Monday, 28 May 2007

A rug is born

That's right, rug#1 for our charity Rugz4Kidz project has been born. It still has a lot of growing to do, but I'm sure with all the nurturing in the knitting group it will grow up beautiful and warm! My fingers are too sticky to knit tonight after covering our little notebook, but I've done my first bit, so that's okay. The rug will be meeting it's new foster mum (aka knitter!) Helena on Wednesday evening when we plan to have a knitter's supper to hand-over. I am really looking forward to the hand-over as I get to meet up with Helena, and munch on homemade apple pie while we mull over patterns and show off our projects.

It took just over 50gms wool to get the required 7cm. I did the majority in a parallelogram knit/purl pattern so I didn't get lost in so many stitches as I haven't worked with rows that long before, and then finished with a few garter stitch stripes to get the extra distance with some left over yarn. So the rug is officially on the way!

Saturday, 26 May 2007

More quilt fabrics

I am ITCHING to get started now! I just bought the colour for the pieced blocks but still need three more navy toned prints for the solid blocks and borders. Thanks again EMMA - you are such an inspiration. I just hope you don't mind the many questions I am sure to have along the way...

Friday, 25 May 2007

Scrap or Sew Night

After neglecting my sewing and scrapping until recently, I have decided to set aside one night a week where I do only that. I have chosen Fridays as I have the whole day off work so am not too tired to think, and have usually tidied up the house and got stuck into the washing the night before so figure I deserve to indulge in my hobbies and hopefully create something worthwile in the process.

Last Friday I scrapped, tonight I sewed. A boring nappy, but a much needed nappy at that. We use my homemade pocket nappies during the day time, and my homemade fitteds with my hand knitted covers for nights. But for naps Austy has 3 bubblebubs nappies that work better than pocket nappies for holding in the leaks but not as good as fitteds. Why not use fitteds? Well Mr Dad doesn't like stuffing around with nappy covers, and since he puts Austy to bed 80% of the time for his naps, the nappy has to be super easy, no mucking around, quick to put on and absorbent enough to handle 2-3hrs of serious napping. Bubblebubs fit the bill! (Disposables do to but I don't like the smell or the crystals that form on my precious boy's bottom after that much sleep in one). However recently they haven't been coping with the little fireman as well as they need to and I've had to wash his sheets and sleeping bag after every nap... Not so much fun and with the cool weather the sleeping bags aren't dry by evening so if both end up in the wash on the one day, we're in trouble.

The solution was to re-engineer the Bubblebubs nappy. Apparently that's quite legal for anyone that wants to rave on about how I'm putting WAHM's out of business (don't ask - I have heard lots of nastiness before for making my own nappies for personal use that look similar to bought ones). I made a few changes to improve on the fit (the way the leg elastic goes in, changing the shape slightly around the crotch and using bamboo fleece instead of hemp, and wider velcro). The tester will be put to work tomorrow, hopefully as he catches up for the nap he didn't have today. 3hrs and no leaks (I hope!). Check out the flannel - it's so darn cute - how could I resist?!

Austy turned 18m old today. My baby is now a little boy. So we went shopping for big boy shoes and then after a failed attempt at nap time, I took him to see his buddy James (19m) and I got to see my good friend Emma, play with her quilt design software and check out her inspiring quilts. Yep, Austy's big boy quilt is in the planning! Here's a sneak peak:

Now it's almost midnight so I must get to bed if I'm going to survive the energy that is Austin tomorrow. Night night.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Nautical colourway

I read somewhere that it was hard to get true reds when wool dyeing and while dyeing this, my heart was pounding while I chanted. "Please don't turn out pink, please don't turn out pink...". Obviously I had nothing to worry about. Of course if it came out pink, Elizabeth (Austy's 18m old cousin) wouldn't have minded as she would have surely had something made out of it. I have now overcome my personal challenge of making red wool. Quite boyish, don't you think?

I made the inky blue contrast too. Beautiful soft Treliske organic merino 8ply, now in colour!

And here's Austy in the tracksuit I made him. Not the best pic, but he won't stand still for a second! I wan't very imaginative - just followed the pattern and decided it had to have a matching pocket on the bum, so added that myself. I was going to put a quilting print (antique cars) on the pocket flaps, but got lazy and just wanted to finish it quickly... Good thing though, it's suddenly cool here and he has worn it many times already.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Some goodies.... :)

I have been a very lucky girl in the past 7 days, and received some wonderful parcels in the mail. First up it was a swap parcel from an EB sewing buddy, becci. I received a generous gift of 4 different pincushions, a wheat and lavender bag and some delicious chocoaltes. Thanks again becci.

