Monday, October 19, 2009

A Stitch In Time..

It's been a big week around here. There's been knitting, there's been new additions to the household, and there's been cake of the birthday variety. Lots and lots of cake.
Wednesday of last week saw my wee boy, Master Mayhem, turn 4. He was such a tiny baby - 5lb 9oz when born, and even the 00000 size baby clothes swam on him. But so cute!
He was an IVF baby, and we tried for many years to get him. I remember saying when he was in the special care nursery when he was born that he was sooooo quiet. He almost never made a peep! I was assured that would change and it did. By the time we got him home, colic kicked in and he routinely screamed the house down every night from 9pm till 1am. We got that sorted out with the help of a chiropractor, and things were pretty good from then.
Until of course, he learned to roll. And then we got the first inkling of the daredevil within. He would roll at lightning speed around the house, getting himself wedged under coffee tables, entertainment units. I would go to the toilet and come back and he would be, just.. gone. I would have to search the whole house to find out where he had rolled to. It only got worse once he pulled himself up and started cruising the furniture! Then he got into the pantry, and the fridge, (and the cat) which was a sign of things to come.
Since then there has been numerous emergency room trips - the screw he got out of the kitchen cupboard hinges then deliberately swallowed - the faceplant into the fence outside that split his head open from eyebrow to eyebrow - the faceplant into the coffee table which cut open the underside of one eye. The measles. So far, no broken bones, touch wood.
However, he is a fiercely affectionate kid, who is only too happy to hand out kisses and cuddles, and who often tells us he loves us. (he tells the cat too, but thats besides the point) He's really creative, he loves music, and has impeccable manners 80% of the time, almost always using please and thankyou.
Like most kids he loves a good chocolate frog, 'pink milk!' (strawberry milk) and of course lollies, but his favourite food remains broccoli with cheese sauce, and he will knock over a hot jam donut faster than I can :p
Happy 4th Birthday my boy! (how'd you grow up so damn fast?)
Since I finished the Swallowtail for my sister, I had not knit anything. I felt a bit knitted out after the mammoth effort it required to finish in a short spanse of time. As often happens though, during the week, I had a moment where I HAD to knit, and it HAD to be handspun yarn. I have little fits like this sometimes. I had a skein of beautiful merino and seacell sitting here, in about a sportweight, in really subtle dark colours. I cast on a pair of mitts, and less than ten rows in, Mac proclaimed they were 'his'. I was dubious he would continue to like the colours as they were knit, but I was wrong. The seacell has knit into a really soft gorgeous fabric, and the sizing and colours suit him right down to the ground. They were a quick, and immensely satisfying knit.
Finally we have a new addition to our household. On Thursday I took a little drive and picked up she who has now been named 'Stitch'.
She is a 7 week old Jack Russell mix, cute as a button with a lovely nature :) She has made herself quite comfy in her new home, follows her chosen favourite (Master Mayhem) around everywhere he goes, and his adoration is certainly mutual. We are in the process of beginning to train her, but that said - she has most of us wrapped around her wee paw (particularly Mac - it's hard not to love someone who is smaller than your foot and has big brown eyes, huh?)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

For Whom The Bell Tolls..

You know, I'd love to have a big cottage garden. A massive vegie patch out the back, filled with potatoes, plump carrots, brightly coloured capsicums, piles of tomatoes for eating straight, and making sauce. And elsewhere within the garden, fruit trees, laden with goodies, spring being heralded by massive shows of tulips, daffodils and irises pushing their way through the earth. Huge climbing vines of roses in loads of colours (particularly yellow), a big kitchen garden of herbs in every flavour, along with Lavender, pansies, gorgeous colour and flowers.

There are a couple of obstacles to this though, not the least of which is the fact that big mac is allergic to bees. You see, I have been living a double life. I am of course, me - music nut, knitter, spinner, sewer, food freak. But although I might try to hide it I also have quite the black thumb. One might go so far as to say that I am the botanical grim reaper.
Got a plant you want to die, quickly and horribly? Give it to me. Through over loving it, neglect, or plain stupidity I will manage to kill it in under a fortnight. They catch horrible diseases. They wither and crack. They burn, they get mould on them, they flatten out onto the earth and sometimes - they plain just up and vanish. 'What the hell? I swear to god I planted a gardenia here two days ago? Now there's just a hole?' I am of the opinion it upped and ran as soon as it got a chance, one moonlit night.

