Monday, November 9, 2009

WIP no longer...

I have been very quiet around these parts lately. Sometimes life just gets in the way...
But hurrah, those crochet squares from - how many weeks ago now? - have multiplied and sewn themselves into a finished product! And I can now tick one belated birthday present off the list...

I used the excellent crochet cushion construction tutorial from the lovely Lucy at Attic24, and used a thrifted jumper for the backing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

my creative space: colourful crochet...

after seeing Melanie's post this week I was reminded that I also have a couple of outstanding birthday gifts to get onto. do other people have this affliction? you want to make because it's a way of showing how much you care, but does giving a present 6 months late contradict that?

I have a dear (patient) friend in mind for this one - she is extremely talented, gentle and kind, an excellent violinist and runner, and she had a birthday earlier this year but true to form wanted no-one to pay any attention to it(!)

It's going to be a cushion cover. I am thinking a recycled jumper (sweater), but still need to crochet another 7 squares to make it 4x4.

You can find links to more crafty people over at Kirsty's

Sunday, October 11, 2009

sweet jar covers

for a while now I've been hoarding a single tiny vegemite jar. it is such a perfect size and shape, I have been determined that one day I would crochet a little cover for it and turn it into a dear little vase...

well, the day arrived. it was in the post-grampians-cycle-trip-I-rode-into-the-wind-and-rain-for-three-days-now-I-can-sit-on-my-butt-for-the-next-three-and-crochet-guilt-free phase. and one jar became five, with perhaps some more to come.

I think they turned out rather well. I might even put together a tutorial.

also picked up around the same time were these cottons from the frankston market for my future jar-covering urges... (all this for $1.50!)

plus, some gorgeous hand-carved wood block stamps:

exciting times!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My creative space: on the bike

(taken on Tuesday near Gariwerd, The Grampians)

Sometimes bike touring is easy. The sun shines, the wind is at your back, your legs feel strong and you can't imagine being happier doing anything else. It is a time for ideas, for possibilities. You literally feel yourself unwind. It is very much a creative space. There are endless hours, just to think. No multi-tasking, except for turning those pedals and letting your mind wander (and trying to avoid those swooping magpies).

And then there are those other times.

When the wind and the rain are in your face, when your legs are telling you you're on a hill but it can't possibly be, it looks so flat. When you're still 30 or 40 (or 60) km from where you need to be and you've had enough, and you curse your pride from stopping you flagging down the next car.

It's a love-hate relationship.

(p.s. if you're in the Grampians area, I can highly recommend the Willaura Bakery)

As always, you can find more creative spaces over at Kirsty's

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cheeky Monkey

This little man is currently stuffed into an Australia Post tough bag and on his way to California to join the other Craft Hope sock monkeys going to the Little Heroes Preschool burn camp kids. I really didn't mean for him to look like a criminal - it just happened, I swear!

Actually, I stuffed up (as per usual) when trying to put the safety eyes in and made a big hole in the sock. Hence the felt patching and the replacement felt eyes. Then he was just crying out for the grey jumper. Here he is on the job:

I hope someone takes a liking to him!

My creative space

My creative space this week comes from RMIT Brunswick campus, the arts & design campus of RMIT university...

photos originally uploaded by RMIT university

No, I don't study here (or work here) but courtesy of my casual work at the city campus I can borrow from the library here. And there's nothing like a library full of design books to distract me from actually creating something myself...

Hey - it's called research. And I was MIA for about two hours the other night, in my sweaty bike clothes and with my cycling gloves still on, sitting on the floor sandwiched between the tall metal shelves. Heaven.

You can find more creative spaces over here.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My creative space

oooh, this is my first time playing...

this is the beret I started the other weekend, for all intents and purposes finished, but, I just noticed - looking a little short. As per usual, it is important to actually read the pattern and check that you have in fact knitted all the rows. Now, I'm afraid, after all those satisfying k2togs, seeing each row grow shorter and shorter and quicker and quicker to knit, I must pull them all out.

I think it's important to be philosophical about these things...

(in a related story, I went to the Writer's Festival on the weekend and saw Kate Grenville, who is incredibly intelligent and articulate and was a joy to listen to. She also readily admits to being obsessive, which I think, if you write 30 drafts of a novel is a label you must learn to live with. But the way she describes it is, because she knows she will write so many drafts, for the first 15 or so she can let things go off in any direction they please. It sounds quite liberating...

I do not deign to compare myself to Kate Grenville, but I think in life perhaps we can all be a bit perfectionistic, and determined to get things exactly right the first time. When perhaps the best bits appear only after we have given ourselves the permission to make mistakes)

I digress. Here goes:

(sorry - bad pics - I'm at the office...)
Now to pick up all those stitches!

