Sunday, August 7, 2011

Swankymink a shawl of risks!

So the wedding of my sister is done and dusted. There was good food, and good dancing and some not so good dancing, and much fun was had. 
Also done and dusted is Cladonia (rav link) the shawl I was knitting to wear to the wedding to keep me warm. It's knit from SilkyMink yarn from Ixchel Yarns and Fibres, (one ball of black, one of burgundy) a 4ply/fingering weight yarn which is 70% mink, 10% angora bunny, 10% silk and 10% lambswool. I didn't think I would finish it in time. And i didn't think I had enough yarn, because according to ball bands and pattern requirements I would of been about 150 metres short. 
Finish it I did - I knit furiously the night before, and in the car on the way down to the wedding, and in the hotel room before the wedding too. It was finished one hour before the wedding and hastily blocked while I fed the baby, and in the end when I threw it on it was still ever so slightly damp. Risky, but it worked out!
Run out of yarn I did not. I still have about 20 metres of the red yarn left, and about 70 metres of the black left. More risky knitting behaviour (ok not that risky, I used lifelines just in case) that paid off. 
Did you know that mink is super warm? It is! At no point last night did I feel the need to put my big winter coat on as well as this shawl, and last night was your traditional cold n stormy evening. 
All in all, big win! I love it. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More finished objects, party frock edition!

I'll start this off with a warning: this post is PIC HEAVY. Some might say laden with pics. I am still playing catch up on showing off the finished objects, so I've decided to just throw em all in one post and be done with it. So, on with the show, starting with the least recent through to most recent. 

This little set was made for a gift, which is why I have been a bit lazy with putting pics up. They were waiting for me to get off my butt and send them to the recipient, but now I have, I can flash. (heheh)
The yarn is a 100% cashmere sportweight, which I was gifted by another lovely raveler who was not in love with the colour. The scarf is a skinnier, longer version of the Saroyan Pattern (ravelry link) and the mitts are 'Veyla' (ravelry link) by the lovely Ysolda Teague. The recipient appreciated them very much and they worked out so lovely, and buttery soft. 

Next up another knitted item! We have a wedding to attend this weekend, my sisters wedding, and I thought that given it would still be fairly cool I should probably knit our new wee mister Bram a vest. A cabled one. which, to me, means a nice natural coloured wool. On a trip up to visit Ms Mandie at her shop Ewe Give Me The Knits I discovered some really nice nut brown natural coloured balls of 8 ply, so I bought one and made him a nice cabled vest to go with a nice shirt and pants. 
It's a nice pattern, and a free one too. The pattern is the Pembroke Pattern by Kirsten Kapur. I've been worried for a while that I made it too big and it would not fit him (even though he has grown quite a bit!) but I tried it on him today for an 'action shot' and it's perfect. As an added bonus, he even gave me a grin :)

Moar knitting! Yes? More? Ok. 
Last year at Bendigo sheep and wool show, I made a really nice cowl which was for sale there. I got the husbeast to model it for me for a finished object shot, and he mentioned at the time that he would quite like a cowl for himself. That year he picked out some fibre at the IxchelBunny stand for me to spin and knit into a cowl for him. Which while I had the best of intentions, kind of.. didn't happen. THIS year however, back at the Ixchel stand he picked out some beautiful Bison/Bamboo yarn, which I DID knit into a cowl for him, and very quickly too may I add!
Look at that smug bastard. Look how warm he is, and how cozy! The hat was knit for him last year from some handspun Southern Cross Fibre, and the cowl as mentioned was knitted out of yarn from Ixchel Yarns and Fibres, and it is AMAZING stuff. 
That's it then? That's all I did? Lazy sod, i thought this was a literal PILE of finished objects? Yeah it is. and so endeth the knitting portion of the finished objects. Now we can understand why I literally haven't had a spare moment in weeks!
I love weddings. I do. and I also love sewing. But, as it turns out, to my surprise, the thing I love to sew the most, is a good party frock. And for me, with my penchant for 50's sort of stle, red and black, and polkadots, this is the party frock to end ALL party frocks. 
I may even find other excuses to wear it. Anywhere and everywhere, i say! (and look, my head is IN these shots!). The pattern is Butterick fast and easy pattern B5317, and it was indeed, surprisingly fast and easy. The fabric is two different types of taffeta I found in one of my (man. many!) trips to spotlight and I love love love it. 
Problem is, around here, if I make something for myself, I then MUST make something for the kids too. Which is fair enough because their wardrobe IS kind of lacking at the moment. (growth spurts tend to cause that). So, back to the patterns and the sewing machine (and err.. spotlight) we go. 
Master Mayhem needs himself something a little bit funky and a little bit classy. So he has new pants, and a new vest, both of which are patterns from Ottobre magazines. The vest has been cut down from one of Macs old vests and re-worked because the vest no longer fit him, but the fabric and buttons were still too good to go to waste. Added bonus? pockets were already there. These pants have been dubbed 'Hey Ya' pants, and he does pull quite the 'ice cold!' look while in them. 
(don't know where 'Hey Ya' or 'ice cold' come from? Check out this film clip, and you'll figure it pretty quick!)