A few christmases ago, my mum gave me a lovely planter box, filled with four different varieties of herbs. Surely, thought I, this lot will live? They were a GIFT after all? And so began my battle with a neighbourhood tomcat. Who decided on top of my precious herbs was the BEST place to sleep. Every morning they were curiously flat and I got up really early one morning and discovered him asleep, and discovered the WHY for the flatness. So I moved it up higher, onto a ledge. He knocked it off the ledge, thus tipping the herbs out, and went back to sleep. I replanted the herbs, put them up even HIGHER, and he did this little trick again. After the second replanting, I put chicken mesh over them. He pissed in the planter and every last herb died. I guess he really did show me who was boss. I can compete with many things, but tomcat urine is clearly not one of them.

When we moved into this house it was February, In the middle of one seriously hot summer. The weekend we moved in it was above 40 degrees celsius both days, and water restrictions were in full force. So, you see the tree out the front never really had a chance. It was a really young tree, you see, and it was already convulsing when we moved in. It was the heat that truly did it in, not me. Although I suppose Master Mayhem ripping it out of the ground didn't help? At any rate, it did leave a round paved area of garden bed in the front yard looking rather bare.

Meet Barry.
Barry is, as you can see, a lavender plant. He is also, however, a hostage of sorts. You see - I said to Mac that if I could get Barry to live, maybe I could try again, you know? Get some more plants. Maybe some pansies, or again with the herbs. But first, Barry has to grow.
Here he is, freshly planted, and has been told of his fate. Live? Get friends. Die? Bin. He looks confident in rising to meet the challenge, dontcha think?

Still. I'm sure any thoughts you can send Barry's way would be appreciated. It's a lot of weight for a $6 lavender from Bunnings to bear all on his own.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Well, there's a definite feeling in the air outside. It smells like sunshine and wet earth, and the mornings are crisp and cold, but more often than not warming up into mild and sunny days. Spring is well and truly here, and summer is on the way.

From October through April, Master Mayhems kindy has a 'no hat, no outside play' rule. It's a good rule, and I like it alot because I am fairly anal retentive when it comes to sun protection. However, the rate at which he lost hats throughout the first half of the year had to be seen to be believed. Given how much my kids love hand made things though, (ecspecially mum - made) I bought a great pattern, some nice fabric and made them a brand spanking new bucket hat each.
The pattern is the 'Lazy Days' hat pattern from Make It Perfect. It comes sized from infant right up to adult, and I think it's awesome! The hats have enough brim on them to make them truly protective, where a lot of bucket style hats aren't really protective at all. I like them so much I think I may make myself one.
The hats are fully reversible, and for Master Mayhems I used an Alexander Henry fabric of soccerballs and a New Zealand print fabric with classic holdens on it ;) For Miss Chaos, both fabrics are from the midwest modern range, by Amy Butler. Tres cute!

Also, I can finally reveal one of my secret squirrels! Last weekend we headed on down to my sister's 40th Birthday party. A good time was had by all, and I am pleased to report she loved her gift.
For her birthday I knit a 'Swallowtail' shawl. It is knit from Kaalund Yarns 'Enchante' which is a 2 ply pure silk laceweight. The colourway is 'LillyPilly' which is a beautiful soft pink colour, and I used foil lined glass beads instead of knitting the nupps.
There is a total of 22 repeats of the main budding lace pattern, and I left the final 6 rows off the edging chart and bound off where I was. I like the not-so-pointy edge this created, even though it was done more out of necessity than choice. (the necessity being it was finished at 2.30am the morning of the party and I could push on no longer). It is light as a feather and barely there at all :)
Things are fairly hectic around here - it is Master Mayhem's 4th Birthday on Wednesday. So sad! I don't know where my teeny boy went, in the blink of an eye. He has gone from being a tiny almost premmie sized baby, to a small tank of a boy who does everything at top speed and breaks down any and every barrier in his way. ~sniff!~ So until I manage another post (hopefully soon - I have the Hostage Lavender to post about next time) enjoy spring, in all it;s forms.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

It's a herd of Secret Squirrels!

What does one blog about, when everything one could blog about, is a secret? It's a toughie.

I mean there is a brand new knitting project in the works - but it is to be a gift. If the recipient saw it, it would wreck the surprise. So I can't blog it. Yet.

