Thursday, 21 January 2010

Baby shoes

I was so thrilled with these last night when I finished them - I was so tired yet I pushed myself to get to the sewing desk and make them anyway. I asked Andrew to try them on her this morning as she was asleep when I left for work, and he told me they didn't fit, that they were too small. I had been all geared up to make a matching outfit, when he gave me the sad news.

I got home and found them grubby from the nanny finding them left out on the bench and using them in the backyard (I was planning on keeping them brand new until I had the complte outfit and then using them when I went out somewhere with her, not for the backyard!). They actually do fit, quite nicely in fact, but I soaked them now to get the dirt off and the brown suede has run into the fabric. So they were pretty much ruined before I got to even try them on her (sob).

So no fancy photo of a finished object I was thrilled with, just a soggy shot of a project that makes me feel a bit blurgh now to look at them. I was planning all sorts of shoes and outfit sets but for now, I've lost my motivation.

****ETA**** I took another look at them and after they dried (photos above had them still soggy and wet) they were REVOLTING!

I remembered that this is my year for trying to become more positive, so I picked my chin up off the floor and got to work. Problem solved:

SURFACE SPOT CLEAN ONLY!!!! (Anyone know where I can get some NATURAL/UNDYED suede? This brown stuff was a freebie which does the trick, but you can't get it wet)

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sunday Snapshot #2

I finally made a decision on the "pastel princess" colourway. While it would look sweet on Maddy, I didn't like the yarn carrying look on the front button band (shown here) and because the skeins were so different I had to alternate skeins.

So I ripped and reskeined:

Overdyed and hung out to dry (excuse the yard work going on in the background - we will have a new lawned play area there soon):

Still drying, this is what it looks like now:

No sewing this week, just getting back into the swing of things as I returned to work and celebrated a birthday on Wednesday, went out Thursday night and needed to wind down with some knitting on Friday. Madelyn's little tulip top is coming along nicely - the back is all done, and it's going to look very sweet I think.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Baby knit give away #1

As I have been a knitter long before I had kids, and always knit baby things for the instant gratification, there are quite a few things in my cupboard that never got worn since my babies were both too big and born in the middle of a hot Adelaide summer. Since there are no more babies planned for us, it's time to let these go. I was saving them for baby gifts when friends had babies but every time I give a hand knit as a baby gift I just don't feel it gets appreciated, or the person gets a million hand knit things from grandparents and older relatives I feel they just get tossed aside and added to the pile.

So I have decided to give them away here instead, scattered throughout the year. First up is this little cotton jumper and matching socks in lavender and blue, both 0-3m. Knitted about 5yrs ago but stored carefully and never worn. To win just leave a comment here explaining why you'd love a handknit for your baby (or friend/relative's baby). Winner to be announced on the last day of the month.

Snuggle bubbies!

Last night I was a little too hot and bothered to deal with the lace on Madelyn's little tulip top so pulled out the little Lutin doll I was working on back in November. It was made within a few nights when I started it but was thrown in the WIP pile when I was so tired with work and no sleep, just needing a hat. So I made the hat and finished him off.

Technically this project is not complete as I want to make a set of three "snuggle bubbies" - one for the car, one for the pram and one for the cot. He was pretty quick to make had I not stopped and shoved him in a bag for a couple of months... but I'm not too good at making the second sock to a pair, let alone three things the same. A great little project for in between bigger things.
It's also time to confess... I broke my own rules and started something new - something simple for when I'm not in the headspace for lace. This is supposed to be a little top for Madelyn for the Autumn/Winter but I'm not sure on the colourway now it's knitted up. I'm wondering if I should unpull it and overdye it as a semisolid green or purple - something a little brighter. Hmm.... It's a difficult one because once I do it there is no turning back. What do you think... keep or rip?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sunday Snapshot #1