(more creative spaces over here. More red things here)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thinking about: wedding-y things

C & I are getting married next April - which apparently, in wedding time, is not very far away. I have visions of making, making, making - but what exactly, and when, is still to reveal itself.

Invitation inspiration has come from Erin Jang, who is a graphic designer from NY and has made some beautiful invitations, like these:

(all photos by Erin Jang)

Aren't they divine? I especially like the bicycles, I think they will need to be incorporated in ours, somehow.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Why I want to live in the country...

Imagine being able to ride your bike in through here every day (well, maybe not every day, but whenever you feel like it).

I was in the Grampians for the weekend and managed a short training ride on Saturday morning. Even met a local out on the road who told me to watch out for deer. I asked him if they were a pest and he said, officially yes, but the tourists like them so much they don't do too much to manage them. Wonder if that's true?

I also made some time to start a baby hat:

and I almost got it finished before realising I missed 8 rows, and therefore it's looking oddly stunted. Will have to unpick and start again. Ugh!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Last night at Brown Owls we stuffed and sealed and labeled a few hundred pre-orders of the new Homemade recipe book. The book has been put together by some wonderful volunteers (and lots of volunteer helpers) to raise money for victims of the Black Saturday bushfires, with all proceeds going to the Salvation Army. You can buy a copy of the book here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 9, 2009


New graffiti just near my house - I have absolutely no idea what it means! Any ideas?
(oh, and that's my super-fast new road bike in the pic - just getting home after a training ride to Frankston. It's time to get off the couch!)

Molly #2

This Molly Monkey spent a few months looking like a zombie, but she finally got her eyes this week (why does it always take me so long to finish things?! It's only two tiny pieces of blue felt!). She's sitting on my new favourite chair I got from the second-hand furniture shop for $30.
Pattern is from mmmcrafts.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Maillot Jaune

The end of another Tour de France. Life goes back to normal for another 49 weeks...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lovely sunday pancakes

Roller door up, table out on the street - real maple syrup from Canada and funny stories about a man who puts Christmas lights in his beard (and keeps the battery pack in there too!). A lovely Sunday morning!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A week of special stuff: Wednesday

oops, I missed Tuesday! Was too busy hanging out at Brown Owls and meeting lovely people like Mel and trying to make some progress on Bec's scarf. I'd love to show you a photo but I don't have one and now it's night-time and the light is no good (this happens to me all the time - it's getting rather frustrating!)

It's been a bit of a challenge working out what the special stuff is - to be honest there's not many things I'm particularly attached to...

There's the techy things that were expensive and are quite nice to have, like the ipod, my cute Yamaha stereo and the new (gulp) LCD tv, which has been getting a work out every night with the Tour de France (and the 6pm highlights, and the 9:30pm replay of the highlights). But I wouldn't say these are 'special'.

Then there's the market and thrifted things that were a bargain and that I'm quite proud of finding, like the paintings that are piling up in the garage for the day I get a house of my own and can put up as many hooks as I want. But I probably wouldn't miss these if they disappeared.

And then there are the things I've created, or restored, or are a work in progress that I've put my sweat into - and I guess when it comes down to it, these are the 'things' that matter the most out of everything.

Even though it's in the garage (no space inside), I'm quite attached to my pine dining table, and even though it's too big and therefore not that practical, I would find it difficult to let go of. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I bought it when I was at uni and living in a share house, and when I left the house I sold it to my housemate. Then a year or so later she was moving and she was getting rid of it, so I bought it back and it's been with me ever since. It kind of feels like it belongs with me. I always wanted a table with the legs painted in a cream enamel paint and a raw top, so about a year ago I did just that:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A week of special stuff: Monday

Yikes! This is my very first time participating in a meme - Pip's "A week of...". The theme is 'Special Stuff around your house'. Immediately I thought of this...

This knee rug is one of my favourite things. My nan Audrey knitted the squares - they were amongst her things after she died. I'm not sure what she intended to use them for, but my guess is she was using up scraps of wool and perhaps wasn't yet sure herself.

I wanted to create something from them and so I laid them out and there were enough to make this small rug, so I crocheted them together. I'm not really into fancy edgings so the edge on this is a simple crab stitch (I did need a couple of tries though - the first time I didn't put enough stitches in the corners and it curled up too much, so I pulled it out and started again).

I like to see this rug as a connection between us. We were quite similar I think, and I still had so much to learn from her. She was an especially good knitter and an incredible gardener.

When we were younger Audrey lived in Torquay, one block from the beach. People would walk past her house every day with their dogs and many, many people would comment on her beautiful garden.

Here is a picture of us together (me in my deb ball dress, circa 1997!)

Beyond the granny...