Here is the pincushion I sent to Ingrid, along with a sewing keepall that I forgot to take photos of... The keepall is a fold up design that has pockets for a tape measure, scissors, dressmarkers chalk, unpicker and thimble (the small leather type that folds flat) as well as a little felt square attached for needles and safety pins (great for threading elastic through childrens' clothes). I also popped in a little box of chockies to spoil her for Mother's Day (as it was a Mother's Day swap) and a homemade card (again - photo forgotten! Note to self - next swap take photos of everything handmade!).

Then, my ISE4 scarf arrived! All the way from MA, USA. The lovely Linda sent it to me with some books for Austy, and some local treats for me. The scarf is wonderfully soft and blue (my favourite colour) and suits my casual jeans style of dressing perfectly. I love cables and this cabled scarf is so snuggly! Will be great when Winter really kicks in. I was thrilled with everything and tried to savour the chocholate as long as I could but once opened, I couldn't resist! I shared it with my friend who came over for a scrap night on Friday and we gobbled it all up. It was DELISH! I still have the caremel one but am scared to open it lest it dissappear as fast as the yummy dark chocolate with raspberry liquid centre.... drooooool!

And here's my ugly mug modelling it... (Austy is a much cuter model!)

I popped a fringe on the ISE4 scarf I made as the knitted edge just wasn't working. With the spare wool I decided to make a pair of fingerless mitts (fetching from knitty) but stil have one to go before I can send it off. I am hopeless with making two of anything but want to send it next weekend so must pull the needles out and cast on.

And I finished Austy's longies... well the knitting part, anyhow. I still want to embelish them with some starfish or seahorses. I'd love to do an octopus, but it could be difficult to design. Unfortunately I ran out of wool so didn't quite have enough to do the i-cord leg finishing that I wanted to try out. Oh well - the purple was a good match and doesn't look too out of place, plus it will allow the cuffs to be rolled up, which will be good when the next bub needs them as I can start using them when he/she is younger and get more wear out of them (no there is not another bun in the oven yet - we need a bigger house first but rest assured I will do everything in my power to play Mum to a newborn all over again sometime in the near future!)

I have also started a "For Me" project. It could take me forever as I'm not big on adult size projects but after I stuffed up and bought twice as much lamb's pride wool/mohair for Austy as I needed, I decided it was better to make a jumper for me instead, rather than have three balls sitting around unused after finishing his jumper. this was an online purchase, and after seeing it in real life I'm kind of glad I bought too much as I think it suits an adult projecta bit better. The colour is more like something I would wear and the mohair might be a little itchy on a toddler. I still have to by something for his chunky knit that has been waiting a while on my wishlist but thought I'd start mine to make a dent in my woolly stash. I don't usually buy yarn until I have a project for it so really don't have storage space for anything other than current projects. I am making a Jo Sharp raglan sweater from Knit3 but wanted something a little more interesting than a thousand rows of stocking stitch. So out came the knitting stitches book and I chose a couple of cables to go up the front. After one repeat though, I am not sure - maybe I should rip it back to the ribbing so I can space them out some more. What do you think? It's actually more green than the pic shows.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Looks like it's time to play tag...

So the tummy bug we've all had this week isn't the only thing on it's was around... I've been tagged... TWICE... by Corrie and Helen. So I figure I'd better get in quick and tag the next seven before there's noone left to tag.

Here goes - Seven (uninteresting) random facts about me:
  1. I have two holes in my knee after an encounter with a stud bull calf with a broken leg when I was doing work experience at a country vet when I was in yr9 (13 yrs old)
  2. I like my vitabritz soggified with boiling water before I add the milk.
  3. I met my husband by literally bumping into him as I raced my way through the maintenance department at BHP Whyalla - there were blokes wolf whistling and I was embarrassed so I wasn't watching where I was going...
  4. I was the only girl in my year at uni until I moved to Adelaide (then there were two others).
  5. When I was pregnant I had a dream where I was pushing my 2 yr old in a trolley... and he looked just like Austin does now!
  6. My banana cake used to win awards at country shows (when I was a teen and actually entered)
  7. I was an exchange student in Finland for 12m after I finished yr12 here in Aus.

There - time to tag seven more:

heki ruth becky-dee mama llama lolliegirl bec shelley

And I have been knitting (and still have to post pics of Austy's tracksuit I stitched up the other week) but with all the sickies going on here I haven't had a chance to take pics. Will probably update you on Wednesday when the most whingey sicky (DH) has gone back to work and leaves me in peace. (Feeling like a very bad wife writing that but after looking after Austy with gastro - quite traumatic watching your 1yr old so sick and upset - and having it myself I am SOOOO over it and haven't got time for his sookiness while I still had to change nappies whilst sick - it's now day 3 of a 24hr bug and he is still complaining...)