There's also a beautiful new blend of fibres on the wheel, in stunning colours? But it is for a swap, and again, if the recipient saw it, it would wreck the surprise. So I can't blog about that, either. Yet.

Instead, I will blog about the knitting project that just came off the needles, and a whole swag of fibre club deliveries that arrived last week. Heads up if you are a member of the Southern Cross Fibre, IxchelBunny or Ewe Give Me The Knits fibre clubs, don't have yours yet and don't want a spoiler, you may not want to scroll down much further.

So a few weeks ago, I bought some fiftyfifty merino and silk yarn in a 4ply or fingering weight from the lovely Knitabulous. I wanted a short sleeved lightweight shrug, something to just throw on over a summer dress that covers up the upper arms, but isn't overly warm - and here it is. I knit the Dream In Colour Shrug pattern, which is written for a ten ply, but worked out well in finer yarn. I love the finished object and can see it getting a lot of wear.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch) the postie made regular visits here this week with parcels of goodness. Southern Cross Fibre fibre club arrived, bearing 80g of polwarth and tussah silk fibre in the gorgeous colourway of 'Sprout' which I really really wanted. (really. No, really)

Followed by some equally gorgeous and very interesting fibre blend as the first installment of Ewe Give Me The Knits fibre club. This is an 80 percent merino, and 20 percent Milk protein blend. Yup, thats fibre (which feels very soft and silky) made from milk. Can't wait to load this baby onto my wheel!

And last but not least is the 100g of Blue Faced Leicester and Angora blend from IxchelBunny. The interesting thing about this braid (aside from how very soft it is) is that all of these colours are acheived with natural dyes, from things like lichen and walnuts. Impressive, no?
So anyways that is it for me today. I could post about rearranging the kids room today, cleaning everything up and out of there, but that is a horror I am currently trying to regress.
Instead, I will leave you with all the pretties above and hightail my butt off for a cuppa tea, and to try and round up a couple of wayward secret squirrels.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

Around here, it's been kind of a tough week. Master Mayhem and Miss Chaos have been a little more full on than usual - there was the fridge incident (way to say buh bye to 3 litres of milk, 500g of cheese, nearly a half a kilo of butter, a jar of minced garlic and a whole tin of strawberry quik). The next morning it was followed by a pantry incident (1 kg sugar, a whole box of cheerios, and a packet of crackers) and the morning after the medicine cupboard. (Those omega 3 blackcurrant flavoured fish oil capsules? The cat asked to be oiled and massaged. truly. But at least he smells fruity eh?)
Before anyone goes there, all three of these places have locks. We forgot to lock the fridge for the first time in months, and the locks on pantry and medicine cupboard now represent zero challenge it seems.

You take pleasure wherever you can get it though, and this week spring really has sprung around here, and it is everywhere you look. Tiny snow white lambs frolicking in the paddocks, animals everywhere doing that thing that.. animals do in spring, humans feeling the similar urge (everytime i drive past a couple of high schoolers doing the disco-pash around the corner from our place I lean out the window and yell 'BUSTED!' and watch 'em jump six foot in the air. Hy-st-er-i-cal I tell you). Then, of course there's one of my favourite things about spring - the flowers. I love daffodils, and I love tulips - but most of all I love, love, love the cherry blossoms. We have one in our front yard and she is doing a marvelous rendition of snow white this year :)

Since my last post, there was a scheduled stocking of the store - there is still a few things left this time also, which is good because I finally managed to organise some advertisements on Ravelry. I still get a wee thrill every time I see one my own advertisements. I know. I'm pathetic. :p But I am happy this way.

There's been very little spinning or sewing to show this week, however there has been some knitting done :) A couple of weeks ago I bought some sock yarn from knitabulous in the 'Count Sockular' colourway. I paired it up with the 'Froot Loop' pattern from Knitty, and freshly finished are these babies - I'm calling em FrootBat socks.

I also had some more Knitabulous yarn delivered today in a lovely bright orange / red colourway, a 50/50 merino and silk blend which is destined to become a shrug for me. It's very bright, and I love it. I have a feeling my need to accessorise my usual black black and black with a little colour is turning into a full blown wardrobe makeover. Eeek. (stop laughing. You know who you are.)

