Monday, December 06, 2010

At my house

The frogs are flourishing in our garden, each night their chorus of chirps reminds me that we are doing good in our garden. It is a good place for the native wildlife, despite the rainbow girl's despair at the lack of roses.

The big reds are showing off big time

The native limes are looking profusely promising.

And the little Milo boy is playing trains yet again. today the train has passengers, he climbed atop my sewing desk to steal my Addi needle tip protectors.

I did some last minute sewing for Lily's school orientation day tomorrow. Apparently Gwyneth needed a school dress to wear to the Teddy Bear picnic.

And I wore my new red shoes for the first time.

What's happening at your gaff?

Play along over at Lou lou's

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Sunday, December 05, 2010

just in time for Summer

a couple of posts back I mentioned the acacia pattern and its release. I also mentioned it was part of an e-book which included two other patterns.

Today I am ever so happy that I have finished and added the final pattern to the Spring Wildflowers e-book!! Yippeee!!!

So now along with the acacia the two other patterns in there are:

baby acacia

This is the baby version of the acacia singlet written for 4ply/fingering weight yarns.  It comes in sizes newborn to 24 months and is just as deliciously cute and simple to knit as the 8ply version. If you're lucky enough to have a child that fits in the 19 - 21 inch chest range, this means that you can choose to knit acacia in either 4ply for super summery coolness or an 8ply.  I've done both for my Lily.  It is equally cool and summery in either wool or cotton.

Again, it has two options for the body; the plain stocking stitch and the fully gathered option. There are also the two hem options. You can see a photo of the i-cord hemline on the orange acacia a bit further down.

The photo below shows the small and big end of the range, the orange one is the 3 month size knit in Shepherd Baby Wool 4ply. The mint one is the 24 month size (actually knit to a 5 year length but artfully concealed for the photo ;) ) knit in Bendigo Woollen Mills cotton 4ply in the very popular honeydew colourway.  Mmm, my testers for this e-book loved this colourway. There are quite a few versions in it!


This pattern also has two options for knitting. Yes, I do like my options!

Firstly, there is the babydoll version:

which is sort of longer tunic length. On toddlers, it does tend to finish at short dress length, those nappy bums and all that.  I love how the ribbon just finishes off the empire waist bodice!!

There's also the dress option:

A high-waisted a-line style dress.

This is currently the favourite knitted item in Lily's wardrobe. She loves it!

I love the ruffled hem that finishes off both styles.

I am so glad to finally have this pattern finished and out there. It has been a long long time coming!
As always, thanks to all the wonderful wonderful ladies who helped out with the testing of these patterns.  They all produced such gorgeous finished garments and were a delight to work with!

the purchasing options:

The patterns come in pdf format. When you purchase a download link is emailed to you immediately. If you're on Ravelry, the pattern will also add to your library.

They're all colour coded for sizes and are written in a clear and concise manner. These patterns are easy to follow,  and result in a quick knit.

The buynow option takes you to a paypal checkout, which is also compatible with credit cards.
If you wish to purchase by direct deposit you will need to have an Australian bank account, or the ability to deposit into one.  You can email me on and I can arrange a direct deposit for you.

Each pattern is $6 individually, or $10 for all three! Bargain!

baby acacia $6

darwinia $6

Spring Wildflowers $10 for the three patterns.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

and so it begins...

I think I have had too much going on in my life these last few months, so much so that I have officially declared myself on holidays. No matter how desperate a new design playing in my head wants to be knit, it's not getting out. It can be sketched but December is crazy enough as it is without committing myself to new designs or test knits. I still have the finishing touches to put on Darwinia.  So new pattern ideas, listen up! Stay put for just a while longer, please. I'll let you out after the festive season is over. Please play nicely for me.

December is for Christmas crafting. I'm trying ever so hard to create quite a few of my Christmas presents this year. I have a list of what I want to achieve, I'd love to make something for everyone on my Christmas list, but you know, I have a big big big family, and that ain't going to happen.  So far I have two pressies done; one knit, one sewn. Two from two days, so going well and tonight I've started knitting the third in some gorgeous Sublime Soya Cotton dk.