I had to intterrupt my January sewing schedule to increase the nappy stash with some more basic pocket nappies. I used only these nappies for Austy until he was around 6m old and needed a night nappy, but for Maddy pocket nappies just didn't handle going through her three hour newborn naps and I got into liking fitteds with covers, with the odd AIO to make things easier for her Daddy. With the warm weather upon us, the AIOs are a bit too warm I think with all that minky and fleece, and we've had a few incidents with the nanny not putting a cover on over fitteds. We have decided it's best to put the fitted nappies away in a different spot so as not to confuse the poor girl, but that meant I needed more "easy" nappies to take their place. I just love it when I snap the last snap and stack them all up - nothing like a fresh stack of soft brand new nappies!

I did get a start on my January knitting project though - the little tulip tee is coming along nicely although a little slow as my head doesn't seem to be in the right place for lace knitting at the moment (too much relaxing in the pool!) even for this simple but pretty pattern. I hate knitting backwards so I only do it when the house is quiet and I can concentrate. Love the feel of the cotton though.

Cutting out those nappies made me want to do more with pastels, so out came this soft squishy Pear Tree Merino (undyed Pandora from Jolly Jumbuck) and the dye pots. I love the skeined one, the balled one ended up with more green than the other colours so I will have to alternate balls as I knit. This stuff is destined for a pretty top for Madelyn in a size 2 so that it will still fit when the weather cools off.

While I am showing you my dyeing attempts, I thought I'd also add a close up of the two skeins I sent as part of the favourite colour swap Don't know why the photos are so huge but there you have it. They are both more red than the pictures show too. Red has a habit of looking pink in photos.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Milo's new ride

Our breeder sent us a few more photos of our new kitten on New Years Day and asked for his microchip details. It's starting to get exciting as he should be living with us by the end of the month. The exact date we are not sure on - she told us he would have to be 12w old but that would put it into February but she said mid-January so really it could be time to pick him up really soon!

SO Austy and I went out and bought a new cat carrier today. Our old one had been in use for over 10 years, had been weakened in the sun and cracked across the top. In addition it was huge (as I used to use it on a weekly basis to take two cats to shows) and Gryffin hated floating around in it. I figured Milo won't get much bigger than our Gryffin was so it was best to buy him a new smaller one to keep him feeling safe and secure. While at the pet shop Austin picked out this wibbly wobbly toy for him (nice that the colour matched!) and while I was paying, the man that worked there took him to go and choose a ball for free.

When we got home, Austy was having some quiet time and I put Maddy to bed for a much needed sleep after her 12m immunisations (which she acyually SMILED about as the needle went in rather than cried!) and I decided to pull this baby blanket out of the WIP pile. When I started knitting it, I was just using up scraps and making a pram blanket but decided it was too scratchy for a real baby (Bendigo Classic) and did it the perfect size for Gryffin's old basket, to spruce it up a little for the new kitten. It has sat in the WIP pile for over 2m, just needing the ends darned in, so I decided to get to it, and pop it in the cat box ready for Milo's home coming. Be warned, when we get him, I hope to get some MUCH cuter photos than the ones we have been sent and will DEFINITELY be blogging them! So if you hate cats, look away now LOL.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Milk & Cookies baby quilt

It's a finish! TWO in fact! So now I can start my 2010 completed list.

"Milk & Cookies" is finally completed and ready to post off to it's new owner today (along with our late Christmas card which was waiting to be sent with the quilt...). This quilt used up a lot of the scraps from Madelyn's (yet to be quilted) quilt with the blues instead of the deep reds I used for hers, and I was picky with the fabrics not to include any florals.