Nearly there - last one I promise. But I think I saved the best till last. The piece de resistance party frock. As many might know I am less than enthused about the colour pink. Buuuuut when you are a 4 year old girl, pink is THE BUSINESS. Miss Chaos often protests at how much she dislikes it when I choose clothes for her that are not OMGPINK. She likes stuff that is PINK, sparkly and / or furry. In that order. Preferably all three at once. So when I made this for her (just finished last night) I was very worried it would not be (as usual) pink ENOUGH. 
I needn't have worried. She wpoke us up with her squeals when she walked into the loungeroom this morning and saw it hanging there, finished. 
The fabric is all from spotlight, and the black cherry blossom fabric was a bit more pricey than I would usually spring for, being the tight ass that I am. But I figured if I had to work with such pinkness it was going to be nice fabric. And it had cherry blossoms on it. I love cherry blossoms. 
Apparently that dress and those shoes are 'good for dancin'!' according to her. (see the shoes? Found them on clearance at Big W for $5. what a bargain!)
Ok, NOW I am done. In more ways than one. I'm relieved I can spend tonight curled up on the couch with some nice relaxing knitting as opposed to hunched over the sewing machine. Yup, relaxing chill out time. Now - who wants to see if I can finish this lace shawl by Saturday, without running out of yarn? Ready, Set, GO!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pumpkin. Pie. Doughnuts.

I know - second post in a day? Since when, say what now? I agree, but bear with me for a minute. 

My first love was not, in fact, knitting. Or spinning. It was food. I used to work in commercial kitchens and I love love love food. 
A few weeks ago, I bought my husbeast (who also love love loves food) a new toy for the kitchen. A deep fryer. Since then he seems set on frying ALL THE THINGS and I have not been able to get near it. 'Til tonight. 

I steamed up some pumpkin to make pumpkin and cheese scones (because I am a lover of all things pumpkin and also all things cheese) but there was way too much there, so I got to thinking ebout what else I was going to use it for. And the idea for these babies was born. I have to put a warning here that they are concentrated evil and if you make them (and I suggest you do) please be aware - they are most definitely found in the category of 'sometimes food'. 

1 cup plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
14g dried yeast
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of all spice
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup ricotta cheese

First in one bowl combine your flours, yeast and allspice. In a second separate bowl place your pureed pumpkin, brown sugar and ricotta. Hit this with a stickmixer or pop it in a food processor until it is smooth and creamy and well blended. Make a well in the centre of the flours, and pour your puree mix in there, then work it through until it is well mixed. You should have a ball of slightly sticky dough at this point, so knead this until it is smooth and elastic. 
Place your dough in a clean slightly oiled bowl and set it in a warm place for an hour, or until it is doubled in size. 
Pop your dough onto the bench top and separate it, with a knife into manageable sized chunks. Now you need to make your wee donuts. I made mine bite sized. 
To do this I separated the dough into quarters then rolled each quarter out into a sausage shape. Then I cut slices off, and poked a hole in each one with my little finger, stretching out a touch. But you could make them any size you want. 

Next you want to fry them! If you don;t have a deep fryer, you could obviously just use some oil in saucepan on the stove. Fry them at a low temperature for about 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flipping them over midway through so that both sides are even. 
Drain them for a minute or so, then toss them through a mix of cinnamon sugar with the ratio weighted towards sugar. 

DON'T yank them straight out of the sugar and into your mouth as I did because you WILL wind up with third degree burns of the tongue and you will sound like someone cut out your tongue for at least ten minutes afterwards.
Once they are cool enough to eat - do it! Delicious bite sized chunks of slightly chewy pumpkin pie doughnut. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Spinning around.. and around.. and around..