I've been on a challenge this year to buy no clothes at all; neither new or secondhand. Yes, it has been hard at times, but we're nearly there. Usually, the kiddies have new clothes in their Santa sacks, so this year I'm going to have to make them some. My plans are for some dresses and skirts for Lily, some shorts and appliqued t-shirts for Toby (he has a few plain fair trade organic ones in his wardrobe he hasn't worn much as they're so plain that could do with some jazzying up).  They may even score some new knits.  Keeping this secret from Lily is the hard part, Toby is totally oblivious to it all, but Lily doesn't miss a thing.  She noticed the empty package in my sewing room with the belle and boo tape on it. She noticed the red riding hood fabric next to the machine. She noticed me sewing with my organic denim today, so ducked off to put on a pair of her old shorts, as if to say, "yep, I do wear them, Mum! Make me some more!"

Man, she even noticed the subliminal advertising Safeway snuck into their Christmas colouring competition (I love that she coloured Santa's beard brown because white doesn't show on white and Toby artfully snipped around the outside of his picture). By the way, never try to have a discussion about the negatives of colouring in and colouring competitions with a Check Out Operator... let's not go there ;)

Unfortunately, I can't show you photos here of the Christmas pressies, as while the recipients don't read this blog (well, they can't actually read you know) Mums do.  I could ask those mums to look away, but you know, I know them well enough to know that they won't.  They're curious types, a bit like me really. Funny that, being sisters and all.

Are you planning many handmade Christmas pressies?
What are you planning on creating?

ok, off to Christmas knit, the photos I'm leaving you with today are of my new acacia pattern knit in wool (WOOLganics of course, Lotus colourway). While the pattern is designed for cotton is does work beautifully in wool as well.  This will make a great vest for most seasons of the year, it looks awesome under a tshirt.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Somehow it seems to have slipped my mind to actually mention that the acacia pattern has been released.

That fact pretty much typifies the crazy-hectic-madness-cloud that seems to be hovering over our house at the moment. Tonight I made the decision to stay home from my knitting group to spend some time with DK (Incredible, I know!). We seem to have been doing that ships-that-pass-in-the-night thing of late, and I was struggling to remember a time we spent a quiet evening together.  Don't even get me started on when we spent a quiet weekend together... that is a very distant memory at the moment.  I'm sure most people know what this is like, it comes with the territory of the lead up to Christmas but for some reason this year seems even more crazy!  So together we went grocery shopping, and then together we cooked a lamb roast chock full of loads and loads of vegetables. Just the way we like it.

anyway back to the pattern,

so yes, acacia was released....oh!... almost a fortnight ago *gulp*
I could have sworn it was a week tops....

Acacia is the third pattern in the Australian Wildflower series of patterns, all interlinked by the gathering.

It is also the first pattern from the e-book Spring Wildflowers; this little e-book will contain three patterns; the acacia, the baby acacia (4ply version for newborn to 24 months) and darwinia (dress and baby doll).

acacia is knit in an 8ply/dk weight cotton and features two petals, or versions.
It is sized from 12 months to 10 years.

Petal one

a gathered bodice finished with a cute little ribbon.

Petal two

a fully gathered singlet. A slightly looser fit.

I love this pattern, and when I look back on its development I can't believe it's actually taken me so long to get this pattern to the finished stage!!  Check out how long ago I actually knit the first prototype of this.  yep, that's right, that long ago!!! And no, I don't believe in rushing things, truly.

So acacia is available for sale right now;
you can purchase it individually for $6 or as part of the Spring Wildflowers e-book for $10. If you purchase the e-book the other two patterns will automatically be added to your library, or emailed to you, upon release (which should be in the next few days...all going well)

As usual, patterns are in pdf form, all sizes are colour coded and are written in the usual concise clear manner. Pattern support also comes with the pattern if required. 

Both singlets are knit top-down and are completely seamless. They are incredibly quick knits, deceptively simple but give a gorgeous results. I'm loving these and am hoping to whip up a few for my nieces for Christmas, time permitting! These really are the perfect Spring and Summer garment, they look great with shorts, skirts and jeans; as a singlet or over a t-shirt. I've knit one in a dk weight wool as well and it makes a gorgeous vest (which I must get some photos of tomorrow).

So if you'd like to purchase you can do so via Ravelry or by clicking these little buttons here:

Acacia $6

Spring Wildflowers $10

Happy knitting!
I'm off to finish off a buttery yellow darwinia :)

Monday, November 22, 2010

At my house

At my house the little milo boy and I have new shoes.