(photos from "200 crochet blocks for blankets, throws and afghans", by Jan Eaton)

Current inspiration... what to do when there are just not enough hours in the day, and so many things to learn? I have a babette blanket in progress (see others on Flickr), but how easy is it to get distracted by other new, exciting projects?

For my babette I have been using Panda Magnum Soft, an 8 ply acrylic that is nice and soft but has a limited colour palette (I am still waiting for a navy blue and a yellow to be released). Also - I am not very organised and at one stage forgot which size hook I was using (it's a 5mm, recorded here now in case I forget again!). But it has been a nice project to pick up every now and then, even if it takes 5 years or more to finish.

Hmmm... that reminds me - I do have a history of not finishing things. When I was 11 my aunty was pregnant and I decided to make a cross-stitch tapestry for the new baby. Conor is now 16 and the cross stitch is about 2/3 of the way there!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Waste not, want not

I have been inspired by others' stories of yarn recycling and decided it was time to learn how to do it myself. A visit to the local Vinnies yielded a bulky maroon-coloured men's jumper ($7) - I had no idea whether this was the 'right' type of jumper to unravel, how the seams were sewn, or whether it was too old or felted, but I guess my philosophy is - jump in & have a go!

This tutorial by Lee Meredith was extremely helpful. I made a few mistakes trying to rip the seams, by accidently cutting through the main sections of yarn, but oh well - the result was that I ended up with about 8 various size balls of yarn rather than 4 or so larger balls.

After the unraveling I wound the balls around a couple of chairs to make skeins (must remember to take more photos!) and then soaked overnight. At the moment the skeins are outside drying - I think it would be better to have hung them over a rod, but sometimes you have to improvise!

(note the cans of chickpeas...)
I'm still not really sure how the yarn will turn out - the washing didn't seem to remove all of the kinks and it may actually be too felted to knit with (how to tell? - if I managed to unravel it does this mean it's ok?). And I'm actually not too fond of the colour(!), BUT, it has been an interesting process. A bit of work, but not really that hard, and so from now on I will certainly be keeping an eye out for good yarn I can salvage.

TwiceShearedSheep have obviously mastered the technique and have lots of recycled yarn for sale in their etsy shop... maybe one day I'll have my own etsy store(!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Look what I picked up at the op shop the other day...

$18 for the three. Cool, huh?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

knitting up a storm in a tea(pot)

For ages I have wanted to knit a tea cosy... I drooled over lots of vintage patterns on the internet and old paper patterns I've found in op shops and garage sales, but couldn't really understand any of them. I find that a lot with vintage patterns - there's always some part of them that is completely beyond me (I guess it's the way Craig feels when he watches me read a regular, easy knitting pattern, "What's all this, k1, p1?!").
(btw, Kristen Rengren has recently released a book called Vintage Baby Knits, where she has updated baby knitting patterns from the 1920's to the 1950's. It looks like a gorgeous book.)

SO - back to the tea cosy - I just chose a simple mistake rib pattern in bright red and went from there...
It was my friend Sarah's birthday and I knew she had a lovely navy blue teapot, which the red would match perfectly! It just needed something extra for the top. Some flowers, perhaps?

But they didn't quite look right - so I stuck with just the blue and the cream...

(Note: you'll see I forgot to leave a hole big enough for the little knobby thing on the teapot lid :-) oh well - you live and learn!)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Molly Monkey

A windy, rainy day (well, weekend actually) - perfect excuse for staying indoors and making mmmcrafts Molly Monkey. I'm already onto my second - will post her too when she's finished.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sister's Market

So many friendly crafty types at the Sister's Market on Saturday. I met the lovely Justine from Mixtape - the fab craft zine which is now in full colour glory. I also picked up some remnants from Belsize Square... I can feel some sewing coming on.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Easter Scarf

Big fat challenge accomplished - the scarf is finished - a few days before Easter, no less. What's next? I am hoping to get to the Yarn Barn this weekend - it's just near my house but I have never made it there - and I just realised it's open on Saturdays - hooray!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Guerilla crochet

I received this pic today in a forwarded email - no idea of the original source. It may actually be a commissioned installation rather than guerilla art, but immediately my mind started thinking of all the places around Melbourne that could do with some colour! The whole guerilla movement (knitting, gardening - what else?) seems to have momentum at the moment and it gets me thinking and smiling about society - how wonderful that we are not economic rationalist robots acting only to maximise our own self interest! For more guerilla knitting inspiration see the Flickr Guerilla Knitting pool.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Two little lambs

I made these cuties over the weekend - my introduction to softie-making. I quite like the way the towelling material looks on the brown one - she looks kinda woolly. The other one is made from a sort of ice-blue fine polarfleece material - very soft - with jungle print limbs. Pattern is from Bit of Whimsy dolls - I think I'll try and design my own next.
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