The only problem with not blogging for a while because you are busy is that when you get back to things, there's a backlog of pics of finished things to get through. This is ecspecially true in times of high activity like I have had, mostly due to the Tour De Fleece. 
The Tour De Fleece is a spin-a-long run on Ravelry and the aim of it is simple - to spin every day that the Tour De France rides. Some might say I am a bit of a dill for choosing to do it when the Ravelry events occur smack bang in the middle of it every year, but I enjoy it too much not to, really. This year was extra special because of the awesome Cadel Evans winning the Tour De France after many years trying! There were many very VERY late nights, but now I am all caught up on sleep I can share. 
First off I was consumed with the need to finish the mammoth spin I had been working on for some time, before I could get to anything else. Finish it I did!
There's 500 grams of yarn there. I am proud of a number of things with this spin - to start with, I finished it, and proved to myself I could. Generally speaking I start to get bored with any particular fibre right around the end of a 100g lot. It's like I have some form of colour related attention defecit. But I have proved to myself now that it can be done. I'm also proud of it's consistency - each of the five 100g skeins comes in at 12 wraps per inch, and each of the skeins has between 200 and 217 metres in it. 

Once that was done, there was this optim/soy/bamboo blend which I bought at Ewe Give Me The Knits at Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show nearly 5 years ago now. Two house moves ago, I had spun two thirds of it into singles, aiming for a three ply. I wound the first two lots into balls, stuffed them in a bag with the final third of fibre, then promptly forgot about them. So I dug them out, spun up the final third of the fibre, then plied them together. 
And again, despite there being a 4-5 year break in between spinning the first two lots of singles and spinning the last lot, when it came time to ply there was less than two metres difference in the length of the three spun lots. Huzzah for consistency!

While I was on a roll of finishing things up I pulled out some Southern Cross Fibre that had been half finished for a few months. One of the Southern Cross Fibre clubs contained two 2oz braids of polwarth/tencel blend in contrasting colours which were just delicious. I spun up the chocolate brown braid pretty much straight away and while I had intended to do the same with it's cherry coloured friend, I had not gotten to it. So I sat down and spun it up, too. 
So I now have two contrasting skeins of luscious shiny goodness and can now dream and imagine about what it wants to become. 

Now that all of the unfinished wheelspins were complete, it was time to focus on something 'new'. So I pulled out two magic balls in 'Lorikeet' that I bought from Ewe Give Me The Knits last year. I split the colours into the braid and arranged them in the proper order of the spectrum, overlapping them slightly. Then I spun them in order, and navajo plied them to retain the colour progression. 
The resulting yarn is roughly an 8 ply, or a dk weight yarn, and when knit up will knit up in a colour progression through the rainbow. The second magic ball I had of this has been spun exactly the same way and is just waiting to be plied. 

I mentioned earlier that the Ravelry event I organise and the Sheep and Wool Show occurred in the midst of all this furious spinning. It did occur, and my event went well, and many thing were bought at the sheep and wool show, and loads of people were met and re met and fun was had. However, because I am full of fail, I did not take a single photo, so you will have to take my word for it. However I did come home from the wool show with three new spindles! One of which I have not yet figured out how to use, two of which currently have spins in progress on them, and a third I already had has a spin in progress on it too. 
The one I already had, a bosworth, contains some Southern Cross Fibre polwarth/silk in 'Sprout' which is slowly but surely being spun up, much of it done within the Tour De Fleece. 

The second spindle I bought at the Ixchel stall on the Friday of the show, and the fibre being spun on it was bought at the same time. The spindle has a stone whorl, and the fibre is a naturally coloured blend of camel,bunny and silk. It spins like butter!
The third spindle, another I bought at the show is my 'new baby' of the spindle family. It's a Jenkins Turkish spindle and oh how I love it! It is currently spinning up some Southern Cross Fibre BFL in 'Dauntless', and this spindle, flies!
For those who don't know how a turkish spindle works, all three pieces of the spindle that you can see in the pic disassemble. You spin and spin and instead of winding the yarn around the shaft like on the drop spindles above, you wind it through the arms on the bottom of the spindle. Once your spindle cop is full, you can pop out the shaft of the spindle out the bottom, pull the arms out the sides, and you end up with a wound ball of singles, all ready to be plied. It's like MAGIC, and it spins so fast and so even that I can see I ~might~ need more of these spindles!!
So that was my Tour De Fleece. My apologies for no pics of sheep and wool weekend, but hopefully I can make up for it in my next post - I've seriously fallen behind in sharing finished objects, and I have three knitted finished objects to flaunt, and a fourth well on the way, as well as numerous (and spectacular!) sewn finished items. Wheee! Yay for striking while the iron's hot!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Creative spaces and not so big places.