I love the colour combo - it was quite soothing to create. I wanted to get it finished quickly (even though it didn't happen as fast as I would have liked due to very few pockets of time over busy December!) so decided to just quilt straight across the quilt. I was going tgo do a diamond pattern but once these lines were done I decided this was enough, as quilting in the other direction would make it too stiff. My quilting lines are 30mm apart - next time I will try for at least 50mm (2") to create a diamond pattern. Hopefully it doesn't look like I forgot the other lines! They are a tad wonky, just as everything is about this quilt, but being a wonky log cabin quilt I think I can get away with it ;)

Even the pieced backing is slightly wonky! I loved this fabric although it's hard to see here. It is a beige/cream with white toys sitting on shelves which is just perfect for a baby quilt. The name was done in soft pinwale cord (the tiny leftover pieces from Madelyn's oilily pinafore from last year) and appliqued with a varigated blue cotton thread using my machine's buttonhole stitch. I quilted aropund each letter which makes them pop up a bit and they add a bit of texture for him to feel as he has tummy time on the quilt.

The same pinwale cord was used to create the matching giraffe friend. His eyes and ears are embroidered by hand - he would have had button eyes but I decided to leave them off for safety reasons. I love his notted ear horns and tail - Jake will probably love them too - especially good for soggifying when he is teething!


Before I sign off for the day, I think it's about time I add my January list (can you believe we are almost a whole week in already?!). To keep things realistic, I am going to list just one thing in each craft to work on. If I get a finish that's a bonus, but the promise I am making to myself is to make some significant progress on each project even if I don't finish (trying to see how long I can keep the pressure off myself!). I will try to work on just these projects and not start something new unless a) the listed project for a particular craft is complete or b) a new month begins when I can list another three projects (or continue on one of these). The only out I get is to finish off an old WIP if the current projects list isn't inspiring me on a given day. Each Sunday I will try to give a progress update on the listed projects (pinching Milly's idea of Snapshot Sunday!). Hopefully this will keep me from having 100 projects on the go and not finishing a single one!

Janurary is a very much Madelyn focussed month - she is growing so quickly and if I don 't hurry up she will outgrow many of the patterns I have collected over the years for baby girls, and since we aren't planning anymore babies, that would be a sad thing for me if I don't get to make up at least a few of my favourites.

Knitting: Madelyn's little lace top from my favourite knitting pattern book that I haven't managed to make much from (and she's outgrown all but a few of the patterns already!)

Sewing: This dress for Madelyn that has been an unopened pattern now for a whole year! If I finish this before the end of the month, she desperately needs new soft shoes (I have suede for non slip bottoms - an essential since she TOOK TWO STEPS TODAY!) or some headbands (now that she is finally showing a bit of blonde fluff on her head!)

Quilting: My aim for January was to get Milk & Cookies done and sent. It weent in the post today so I am free to pick something else. I think I'll go with Madelyn's quilt. She's not using blankets and sheets any more due to the quest for more sleep and the wonder of the baby sleeping bag ;) but I would like to get this one finished so it can go in her room at least and then it will be ready for her when she's ready to give up the sleeping bags again.

I'd also like to sign up for Chaletgirl's "One Per Month Challenge". I did something like this last year and managed to average about a project complete per week, despite not getting much sleep, so figured I'd go for it again. My version not only includes craft books but also paper patterns I have had for ages (like the Simplicity one above).

I'll leave you with this picture of Madelyn - the finger in the mouth and the drool says it all. Yes that's right, those pesky molars are trying to cut. Still it didn't stop her wanting to play Little People with her big brother. Love it when they play together.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Ravelry favourite colour swap photos

As mentioned in my first post for the year, I participated in the Ravelry favourite colour swap just before Christmas. Of course I chose aqua, and here is what I received, all the way from Finland.
  • 3 skeins of aqua bamboo yarn *(4 or 5ply)
  • 1 skein of wool (think it's an 8ply)
  • Aqua fiskars general purpose scissors
  • Packet of chewing gum
  • Muumin phone charm (Muumi is a Finnish cartoon character and whilst I was in Finland when I was 17 I knitted him into a cotton jumper for a baby friend in our family).
  • Little birch key charm
  • Wooden Chistmas decoration (in Finland these types of decorations are hung in windows so the sun goes through them)
  • 3 postcards and a Finnish magazine (but I can hardly remember much Finnish these days from lack of use!)

