perhaps the yarn I used isn't stiff enough.
It works ok like this and I can use my thistle pin I got in Scotland to hold it like that. But I'm thinking I may attempt to felt it a little. Perhaps on one side--the back. Hm, might look into it anyway.

Now that my 4mm circulars are finished with the spiral cowl I've put them to work making my replacement wurm. This time I won't wash it in the washing machine.

I've also been working on some animal beanies for the twins I previously cared for. They turn one at the end of the month. I made a rabbit beanie for their sister and decided I should still give them the beanies I planned to make for their 1st birthday despite the fact that I have a new job now. I'm near finished a lion beanie and have just started a monkey one as well.

I also attempted to find some craft shops today that the mum here had been told about by a friend. She couldn't quite remember where they were so we guessed a bit. It was a bit of an adventure to find the place...catching a bus that didn't go to the stop I had wanted and then ending up somewhere off my map and figuring out from maps at the bus stops where I was and where to head etc. I did find the area we thought her friend had said but I didn't find a single craft shop. I did a huge walking loop and ended up back home without anything. Might do a bit more research online before I head out on that mission again.

In the meantime, I'll see if I can get these beanies finished and free up some more needles again. I have more ideas waiting. ;)

10 September 2011


Oh noooo!

Damn it! I didn't think when I did my washing yesterday. :( My wurm. My newly finished wurm. It needed a wash coz it got all peat smoked when I visited an iron age house in Scotland. And I simply didn't think when I put it in the wash with the rest of my stuff.

Resulted in my first felted knit project. One shrunken, felted wurm beanie. No longer fits. Nor has the same texture. Bummer. Oh well. Nothing can be done now. Perhaps it was a good thing that the pattern called for more yarn than I needed making me buy two skiens. I think I shall be making another with that spare skein.

01 September 2011

cable stripe socks

I finished these socks and sewed in the ends the night before I left for Scotland. I wanted to take them and they were so close to being finished. ^^ They were knitted with Moda Vera Noir that was given to me for my 30th last year. I picked a cable pattern out of my Knit and Crochet Bible to use on them with the hope they might slurr the stripes a bit but it didn't work. They just look stripey both ways. It's a very simple cable. If you can even really call it a cable.

I doubt both socks are exactly the same. Well, I know they are not. I didn't follow a pattern and then had to guess to get the second sock similar. He he. The 'cabling' is over the top of the foot and then right around the ankle with a basic rib at the cuff. I did short row heels as that's all I know how to do. For the second I tried a version from Little Red in the City as I mentioned in this post. It's the one on the right. I like what I did on the first sock better. Less holey looking. I don't know what it was I did though. Ha ha. But that's what you get for not following a pattern and not keeping a record of what you do. I don't mind though. They kept my toes warm in Scotland. ^^

31 August 2011

scottish crafting

So I went to Scotland for 10 days just recently. I got back yesterday. What a hoot! I loved Scotland. Especially the last six days which I spent going on a Wild in Scotland tour through the highlands and outer Hebrides. It was fantastic.The scenery in the outer Hebrides was amazing. It was quite different seeing great scenery without trees. Twice some of us walked into the next place we were staying (bags driven in) and I'm glad I did. The walks were a great way to get out in the scenery.Here we are wading/swimming in Loch Ness. Our tour guide was posing as Nessie. Pwa ha ha. Those who swam were brave because the water was achingly cold. Scotland even has some stunning beaches but no where else have I seen sheep at the beach. I liked the hairy coos too (highland cows). I did wonder if anyone's ever tried to make hairy coo yarn...On the last day we stopped by a real Harris Tweed weavers shop. To be Harris Tweed it needs to be woven on either the Isle of Harris or Lewis. He said some make it to sell to fashion makers and so have to follow a set pattern. He just does his own thing which would definitely be more interesting. Unfortunately he was at the stage of setting up a new weaving process and had just started tying in the multiple threads.
He said it takes about 3hrs just to do that. You can see why huh? Once it's all set up he said it takes about three days of weaving about 5hrs a day to make 50 yards (?? I can't remember quite how long he said he makes it).

I decided to buy some. One metre (half of each you can see) for £12.50 for some genuine Harris Tweed that I got from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland. I couldn't justify paying for a Harris Tweed product in the store we stopped at in town. Now I can make something myself instead. Excitement! And...the guy even gave me some "genuine Harris Tweed" labels to put on whatever I make. How cool is that? Very happy. The tour guide told me later that the guys face had lit up when I asked to buy some so that made me feel even better. So worth buying and squishing into my already tightly packed bag.

I'm not sure what I'm going to make yet but it will be saved for something special. For now I'm realishing in simply having this fabric and that I went to Scotland to get it. ^^

10 August 2011

i have a wurm

I up and finished my wurm yesterday. Woohoo! I was so excited. I used Knit by Numbers 100% Merino Double Knit in charcoal to make mine. Even though the pattern said I would need about 320m, thus me buying two skeins, I only used one skein. I like the fat head band and springy drap of the rest with the scrunchy end to it all. Funky. I love it. And it suits me fine. Only as I said in my last post, I did kinda wish I'd done a colour like I had originally planned. I like the charcoal. I quite like greys at the moment. And it's a very versatile colour. But I did decide to add a splash of colour to give it some "me" style.
I crocheted the uneven star last night, figuring it out as I went and left it blocking overnight. This morning I sewed the star onto the beanie at first but it didn't sit right so I took it off. Now it's on a broche pin. It sits better and is removeable. I might just make a snowflake too sometime.

06 August 2011


Not the pattern I'm clicking away with the sticks at but the ongoingness is what's going on. (Did you make any sense of that crazy sentence? Ha ha. It's late.) These are the two projects I've been working away on when I'm feeling like some knitting action. Mainly because these are my two easiest projects. I've been watching lots of tv shows lately. Re-running through ones I've previously enjoyed. Apart from Burn Notice which I haven't seen before. My latest re-run is Dr Quinn Medicine Woman. Reminds me of my youth. I quite enjoy watching these oldies (nostaligia) and watching again how they all began. So tv knitting requires simpleness.
I've rounded the heel on my double stripe second sock. I did have to do that without any shows. Or at least start it that way to remember how to do it. Actually I used Little Red in the City to do the short row heel. Ysolda's book had three different techniques for doing short rows so I tried one of them. I'm not sure how I've done it in the past. I always forget by the time I get around to the next heel. I did a wrapped stitch version. I just feel it was simpler the way I've done it in the past...not that I remember how that was. But perhaps I just need practise. Nice to have the sock taking shape though. I've started on the full circle cabling now so progress will slow a little.
My wurm is coming along wonderfully. It's been my main tv knitting project as it's so simple. I have a stitch count marker so I just knit or purl til I reach my sheep and then know it's time to switch. I think I'm ready to start the top shaping. I'll have to check the pattern. I'm liking the drape of the beanie. I hope it suits me. Part of me wishes I'd got a colour as I intended. But when I decided to buy yarn I could only seem to find nice blues or greens in a solid colour and I already have a blue beanie and a green one underway. And charcoal grey will go with any outfit really. I'm thinking I might pull out my crochet hook in the end and add a spot of colour yet. Give it a bit of 'me' flare. :)

Well, it's off to bed for now. Tomorrow I have a big day of vegging planned. More tv, more knitting, probably some playing with my new camera, maybe a walk and some other general relaxing. I have another block of chocolate to consume too. He he. Ah, weekend....