There is just so much going on here at the moment. I've said it before but every day seems a struggle to get through the ever growing to-do list. 
I have finally finished the mammoth spin however, and completed another spin which has been waiting to be finished for TWO YEARS now. I've cut out pattern and fabric for a new dress, over the weekend we rearranged the lounge room. I finished the vest for the babe, and the mitts and scarf set, both of which are now blocking. So I don't actually have very much to show for all of this time and effort outlay. However I do have one thing. 
Way back in December, when we had just found out the babe was going to be a boy, we headed down to spend christmas at my mum and dads. To celebrate a trouble free scan I found a lovely pale blue coral fleece blanket in the pharmacy down there and bought it. I'm not the hugest fan of pastels, but coral fleece is just so soft. The babe loves it! he snuggles into it when he is in the pram or capsule and rubs his wee cheek against it. It's small though - strictly a pram or capsule size, definitely not cot size. 
Enter - one metre of coral fleece and one metre of cotton jersey from spotlight. Fold jersey over edges of coral fleece, sew. 
Result! Cot sized coral fleece blanket backed with jersey, for when he grows into a cot. Cute! Took all of half an hour, and cost less than the original pram sized one. 
While we wait for vests and mitts and scarves and handspun yarn to dry though - and while we wait for me to get off my butt and sew my new dress (as well as some stuff for Master Mayhem and Miss Chaos that is in the works too) I thought I would borrow someone elses idea and show off my creative space. 
I may have mentioned it before, but the house we live in is small. And old. It's charming, but space around here needs to be used creatively. My studio exists as one half of a closed in back verandah. The verandah was also split in two by a partial wall and a door when it was closed in, and my main studio exists at one end. 
This photo is taken to the doorway looking in. Just to the left of this shot is the fabric cupboard, the alpaca vortex corner and the fibre unit. The big black section you can see is my design wall, and at the end there is my work table on which resides my small stero and clock, sewing machine, overlocker, laptop and patterns (behind the laptop)
this is a better shot of the design wall which is a fairly new addition to the room. About a year ago when the winter clearance sales were on, I bought a metric buttload (that IS a real unit of measurement, shutup!) of this black 100% wool fabric. It's been sitting in the fabric stash since then, till last week. BigMac has helped me fix it to the wall using some dowel and I now have a big space that I can stand back from and really see whats going on with something. See how colours work together. The added bonus is that fibre, yarn and fabric alike, all stick to it with static. Slap it on there, and it stays. Awesome!
This is the Fat Quarter basket that sits on top of the fabric cupboard. In this resides my collection of fat quarters, my buttons, and the cardboard containers in front hold scraps that could be useful. I love this thing. It's really inspiring. 
The fibre unit. In this unit, within boxes and tubs, is all of my fibre for spinning, all my handspun, and all my yarn. In the basket and up top are knitting patterns, spindles and spins in progress. The space just to the right of this is a corner, created by sandwiching the cupboard and unti together. This is the alpaca vortex. Their fleeces just keep showing up? There's 6 alpaca fleeces, one sheep fleece and a massive amount of hobbyfill, all in separate bags, smooghed into this corner. To the left of the unit is the doorway through which you can see the other studio. Currently it has a table in it for pattern cutting, but the rest of it is used for storage until we can find a better way to use the space. 
Lastly, the fabric cupboard. Holds all the fabric that is larger than a fat quarter, either folded, or hanging up in there. It's like a treasure trove!

I'm looking at these photos and realising I really do love this space. It's like my own little cave. But in the photos it also looks a lot bigger than it really is. This entire room is 2 metres wide, and three metres deep. Thats it. Two adults will fit in it if we are right next to each other, but when the kids come in it becomes difficult for either adult to get out again until the kids leave. But considering it's size? An awful lot happens in here!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

What's your style? Dress Me Up!