Sunday, 6 May 2007

Just in the knick of time!

I finished off Austy's mudpond hat last night, adding the tassels so it is ready for childcare on Monday. In the end I just went for a simple stocking stitch as I tried a few other things but they just didn't work with the slippery needles and yarn I was using. I had to pull it all undoine about 4-5 times and decided that simple would be better as time was short. So here it is. Now I need a hat for him for home as well and I really liked the cable pattern I tried to do, but with it all just slipping of the annoying metal dpns every 5 mins (there were no bamboo or bone needles in the 5mm size - argh!) I think if I am going to attempt that again, I need a small circumference circular. I love the hat though, and it's a shame I won't get to see it again this winter (childcare will keep it there). So we took it for a test drive today, and it stayed on - amazing! I told him it was his funny hat so he wanted to wear it and then he kept laughing at himself. I remember whgy I don't take many photos of him anymore - someone installed turbo rockets in his feet in the last month!!! He just won't stay still for a moment!!! But I caught him in his pram for a better shot of the hat (my little trick!). You can also see the pram liner and strap covers I made in this shot although they are in need of a wash after yesterday's vegemite breadstick episode. Please excuse the food smears...

The Mudpond Hat knitting pattern - the simplest, quickest toddler hat you'll ever make!

Cast on 83 stitches using 4mm dpn's or circular needle and 10ply wool

Join round and work in moss stitch for 10 rows

Change to 5mm needles and increase 1st in next row.

Knit until hat measures 16cm from cast on edge.

Divide stitches evenly on two needles placing start of round at one end of one of the needles (this will become like a side seam)

Cast off using three needle cast off method.

Darn in ends, make tassels and stitch on.

Wait for your model to wake up and admire!

Friday, 4 May 2007

And the big reveal... my hand dyed surprise!

Two little twinnies, currently known as Twin A and Twin B, will be going home from the hospital wearing..... these!

And here's a closer look:

Two newborn hats and bootie sets made from Patons Dreamtime Baby wool hand dyed with aeroplane jelly - my first ever hand dyes. The twins mum, Kellie, liked them so much that she packed them straight into the hospital bag as a part of the twins' going home outfits, so as you can probably tell, I am thrilled! Her older daughters loved them too and were trying to dress their "babies" with them. I did have a slight panic attack as Austy and I posted them on Saturday and I thought they'd be there by Wednesday at the latest, but perhaps the QLD posties are a little slower than they are here. They only arrived today. But phew, they got there safe and sound.

DH reminded me yesterday that Austy has no winter hat this year yet I have been making them for other babies - oops! Childcare put a note in the newsletter that if they don't have a warm hat at childcare by the end of April they will not be allowed outside to play. Woops - it's already May! Soooo... I had to drop everything (my second pair of longies that will hopefully be more leakproof this time - never again will I use superwash for nappy covers!) and last night got to dyeing again. Her'es what I came up with:

I am calling it the mudpond hat as it reminds me of muddy ponds and little boys collecting tadpoles in icecream buckets wearing gumboots covered in mud. It is a mixture of the richest chocolate brown I have ever seen (was so hard to get the brown just right as it looks so different in water form than it looks on the wool - was almost a gross kahki in the pot which had me worried), with bright green shades and turquoise blues. Very boyish and is knitting up beautifully. Surprisingly it's a Spotlight Basics wool (I am a bit of a yarn snob and haven't liked many of the yarns at Spotlight until now). This wool is called Dashing - a 100% wool and I am guessing it's superwash because it is so silky soft and also machine washable. No good for soakers, but PERFECT for a soft snuggly winter hat. I am making it up as I go along as I couldn't find the right pattern for a 10ply (go figure - I am mostly trying to find 8ply patterns and all I can find is 10ply and 12ply ones from the US or UK). I am thinking I might use a slip stitch pattern to show off the colours and when I'm finished, the pattern will be made available here.

And for those who want to see how the longies are coming along, I have a close-up of the colourway - it's the wool I dyed at Easter - a WA merino that is minimally processed sourced from Angelblossom.

I am thinking about embellishing them with a purple octopus on the bum for an undersea theme. There are more blues in the mix than purple, so the octopus should stand out. I will probably have to design my own though which could be a challenge... we'll see!

On the sewing desk at the moment is a pale blue toddler tracksuit with a pocket on the front. The top is finished, but the pants still need stitching - hopefully I'll have them finished soon though so I can post them here.

I also joined another exchange - the International Tote Exchange IV. I have never made a bag before let alone felted anything (okay, okay, EXCEPT for the soaker that accidentally landed in the washing machine... I mean I haven't INTENTIONALLY felted!). This will be interesting and yet another new challenge. Can't wait!