I also cast on my sisters 40th birthday present last night. It's beautiful so far, which is great, but in my usual style, I have left myself less than a month to complete it. Nothing quite so spurring as working under pressure is there?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A slow weekend..

This weekend has been slow.. and calming.. and yet at the same time - exhausting? Go figure. Warning! Pic heavy post ahead!

I spent this weekend with Mandie from Ewe Give Me The Knits doing spinning demonstrations at the Bendigo Alpaca Colourbration Show. Saturday afternoon Big Mac and kids arrived, so Master Mayhem could see the 'Alpacas! Alpacas!' he had been so excited about for a week, and there was patting done, and squealing heard. No pics of that sadly, as my kids move FAST and I am not so quick at whipping out the camera.

Sunday was much slower and I got the chance to snap quite a few shots :) We were seated next to the people from Petlyn Park Alpacas and spinning tools. Listening to them talk about their products and their animals made for a great learning experience. A couple of weeks ago I bought one of their fabulous spindles, and have been spinning away on it since. I took this photo at their stall so you can see what their spindles look like:
Because they are an all metal construction they are fabulous to just throw in a handbag. You can drop them on the floor, bang 'em around and they still look, and spin as good as new. I also got a shot of their Wool Picker in action, picking through some Suri Alpaca that Mandie dyed, fluffing it into these beautiful softer - than - you - ever - imagined clouds. It does look like there was a clown scalping though.
Also - Whats an Alpaca Show without a picture of one of the gorgeous creatures? I love their little 'meh! meh!' sounds they make, just adorable. This is Sapphire, one of Petlyn's alpacas. She's a Huacaya alpaca, a young female and she has attitude. Check out the evil eye she's giving me!
Meanwhile, there was much spinning done where we were sitting. I snapped this pic of Miss Mandie's bobbin in progress - you can see some of the clown scalp.. err.. red suri in this progress pic. So pretty and colourful!
And I was gifted with something very special and very, very, tres cool. A Mandie - spun Collier, spun this morning. It reminds me of a coral reef, and look - it has bells in it!

I love, love love it so much! (I also enjoy jingling while I walk, for some odd reason)
For my own part I delved into my stash and got a fair bit of spinning done myself. It's a running joke that I am a straight spinner who almost never gets funky and branches out into artyarns. Evidently spinning next to the gorgeousness shown above had me feeling inspired, as last night I churned this out on the wheel:
As far as art yarns go, it's not terribly outside the square. But for someone like me, it's actually quite the step outside the comfort zone.
I also managed two finish two skeins of my usual style yarns :) This is 'Lola' Polwarth, handspun into a 2ply construction. Fibre originally dyed by EGMTK.
Also originally dyed by EGMTK (yes I DO have quite the stash of EGMTK fibre, why do you ask?) this is a single spun yarn of Blue Faced Leicester and Silk.
Both of these yarns will be available at the next shop update, which will take place this Friday night the 28th of August, at 8pm.
And that is the weekend that was here at Casa Del Mayhem and Chaos. I know it is currently only early Sunday evening, but I am hoping the remainder of Sunday evening will involve nothing more exciting than a long hot bath, and an early bedtime! (for EVERYONE)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Too cute.

When at the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show I stopped by the lovely Wooldancer's stall, and grabbed a braid of hand dyed organic merino. It was not my usual colours, but I liked it anyways, cause I am a fan of yellow, and this one was particularly citrusy and sunshiney.

I didn't wait very long before whacking it on the wheel - in fact I think I started spinning it on the Sunday evening? At any rate, with the tour de fleece continuing it wasn't long before it was done and looked like this:

I bought some Bendigo Woolen Mills 'Luxury' 8 ply to match in a similar sunshiney yellow, choose a pattern and off I went. I also 'made up' a shrug / bolero pattern to match when I was done, to make the most of the handspun, and to give her something else for an extra layer of warmth, because the days are still a bit chilly here. Now, Miss Chaos has a new outfit for spring :

She sure doesn't look like the chaos creator she is.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long time no blog...


Instead of apologies, on with the show. Much has happenned since the last blog post.

There was, of course, the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, and the Ravelry events at the same time. They went off with a bang, thankfully, thats metaphorical terms, and not my head exploding but it was a close call for a while there. Fun was had, yarn and fibre were purchased, and most importantly a good time with beautiful friends was had. Including one fantabulous brunch that a bunch o sneaky people threw, and it was Awesome. That's right. With a capital A.