It's been a long couple of weeks, and will continue to be a long a couple of weeks in the lead up to the events I organise every July. There's not enough hours in every day for all the things I need to do, and all the things I want to do. Each and every day has become a blur of knitting, changing nappies, feeds, spinning, emails, photographs, making lunch, taking kids where they need to go, sewing, phonecalls, THINK OF SOMETHING FOR DINNER!, quotes, forms, and list making. Always with the list making. 
In amongst all this has been a fair bit of design, some dreaming, motivating and motivation. Ideas growing, being bounced around and built upon. There's been some hard things to face, some interesting points come to, and many things still marinating in my head, as they tend to do. 
For a start - on the lighter end of the spectrum - I'm coming to terms with a 'new normal' post pregnancy. Not only did I lose ten kilos while pregnant (I know, I know - I'm not bitching about it) - but my entire body shape has also changed as well. This means that 90% of my wardrobe no longer fits. Either things look like a sack, or they cling to all the bits I don't want them to cling to. Throw into this mix the fact that we have a wedding to go to in early August as well as two parties between here and then and you have a recipe for panic. 
Enter the fabric stash. The stash I periodically add to by buying decent metreage of interesting things I find on sale. 
Butterick have re released a range of their vintage patterns and I like many of the 1950's styles, so I bought a couple of patterns. One I am still waiting on to arrive on backorder, but the other one came home with me, pattern B5032.
After a dive in the fabric stash I came up with some nice cotton sateen I bought on clearance for about $5 a metre about a year ago. There was not enough for the full skirted version (which I would have liked) but there was definitely enough for the straight version. This is how it turned out:
I quite like it. I added a sash out of red dupion silk, because I felt it needed it, and because I am a sucker for silk. Red silk, to be specific. If I make the same pattern again (and I probably will) I will probably go down a few bust sizes on the top, as I found it to be very loose and I had to do a few tricks to get it to tighten up some. Perhaps I've lost more in the bust than I measured?
This is the pattern I am waiting on the arrival of though:
and I have another dress pattern and the fabric for it sitting down in the studio, just waiting to be cut and sewn. In between, you know, everything else. 
There is progress at least - the mammoth spin is less than 100g of spinning away from being DONE. Which will be nice because I am 100% DONE WITH IT. There's a reason I don't spin more than about 200g of the same colours very often. It's called the sort of boredom that makes me want gouge my own eyes out for fun. I also have a matching set of mitts and a scarf soaking in a bucket waiting to be blocked and photographed before they get popped in a parcel pack to be sent off as a gift. In the same bucket there's also a wee cabled vest for Master BJ to wear to the wedding - he at least already has a button up shirt and nice pants to wear under it (conveniently given as a gift by the same person who's wedding we are attending! - thanks Coll!). A new dress pattern for Miss Chaos arrived today, from which I will make her a new dress to wear to it too.. and that of course means more fabric shopping. All together now.. aww.. yes yes I know, smallest violin in the world playing just for me. Master Mayhem and all of his too - short - in - the - leg - socks - showing - like - michael - jackson pants has not been forgotten either. There's an Ottobre Design mag on the way with a nice vest pattern in it, and I bought a metre and a half of a fabulous tartan fabric the other day to make him some seriously groovy wide legged punky pants from. I'm wondering if it is possible to get pants for him, and a skirt for Miss Chaos out of the one metre and a half of fabric. I'm going to give it a bash anyways!
It's 1am right now. I had more to say in this blog post. So many thoughts. But again, I am out of time - story of my life right now.  The one question I keep coming back to at the moment however is this - Am I who I want to be? And I think the answer is yes. But I think it's important to note that the question is WHO and not WHAT. Which are the most important things to me, that I allow myself to be defined by? There's a list in that there question. Always with the lists. But for now, I'm just going to leave this here for anyone pondering the same question. 
Take it away, Ms Fucking Palmer. 


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The List and The Toadstools (Giraffe Cameo!)