A visit to one of LYSs yesterday with a friend yielded some new shoes, as expected. I had my eye on these spotty ones from my last visit but when I spied the perfect green in the little boat shoes, it was love!

Both shoes come from Walnut Melbourne. Awesome little shoes at a hard to beat price.

Mine actually came from the kiddie section; the joys of little feet!

At my house..

the glorious weather has arrived, typically the day after our friend from the warmer climes left. It was a perfect 27 degrees here today. I love the peace that seems to surround our house on these days. Our neighborhood seems so peaceful, calm and quiet today; so at odds with the craziness that hits each weekend in our seaside town.

At my house we've enjoyed some indoor painting today. Lily is currently making paint butterflies. Toby experimented with the paint stamps.

I learnt not to leave a two year old to eat his yoghurt in the same room as he has been painting... I was pretty sure I hadn't served up strawberry yoghurt. hmmm....

Today at my house...

I was totally torn between sewing and knitting this afternoon.

Instead, I chose to play trains with Toby.

This is one of those games that in our house, both adults clamor to be the playmate for. I love train sets, and together Toby and I wiped up an awesome track.

What's happening AT your house today?

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Revised Clue schedule

So it's the weekend again, and once again I'm doing the sole mummy thing while DK is off trampsing around with diving and the like. He'll be flapping around in these big flippers of his.

anyhow, the revised scehdule for the clue release for the Mystery KAL will be something like this (remember I'm not totally into hard and fast:

Clue 4: Tuesday November 23rd
Clue 5: Monday November 29th
Clue 6: Monday December 6th

so there you go, don't forget if you're playing along with the KAL the serious nitter natter and all that chatter is going down over on my Ravelry group.

Seriously, if you're a knitter and you haven't joined Ravelry you really are missing out on a wealth of information, assistance, friendship and enablement.

Just so you know, there is an error that go transferred from step two in the instructions accompanying the cable chart at the front of the pattern. It is inconsistent with the chart and instructions within the pattern, so if you've started with either of those, continue with those.

hmm, I think I need some new shoes this morning....
Did you know one of my LYS sells both yarn AND shoes? oh and elk brooches.
It's terribly terribly evil

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

and we have a two year old..

In a strange twist of fate, or even synchronicity on the morning of November 12th I found myself in a similar situation to what I was two years ago exactly; immersed in water.  

The difference; two years ago, I was relaxing away in a very very deep birthpool bathed in glorious dim light listening to my relaxing birthing music. Doting husband attending to my every need and whim. 

Last Friday, I was knee to waist deep in chlorinated heated water doing the one step behind the toddler in the swimming pool thing. Fearless, he is.  Last week he decided he was going to tackle the waterslide, I've always kept him away from it. Soon he was going down head first giggling away. This week he watched an older boy run and dive down it. ahum, yep... so he tried that too.  
A true water baby.

I'm not sure whether you'll believe it or not, but the first scenario was far more relaxing and possibly less exhausting!  Seriously!  

And so it really and truly is two years, since our surprisingly large little bundle of boy became a part of our little family.

Oh how, I so dearly dearly love him. 
How much he makes me laugh and smile and melt at least a million times a day. 
He is so polite and cheeky and devilishly delightful all at the same time.

Today he kept insisting, "Mummy rest!"
Which of course, is near on impossible with his mischief making.

He interrupts his sister's games to steal something from her and runs off giggling away, 
as the great chase begins.
He lies down flat on the floor, as if to hide, 
if he thinks he is in trouble.
He helps himself to whatever he thinks he wants or needs.
He likes to tackle the vacuuming and sweeping, 
or try to get in or jump on the bed when I'm making it.

He giggles, he grins, he gabbles ... incessantly.
He takes the piss out of his father, 
blames him for his farts!
He tells the best knock knock jokes... well, for his age.

He gives the best "cuggles" and "kiss".  
He is gloriously snuggly to sleep with.

He is crazily active and on-the-go, a mini-adventurer Andy in such a little body.
He loves to jump off everything, run, climb; 
you know, all those typical boy things.

He is a sweet tooth, loves his "cock-cock" (chocolate) 
and sometimes asks for it at breakfast time 
(I do say no).
He loves sushi, bananas, sultanas and honey toast.

He loves a bit of bling.
He loves to dress up ...
 in his sister's skirts and pretty dress-ups.
He loves her dolls.
He absolutely dotes on and worships her though.

He's still my little baby though.