There was also the opening of the new Mayhem and Chaos shop. I decided I needed my own domain a while ago, but it took me a while to get off my butt and do something about it. I finally did it, and launched it a few weeks ago. There's a shiny new link on the right hand side bar to the shop, though there is not much left right now!! There's a new update in the works. If not this Friday night, then next Friday night, dependent on drying times.

I decided a few weeks ago now that there was no time like the present to learn to play the fiddle, something I had wanted to do for ages. I found a fabulous teacher, and when my tax return came in I went and bought myself a second hand violin. I'm loving lessons and am really happy that I made the decision.

And finally there has been a bit of spinning and knitting going on.
Spin wise, there's this: 'Visca' merino / seacell from ewe give me the knits. Spun up to about a sport or 5 ply weight and very purdy:

And while there has been more spinning and knitting done I'll leave you with one other thing because I don't want the post to be too pic heavy.
At the sheep and wool show I bought 3 100g skeins of 4 ply baby alpaca from Donyale at Yarncakes. It looked like this:

Thats 1300 metres or thereabouts of 4 ply yarn. What on earth does that knit up like? Well one month of constant knitting later, it looks like this:

The Icarus Shawl. Over 7 foot wide and big enough to wrap myself up in. Soft, drapey and 100% gorgeous. I am mighty pleased with it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Knit / spin / shop - pic heavy

Long time no blog! Apologies, I've had some health issues recently. I still haven't sorted them but have gotten to the stage where I have to suck it up and carry on regardless.

Whats been happenning? Well, planning for Ravelry events at Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show has taken up alot of my time. Organisation actually takes freaking ages, and loads of effort. Would be easier if everyone else operated to my schedule, but living in the real world means that expecting that is just rampantly stupid. 

There has been spinning, and knitting, and plenty of both really. 
First, Fibre! I can flash both of these recent purchases now, as it isn't spoiling anything. The most recent fibre club arrived this morning and as much as I adore it and love it, I can't post pics because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. However I have pics of last months, so I can share them. 
Last months fibre flub is a bamboo / polwarth blend, colourway 'Canopy'. It's goorgeous, deep and dark and so soft. I am a huge fan of Polwarth anything, it would have to be my favourite fibre to spin with. 

This one is machine washable merino in the colourway 'Sugar Candy'. It's not my usual style I know, but I had such fun spinning the stuff below and loved the resulting yarn so much I thought I would break out and get something with ~gasp~ PINK in it. It's very smooshy.

This is a spin I don't have the pics of the fibre. Given to me as a gift around christmas time, it's a merino fibre, an old one from when Mandie at EGMTK first started dyeing. It spun up into a worsted weight type yarn, with plenty of barber poling and was unbelievably bouncy and squishy.

I can't lay claim to being the knitter who knit it up into this cute hat, that was my friend Helen, but I can lay claim to spinning the yarn and producing the gorgeous one modeling (and keeping) the beanie :)

Last spin for this blog update is called 'Desert Moon'. It's a Navajo 4 - ply with one of the plies being a variegated rayon thread flowing from deep gold to chocolate brown. It's quite fine, and really deep in colour. The fibre I started with:

A Blue Faced Leicester fibre, also one of my faves.

And the resulting spun. 15 WPI, 3 ply or light fingering weight, and 218 metres.

And now, the knitting.

From top to bottom: 
*A pair of little fingerless mitts for Miss Chaos, made from some left over Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn. So cute.
*A pair of 8 ply / DK weight socks for the Big Mac, knit from the new Bendigo Woollen Mills 'Luxury' yarn. I love this yarn. Machine washable, very soft, and doesn't pill anywhere near as much as I thought it would.
*And lastly a 'Hurricane Hat' beanie for my sister in laws mum, a lovely lady. It is knit from the 8 ply 'Luxury' as well, with some Moda Vera 'Picchio' merino / silk in there too.
Currently I am working on - a matching scarf for the hat in the Moda Vera Picchio, and a 'Wicked' jumper for myself in the 10 ply 'Luxury' yarn. Both are coming along nicely! I would say I am perhaps 3/4 of the way through the jumper, and halfway through the scarf.

That's all for now, proper update with actual life content soon, I promise. For now it's a sunny day, great for hanging washing out, so I had best go and do exactly that!