I used to be well known for having an excellent memory. For the most part, I still do, but the reason for my good memory is because of The List. Yep. All capitals. 
The List is something I think many people have but in me it seems to reach ridiculous proportions. The List is a real thing you see, something in my head that hums along constantly, much like the fridge in the kitchen. Most of the time it hums along quietly in the background, flicking through it's main folder of 'this year' and then the subfolders of 'this month', 'this week', 'today' and now with the addition of a baby to to the household 'THIS FREAKING MINUTE!' (because a hungry baby waits for no bastard).
The List frequently keeps me awake at night with it's cacophony of things that need to be done, places that need to be visited, things that need to be purchased - even tiny events like getting dressed and dressing the kids. From huge events to the most mundane it's a never ending ticking cycle. Once my mind gets to the end of The List it starts at the start again, immediately. I'm frequently heard to say 'I'll add it to The List' and as such it has become a tangible thing, something that features in the day to day running of the house and lives. Even the kids know about it. (Miss Chaos said to me just this morning 'where is fixing my cardigan on The List?)
Where was I? Oh yeah. Most of the time The List is manageable and quite a handy thing. But sometimes, at certain times of the year (generally preceeding large events) it becomes.. well, a beast quite frankly. The more things that are added to The List, the more unmanageable it becomes, like juggling, until I start dropping balls. It's always the little things I drop. In my haste to clear things off The List to make it easier to handle, I forget small things along the way. Like.. eating. Drinking. Going to the toilet before kidney explosion becomes imminent. 
Currently the list is becoming unwieldy. One month from now is the Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show, and at the same time the Ravelry Event(s) I organise annually. This year I was kind to myself. Knowing I would have a wee baby at the time, I limited myself to one event - a Friday night Dinner. I dropped the traditional Saturday morning breakfast. It's still a lot of organising though, so there are balls being dropped left right and centre here at the moment. I nearly reached critical kidneys this afternoon and couldn't work out why I felt so uncomfortable. The cat meowed at me incessantly for an hour this morning before I realised his water bowl needed filling. The front porch - something I normally keep very well maintained for some reason - has tumbleweeds inhabiting it. So if you are a Ravelry member and you don't know what the hell I am on about, do a search for 'Bendi Baa' among the groups, and you should find all the info you need. 

Meanwhile in between all this organising there has been stuff created. Every body gotta have some down time. I have a scarf and mitts set for a gift which is not quite ready to be photographed, I'm back at the spinning wheel making headway on finishing up a custom spin. But there's been sewing, too. A pair of new pyjama pants for both Master Mayhem and Miss Chaos have been produced, and tested by them. They passed if you are interested, Master Mayhem proclaiming them 'warm and comfy WITH TRAINS ON!'. Priorities. He has them. 

A couple of months ago though while browsing through a local opshop I uncovered some vintage / retro kids sheets. And they were AWESOME. High quality cotton, already washed and worn in though not TOO worn in. There was quite a bit there, a matching bunk bed set of two pillowcases, two flat sheets and two fitted sheets. I bought everything they had, and will be sending half of the haul to a friend. My half has been sitting, languishing in the fabric cupboard for a while. Miss Chaos' wardrobe is somewhat lacking though, given I have difficulty finding clothes I like for her. Everything seems to be OMG SO PINK!!!!! Or makes her look like the star of a movie that might be called 'The littlest LapDancer'. 
So I upsized a pattern I had kicking around for a wee A-line / mod type dress. (Heh. I keep calling her Queen of the ModKids.. and if you haven't watched that episode of the Mighty Boosh with the King of The ModWolves, you won't get that reference so I'll shuddup)
She quite likes it, which is the main thing - 'I LOVE GIRAFFES! AND IT HAS GIRAFFES!!'. It looks excellent with her new ass-kicking boots too, and I like her in it. No whore outfits on a five year old here, no sir. 
as an added bonus I had the perfect buttons, already sitting around waiting to be used. I love buttons. Have I mentioned that before? I really do. 

She was so pleased to wear it to kinder yesterday. Her teachers commented on it. I love it. 

We've also rearranged the studios. I have a better creative space now. I'm very pleased but photos of that will have to wait until next time. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Return of the Crazy.

So, I am back. For those playing at home this means I am now either no longer pregnant, or made up the whole thing to take an extended break from the business and the blog. Given I've not had issue with taking a blog break before for no reason other than not feeling particularly chatty (also known as Can't Be Fu.. uhh.. Motivated), and also given I actually love doing what I do, I guess it has to be the case that I now have a really good Finished Object to show off? And indeed I do. 
I won't say he's the BEST finished object ever, because to do so would be kinda rude to Mr Mayhem and Miss Chaos, but he's definitely in the top 3 :p
Fresh from a bath at one day old.