He doesn't sleep much.. despite these photos.
He's a bit of a techno nerd... loves to push all the buttons and try and get things to go.
 loves Peter (the computer), the iPad and the iPhone, 
wanted his own iPad for his birthday. 
(He got a trike, a dumptruck and some lego instead)

He is crazily obsessed with penguins, all of whom are called "Happy Shit" (Happy Feet) 
And he's totally fascinated by "The Gruffalo".
He also loves his toy Tassie Devil who is called Puppy and Emo the Emu.

Gosh, how much he's grown in those two years. 
What a wonderful wonderful two years it has been.

my gorgeous little Toby Milo.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

a bit under the weather

Just dropping in quickly to let you know I'm feeling a bit crapola and am currently curled up in bed.

I'll be back with the next clue when I'm up on my feet again.


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Monday, November 08, 2010

the long tailed cast on

I just wanted to muse a little today about the long tail cast on, as a few participants in the MKAL have expressed concern about the cast on.

When executed correctly a long-tail cast on should be a stretchy cast on. I've never really considered before now, that some people's LTCO may not be as stretchy as it should.

So here's a couple of photos to highlight how stretchy it should be:

This is the neckline for the smallest sizing at rest, this has been worn and tried on so has stretched a little bit laterally.

Same neckline, stretched out not quite to its widest capacity. See all that stretch there? There's at least a good 5 inches laterally and 10 inches overall.

In testing I tried it on over both my almost 24 month old, who has a bigger than average head for his age,

and myself. There was even a bit of room over my noggin. I've got a 56cm head.

I even tried it on over DK's head, it fit over his head but was a bit tight on his nose hehehehe Obviously not so pretty :P

Anyway, if your LTCO is not as stretchy as mine and you do have issues with the fit, here are a couple of things to try:

1. When you're working your cast on, make sure the stitch you create is not too tight or snug on the needle. Remember the aim is to create a stretchy stitch so you don't want it to be too tight. There does need to be a bit of give and leeway between each stitch.

2. Resist the urge to tighten each stitch to make the stitches more uniform in size. The main issue for many people seems to be with the last movement in creating each stitch. The tension you create with your thumb and the up and over should be just enough, it doesn't need anymore applied. DO NOT tighten the stitch after this movement.

3. If you're still not getting the required stretch, try casting on over two needles. This should force you to cast on more loosely.

For some more advice on achieving the ultimate LTCO see the Techknitter's blog post here. She really is the Knitting Sage, when it comes to all things technical!!!

Go on, try it on over your head too. I know you want to!

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Friday, November 05, 2010

Friday favourites

Right now I'm hanging out with my favourite little boy buddy while he plays with his favourite trains (my little party animal). I'm sipping my favourite wine watching my favourite genre on TV; Friday night British crime on ABC. Ok, maybe it's my second favourite genre after British comedy (Remember I'm a 'Withnail and I' fan!) but I do so like Friday night viewing.. oh and Saturday night now 'Spooks' is back!!! Love that show!!!!!!!!!  

A few posts ago I mentioned I was finishing, finishing off a couple of long-standing WIPs that were a bit more long-standing than they should be thanks to knitting dangerously.  They're both finished YAY!!! And I think I even managed to finish the required housework, which in itself is a little bit of a miracle.  (When can I justify a cleaner? And where will I find one who will only clean with vinegar and bi-carb? [herbal vinegars acceptable])

I mention this because the darwinia dress, the purple cotton one; Lily tells me is her favourite dress. It's the best thing I've ever made her!!! Such high praise that she wore it to kindy, not once but twice this week!!! And she only goes three days in the week!!!  I so love it when you get feedback like that!

Oh yes, it is possibly one of my favourites too!
And I love how it works both without a t-shirt and with one.

This dress was the first image that I envisaged in the Wildflowers collection; it was the ORIGINAL Olearia. But somehow it got relegated ( read it had to be frogged and reworked and so got thrown to the sin bin) while Olearia, Cassia and Acacia got worked out.

It still needs a bit of tinkering, which should be all fixed with the testing process. Gosh, I have a wonderful bunch of testers!!!

And tonight another one of my favourite things, the Mystery KAL had another clue added.  *eep*
I think I'm even more nervous and well prepared for the handholding some knitters will need through this step.

And remember, no photos until the next step goes up... speaking of clues, here's the calendar for the rest of the steps.