Thanks Katu!

Here's what I sent - I forgot to get a picture before it left here so Kait has done it for me. I made the plastic covered zip pouch (fully lined too) and dyed the yarn myself. The top one is a machine washable 4ply I called "Rusty Red Gate" and the bottom one a reddish pink semisolid 5ply bamboo/silk/wool, both originally undyed yarns from Jolly Jumbuck. I used thre different shades on the 4ply and dyed this first, then selected the bright red to do the 5ply but because it isn't 100% wool it didn't take the colour as deeply and is more pink than red (more red than shown here, but not quite red). I nearly kept it thinking it wasn't red enough since I was supposed to send RED, and added it to my list of things top knit up for Maddy (was thinking a Debbie Bliss vest as the yarn is the perfect sub for baby cashmerino). But My stash and list is big enough so I figured Kait could find a use for it even though it's technically not red. I also included the little kimono doll that jumped out at me one day when I was keeping my eyes open for red things, and the cute little Christmas decoration because it has a knitted hat and dress. Hopefully the cherry ripe didn't get too melted on the way!

Monday, 4 January 2010

New Years Resolutions

This year is all about trying to be more "guilt free". I have spent far too much time beating myself up over what I should have, could have would have done, and the mountain of things I'd like to have made but never get around to. So most of all I aim to let my creativity become fun again, rather than just another thing I need to get to along with the dishes, the washing, the floors... You get the picture.

I spend a lot of my time with my kids. They will always be top priority for me and come above anything quilty, stitchy, knitty, cooky. Everything I make is generally for them. I can't really sew or knit when they are awake, especially now that Madelyn is starting to turn into a little tornado around the house just like her big brother, and with working three full days a week, meals to cook and a house to keep reasonable the reality is there is not a lot of time left in the day. Once I get Austin into bed anywhere between 7:30 and 8, then Maddy into bed somewhere between 8:30 and 9:30 (depending how long she takes to feed and how long her protest screams last while I pat, shush and sing to her and convince her that laying her head down would be a fantastic idea!) and then tidy up the dishes, wipe down the table and bench, pack up the toys for the next day and the obligatory load of washing or two I am generally buggered. Sometimes I will then hit the sewing machine and go for it while the time is ripe, or put teh TV on and curl up on the couch with some knitting needles. Those nights I feel good - I get to relax AND be productive. But other nights there is simply nothing left of me and I might browse the net for a bit and then hit the hay, especially with an early start at work the next day. Those days I feel guilty. Like I have achieved nothing and haven't had a chance to wind down properly. So this has got to stop. There is nothing to feel guilty for if the kids are happy, fed and fast asleep by bed time, and the house is in a reasonable order so we all stay healthy. The kids will only be little for a little while and there will be plenty more time as they become more independent, less likely to tangle my yarn and less insistant on sitting on my lap while I sew.

SO time for those resolutions:
1. Make a SMALL list of things I'd LIKE to make for each month. I need to start keeping a written list so it doesn't end up longer than my arm when it sits unseen in my memory bank. Keeping it visible should hopefully also keep it realistic.

2. Stop feeling guilty for non-productive relaxation (the new Wii and Wii Fit should help that as can set aside at least one night a week to just play with that and know that I don't have to be making something in order to have me time).

3. Try to complete 6 WIP or long term planned (and therefore fabric/yarn already in stash waiting) projects this year.

4. Make something for me.

So there you have it. I'm being a bit more selfish this year but I think I need to. I need to smile a bit more and let some weight off my shoulders, not expect too much of myself and enjoy life a little more. I need to start feeling proud of the achievenments I do make, and guilty for the pile of things I expected to get to but didn't.

Righto, off to do some yoga on the Wii before I stitch down a little bit of quilt binding.