BJ wound up being born on the 29th of April at 5.18am via emergency ceasar after a failed induction. Little bugger snoozed through labour, and refused to descend any further. Thankfully, this ceasar went far FAR better than the last one, and was not so much of a rushed emergency as a 'well, ok we are doing this now' type of emergency. 
He weighed 6lb 10 oz at birth and now at 3 weeks and 3 days old has gained half a kilo on his birthweight already. He is a cruisy baby, never terribly stressed UNLESS that horrible thing happens. 
That horrible thing? Getting cold. 
Lucky his mam's a knitter then, eh?
Two weeks 6 days old

There has been a fair bit of knitting going on. At this stage, I can't spin due to the ceasar making me ache a bit if I try but I should be back at the wheel soon. I've not been sewing either, because the sewing studio is BLOODY FREEZING - a situation which will hopefully be rectified this week when I buy a small fan heater for it. So in the end, the only crafty pursuit left to me at the moment is knitting. I'm glad to have something to just pick up in between feeds and bum changes, book reading, sandwich making, picture drawing, drink getting and laundry washing. 
The 'Oceans and Islands' socks were finished a bit over a week ago now. The first sock heel was turned while I was in labour with BJ, and they came along fairly quick from that point really. Hospital provides good knitting opportunity. The pattern is Traffic Island Socks by Redscot (Ravelry link) and the yarn is Malabrigo Sock Yarn I got in a swapsie with the lovely SunriseSister. Great pattern which is very easy to memorise and gives a nice chevron look that I love. This is my second pair of these, the first went to my mother in law as a christmas gift. It's rare for me to like a pattern enough to do it twice!

Since finishing these I have also busted out a much petted skein of 5ply/sport weight 100% cashmere in a lovely spring green and knit a scarf. It is finished but photos will have to wait until after it is blocked, as it is currently soaking in a bucket. 

Mentally I am feeling far more back on board than I have in a while (surprise surprise) and I have been plotting and planning - Ravelry events, new stuff for the store, new projects, new colour combinations, new things to see, do and share. It's all happening folks! Somehow the whirlwind in the brain that I never thought I would miss is back, and its return is welcome. Full steam ahead! (well. as much the body will allow)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Idle hands? Hells no.

So, I am still here, and still currently intact at 37 weeks and 5 days. It's been a slow couple of weeks - I'm rather round now, and while I have been rather quiet, I've still managed to be quite productive. Craft - wise, at any rate! Sitting around twiddling my thumbs would drive me insane so I've continued to create. 

Time management (or an attempt at it) is a friend of mine at the moment - with so many other babies due in my circle of friends I need to get the jump on things now! Given I liked the set I did for my own new baby so much, I decided to make a second set as part of a gift for a friends bub, due a few months after me. 
The yarn is Colinette Jitterbug sock yarn, some left overs I had from a pair of knee high socks I made for Miss Mayhem a few months ago. So bright and funky!
I also pulled out some Bendigo Woolen Mills Luxury 10 ply I had floating around whipped up this cute little Owlie Snuggle Sack for the new one. 
It was a relatively quick and satisfying knit, ecspecially being in 10 ply. It's like a wee woolen sleeping bag! But with cute little owlish cables :p

In the interests of practicality and remaining busy and multicraftual, I've also been back at the sewing machine, not quilting this time but something a little more.. well.. mundane. 
1.5 metres of froggy print flanelette, and 1.5 metres of jungle print flanelette combined together gave me 4 nappy squares (to be used as nappies or random cleaner-uppers, whichever seems more urgent at the time!) and also 18 double sided cloth wipes from the offcuts of making the nappies. I bought the fabric at spotlight a couple of weeks ago when it was on sale for $4.50 per metre (got to love a good special!)

And lastly but certainly not leastly, there's been spinning too - I'm steadily treadling away at a mammoth spin as part of a swap. The going is slow, as the baby is generally pretty damn unimpressed with the way I sit when I spin (or when I sit AT ALL for that matter) so I can only do short bursts at a time. But I am getting there! This pic shows progression from fibre, to spun singles, to finished and plied skein. 

So that's how I keep busy while waiting for things to happen. I hope everyone enjoyed their Easter Festivities, took advantage of a super long easter break, and commemorated Anzac Day in the way in which they saw fit. I sure did! Productivity for the win!
I get the feeling it might be a little while before I blog again, so I will just say at this point.. BRB ;)

Monday, April 11, 2011

They call me mellow yellow..

