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:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Of pixies and autumn...

So, now sitting at 34 (and a bit) weeks pregnant, the finished objects are picking up the pace in my own desperate attempts to clear the decks, and keep everyone who needs to be warm, toasty. We're definitely into my favourite season now, I love the smells and colours of Autumn. The leaves on the trees change to glorious oranges, browns and reds, the days are mild and just perfect for throwing on a light cardigan or shawl for a bit of extra warmth. Of an evening, when the chill comes down people all over town start turning on heaters and lighting woodfires, and the sweet smelling smoke fills the air and hangs low to the ground. I love it all, it's a sensory overload!
The other thing I love about autumn is the food that is in season. You can get away with (and crave) more substantial meals and the fact that pumpkin is in season and cheap helps with that! In the last week I have made pumpkin scones, and pumpkin soup. We had toasted pumpkin bread with marinated goats cheese for breakfast today, and tonights dinner is a hearty chicken and mushroom casserole with rice which we cooked all day in the slow cooker. to the end of preparation for the arrival of the babe, I am taking advantage of the ability to cook without sweltering, and trying to stock the freezer with quick, easy, and healthy meals that we can just reheat on those blurry first couple of weeks with a newborn. So far there's a few litres of pumpkin soup in there, the remainders of tonights chicken and mushroom casserole will go in there too. There's an entire lasagne in the oven, cooling down and getting ready to be sliced before freezing, and garlic bread to go with it. Still to come is mexican chicken meatballs, and a steak and onion pie. 
The house is a frenzy of activity, different people preparing for different things. Both kids are about to have their last week at kinder before going on school holidays, and I am being yammerred at endlessly every day about how the Easter Bunny cometh soon! Big Mac has a new job, so every evening is spent preparing for the next day ahead, mapping his route out (the work involves travel) and making lunches for the kids and himself. And I am spending my days trying to keep up with the kids, while buying what needs to be bought, and making what needs to be made. 
This week I have a couple of hats which have been finished off. The first is made from leftover Dream In Colour Smooshy sock yarn. I made my dad a pair of socks from it for christmas, and had a fair bit leftover. The hat is newborn sized and deliciously soft too. Not to mention cute!

The second hat is a case of wingin' it in every aspect. I had some Ewe Give Me the Knits merino / carbonized bamboo in a pastel kind of rainbow. It reminded me a lot of fruit tingles, and was nice, but  was not a colourway I would of worn myself. I started spinning it and deicded that for a change, I just wanted to throw the fibre at the wheel instead of spinning it ultra fine. So I did. The end result was a super soft bulky weighted two ply yarn that was VERY squishy! 
Because Miss Chaos for some reason looks like a hobo in every beanie I put her in, I wanted to make her a bit of a different hat to keep her warm. So I improvised and the result is what I am calling the 'Pixi Hoodlum'. 
Soft, warm and snuggly, it suits her down to the ground and she loves it. I also think I might need to be making something similar for myself before winter hits properly!

There's plenty more to come though. At the moment i have a mammoth spin in progress, on the needles I have a cute and funky pair of booties for a wee baby girl who is due after my babe, and the brightly coloured baby quilt I am making has had it's top finished and now needs to be 'sandwiched' (quilted) and bound. The hours are ticking by at an alarming rate every day, with much to be done, but slowly and surely, it's all happening.