Step one:  Tuesday November 2nd
Step two:  Friday November 5th
Step three: Saturday November 13th (the 12th is Toby's 2nd birthday, so no clue that day)
Step four: Friday November 19th
Step five: Friday November 26th (no clue for Fratello)
Step six:  Friday December 3rd

ok, get knitting!!
then I can post some pics of what it should look like so far, and hopefully your garments all look something like mine.

P.S. you may find in this next step that you wish to move up to the 60cm circular to knit more comfortably.

and don't be scared off by the charts, they're just there for those freakish knitters who loooove charts. I'm sure you know the ones, hell, I might even be one of those chickadees.  Cables really are easy peasy, you're just putting a couple of stitches on another needle until you need them not scary!!!

I know people who are scared of cable but yet knit short rows on some of their first knitting projects. Short rows are tricky chickies, if you can do those, cables are a walk in the park. You know, I actually do walk in the park when I knit cables.

Round by round instructions for those of you who want to ignore the charts, should be clear and easy to follow. Both panel details are easy once you get into it...promise!!

oh gaaaaaaawd, I hope you're gonna like it!!!!

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

MKAL step one

is up!!!!

Go forth and knit ;)

oh, and one very very simple rule while I remember.

Please don't add progress pics to your blog or Rav projects until the next clue is available, which will be Friday for this one.

OMG, you have no idea how freakin' nervous I am!!!!
Off to hide and try not to peak at the rav chatter thread  *eeek*

any questions?

ETA: just cos I know some of you were wondering, if you're knitting smaller sizes, you won't need the 60cm circular. I knit the size 2 with just the 40cm and 30cm.  ;)

Monday, November 01, 2010

day 29: some KAL stuff..

My Mystery KAL testers and I thought it might be a little hilarious if the first step I sent out for the KAL read a little like this:

Using your 4mm circular needle, cast on 40 stitches.
Knit row.
Push stitches around to the other end of the needle (so from the right needle around to the left again), loosely carry the yarn along the back of work and knit the row again from the RS.

Repeat until swatch measures approximately 15cm.

Cast off.

Wash and block your tension square.
Measure your tension both stitchwise and rowwise over 10cm/4inches.

We did laugh so very much about that...but then we thought that might be a bit mean, and that some people might be pissed off a wee bit. So even though we thought it would be so totally hilarious, I decided not to go with a tension square.

What I can tell you is that the link for the first clue will be up tomorrow afternoon. Woot!!  The second one will come on Friday.

It was going to be up today but I needed to add a photo of a little something for the girl's pattern, and with Andy away I discovered that it's a little difficult to take a photo of yourself knitting. Seems while I can knit in my sleep, I do actually need two hands to knit with.

While you're waiting, you could always do that tension square.  Particularly, if it's a yarn you haven't used before or haven't used for awhile. Tension does change over time.  And remember, adjust your needle size accordingly to get the correct tension.

Do you like the button Janis from Marshmellow Magic made? I haven't quite figured out how to host it and link the URK; so feel free to slurp away.  There's a boy's one too, check the Rav project page.

oh, and don't mention that October is actually over, please ;)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

day 28: finishings

Today is a day for finishing things.It's always a bit of a plan of mine to get things finished off at the end of the month and start a new month fresh. So today I'm focussing on the finishing.

1. I finished the tax.
This has been a comedy of errors. Of course, I left it until the last minute to lodge it, on Saturday. And only then did I discover some hanky network settings on Andy's laptop that wouldn't let me access the internet in the windows environment using boot camp blah de blah blah. I always do my tax on the laptop. so I had to fill in the forms and post it much more complicated that way!

2. I finished this darwinia dress.
I have an embarrassingly large amount of WIPs on the go at the moment, and this has been sitting there with only a few rows to go, after the lovely yarn fairy came to my rescue. There just seemed to be more pressing things to finish (such as a milo for baby Otis)....
and more pressing things to start.

3. I'm finishing this darwinia babydoll right at this very moment. Pretty much the same story as above.

After this one, there's a couple more oh-so-very close WIPs that I really need to sort too.
And if I can get this baby on my lap back to sleep, I just might finish a pattern.... or two tonight.

4. I finished answering all my emails about the KAL from those who didn't get their email. If you still haven't one and you should have; email me.

5. I, however, did not finish the washing or folding.... or the vacuuming.... and it looks like a bomb has gone off in Lily's room... but oh well.

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