We all have our favourite colours don't we? Anyone who knows me knows red is my favourite. When I was a teenager I loved purple - but I think most teenage girls go through a fairly big purple phase. I also have very specific favourite colour tones across the spectrum though - my favourite red is Candyapple Red, but I have faves in all the other colours too. Duck Egg Blue. Eggplant Purple. Acid Green (which I sometimes call Soylent Green just for kicks - it's people! Soylent Green is people!!! the perfect green of a good Midori Illusion. There's a food theme here, have you noticed?) and Egg Yolk Yellow. 
There's been a fair bit of yellow around here recently. My favourite necklace is yellow. I bought Miss Mayhem a new yellow shirt the other day. BigMac surprised me the other week with a bunch of my favourite yellow roses (and I didn't even give birth in order to get them! Shock!). My current spin in process features a deep golden colour, almost a mustard.  Yellow is one of those colours that people either love or hate I think. I love it. Most colour shades of it too, through from a deep yolky yellow to a light delicate lemon. I think yellow is a warm colour - it's comforting and gives the illusion of cozy-ness. 
This week I finished up a playrug sized quilt for the new baby which I have been working hard on (more on that later) and I needed a gift for a friends new baby, too. I decided on a pram sized quilt which was MADNESS given I decided this on the Thursday, and the baby shower where I would be gifting it was on the Sunday. In my usual style however, I decided to bite off more than I could chew, and chew like mad. 
First up, while catching up on regular blog reading, and links around I discovered this tutorial over at 'a cuppa and a catch up' for a quilt as you go strip quilt. Made in less than a day, I figured it was just the ticket, and off to spotlight I headed where I was drawn to the yellows... 
I paired them with a couple different types of grey, and a black, found some glorious variegated thread and headed home to begin. 

It WOULD have gone according to plan and been finished in less than 24 hours, had my brain not started throwing out what I call 'unauthorised ideas'. You know the ones. The additions that make a 'nice' piece into something 'special', but which take more time and more effort. In other areas they would be known as budget blowout, but when your time is your budget, they are one and the same really. Problem is, once you have seen them in your head? You know you aren't really 'finished' until they have been included.

 So in the end, it was more like 36 hours, with a very late night in there, and some frantic panicking when the colours ran in the wash (dylon colour run remover, I love you so!) BUT - it was complete, washed, dried and ready in time to be gifted. (just.)
Don't tell anyone but I cheated and did the binding with the machine on this one. Two reasons - 1 - there was just not enough time for me to do it by hand, as I am seriously S.L.O.W. at binding by hand and 2- I wanted to continue to show off that variegated thread of glorious yellowyness. 
'Bird On A Wire' Quilt
Earlier in the week I finished another quilt - this one a bit larger - as a playrug for the new baby. As one might be able to tell I'm not really the worlds biggest fan of pastels - I prefer bright, bold funky colours, yes, even for tiny babies. There's SO MUCH powder blue and baby pink around that at times, it can kinda feel like there's not much other option - I remember being so frustrated when I was having Miss Chaos that every single thing seemed to soft baby pink. I'm not a huge fan of pink, it's the only colour I DON'T have a favourite shade of, and when it's all the exact same pink? Ugh. 
When you are choosing fabric yourself though, and making an item yourself - the only limit is in the fabric shops you are sourcing from. And thankfully around here, the fabric shops have PLENTY to choose from!
The main three fabrics on the centre blocks are (I think?) a Michael Miller fabric, all part of the same range. I bought a three pack of fat quarters when a local quilt shop sadly closed down, and they had been sitting in the stash for quite a while, waiting for the 'right' project. The black and silver swirly fabric on the outer border is some fabric I picked up at spotlight ages ago, and the red and FABULOUS acidic yellow borders are both moda marbles fabric. 
This will be used mostly as something to pop down on our hardwood flooring during playtime, a blanket to pop in the car, or pop down under the wee one at other peoples houses when we go visiting. Master Mayhem was a severely refluxy baby and I can't tell you the amount of times I wound up desperately trying to clean spew out of someone elses carpet. Ewwwww. Much easier to just have something you can throw in the wash!
'Surf's Up' Playquilt
So now the countdown begins. As of Thursday it's four weeks till my due date to have this babe. I'm frantically trying to get prepared and there is more sewing and knitting to be done, preferably before that happens. One word: