Sunday, December 30, 2012


I'm sitting here sewing buttons on what will more than likely be my last FO for the year. Eight little wooden buttons for a sweet cardie for Toby.

I feel like I've sewn a lot of buttons on this last month as I've busily knit away the festive season.
How about you?
Was the last month a crazy frenzy of gift creating?

Before all this crazy gift knitting began, I did release a new pattern. A pattern I love very very much. I mentioned this pattern in the last blog post back at the start of the month. See I've been too busy knitting to even blog!

My new pattern is called Olinda.

Olinda is a really lovely lace cardigan flowing from a circular garter stitch yoke. It is completely seamless, knit from the top down with lace panels running vertically.

What I really love about Olinda is that it is reversible; while it's not the same on both sides, each side of the garment is equally lovely.

In the photo above, Lily is actually wearing the cardigan what would be considered the wrong side out.

And below here, she's wearing it the right way.
Can you see the difference?

This cardie is named after a sweet little town in the Dandenong Ranges, just outside of Melbourne. I planned to name this cardie after Lily's favourite place. Up until our visit there in July, her favourite place was the Bollards in Geelong!

Olinda is such a pretty little town perched up high in the forest and surrounded with such lush green vegetation. It was like a winter wonderland for our kiddies, they hadn't really experienced weather that cold before. And the possibility of snow while we were there was just unimaginable for them. They fell in love. It is such a far cry in terms of landscape and weather for coastal dwelling folk like us.

While we were there we took the kids up to Lake Mountain so they could experience snow for the first time. What an amazing experience for them!

The lace in Olinda is quite intuitive and easy to follow once you get going. If you're a bit of a stop and start knitter I'd probably suggest using a life line to help you keep track of where you are up to and guard against too many accidents!

Having said that, Olinda is more suited to an intermediate knitter who is comfortable reading their own work. There are places in the pattern where you do need to be able to read what would be the next stitch in the pattern or the previous stitch.

The lace is both in written and charted form in the pattern and options are included to knit Olinda with either short or long sleeves.

Olinda is sized for chest sizes from 15 - 30", in one inch increments so will fit from newborn to around age 12 or so. It is available as a downloadable pdf from my Ravelry store for $6.

Give her some love.

Right now, I'm going to finish sewing on my buttons (I have seven to go!), and then ponder how much I've knit this year. I'm going to get out my scales and weigh those last few items and tally up my knitting yardage for the year.

Will it be more than last year?
What do you think?

Sunday, December 02, 2012

buttons doing double duty

Tomorrow I have a new pattern to release, which is always a very exciting and just a wee bit nerve-wracking kind of a day. There's all kind of hecticness involved as I quite often leave some part of the release to the last minute; such as converting the yardage lengths to metres, or adding the name of the testers or the pattern page for Ravelry. I often feel like I'm fighting the clock and wrangling both the kids, dinner and DK to pull it all together. I'm really not the most organised of people.  And I am so easily distracted.

But anyway, tomorrow I have a new pattern to release, and this time I'm sort of super organised. Perhaps. So much so that I've pre-prepared a little blog tutorial that I want to share with you.

Tomorrow's pattern, Olinda, is reversible in the sense that there's no real wrong side to the garment. You can really wear it either way, which is great for grublets. But to make it so, you really need to sew on what I call "double duty buttons" so you can button the cardie from both sides.

Here's a quick peak of Olinda worn as the pattern is written, there's plenty more pics over on my Rav project page, and I'm sure you'll see more tomorrow.

So how do you make double duty buttons?

You need two buttons for every buttonhole, some good quality sewing thread and a hand sewing needle.

I find this style of buttons works really well for two-hole buttons and I always sew my two-hole buttons on like this.

When threading my needle I always half the thread and thread the two ends through the eye of the needle, leaving the thread looped at the end.

Locate where the buttons need to be placed. I always use the garter ridges in the garter edging and the placement of the buttonhole to help line up where my buttons need to be.

Once you've got the right spot, sandwich the buttonband between the two buttons and bring the needle and thread through the two buttons leaving the loop at the back of the work.

Making sure the loop remains at the back, thread the needle back through the other front hole. The loop and the needle will both be at the back of the work now.

TO secure the thread, simply thread the needle through the loop and pull tight.

Sew on the button as usual, threading back and forth through both buttons securely a couple of times.

To finish off the buttonhole neatly, on your last pass-through with your thread to the back, only go through the front button and come out next to the back button. You will need to angle your needle and the buttons to be able to do this.

Loop the thread around the button, and the thread the needle through the loop a couple of times. Pull the thread to secure. Wrap the thread around a few more times and cut the thread. The tail will be neatly hidden behind the button.

Voila! Neatly sewn buttons perfect for double sided garments!

If you were a perfectionist, you would probably create shanks for each of your buttons as you sew them, but I'm a bit lazy. 

I love this way of doing buttons. I use a lot of two-hole wooden buttons and I find that buttons sewn like this don't come loose. Nor are they placing a lot of stress on the garment itself, as in effect they reinforce each other.

Nice, hey!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

my creative space

The theme for my creative spaces this week has been polygamy.

Yesterday, we ventured out to the Melbourne Museum for the milo boy's birthday excursion. I took with me my basket of polygamy and knitted all the way to Melbourne and back. I even hopefully insanely carted a project around the museum imagining time to sit, relax and knit while the kids explored. Who was I kidding? We ALL explored!

The contents of my basket?

Two projects toured with me yesterday but my basket does contain four current WIPs. All prototypes of a sort.

Yesterday, I had for company:



Both these prototypes are named after two very different places in Victoria. 

Beear is a small state park near the Grampians. You could go there and not see another person all day, it is that quiet and unknown. It has an awesome fossicking site for smoky quartz there that my kids adore. Coincidently, Lily was really stoked to find a piece of that smoky quartz on display in the museum yesterday!

Olinda is a quaint little village set in the Dandenong Ranges. We visited here in the Winter and it was cold and wet, but oh so beautiful and gloriously lush and different from where we live. Lily would like to move there, but alas, I feel it is too far from the sea for us.

Olinda is not that far from being ready for release, maybe the start of the month. Beear is a design for next year.

Beear is for Toby and I'm knitting the tiny wee baby sized Olinda for one of my baby sized nieces. I have two of these who are under the age of one and I decided it would be quite remiss of me if I did not take the opportunity to knit such small cardies for them for Christmas.

The other WIPs in my basket are:

dolly Olearia

This poor WIP has been woefully neglected. If I just stayed committed I could be finished today, and I really need to be as I want this pattern to go to the testers this weekend!  

This is an unnamed WIP that I have been flirting around with for quite a few months. Obviously, the flirting isn't too serious as I haven't gotten very far with it! I suspect it needs a rip out and a wee reassess. This was for another niece but I might have to whip her up something a bit more straightforward..we shall see.

This week I've also been having a play with some fabric, which was so lovely, and on Monday my little crafting chickadee and I whipped up 50 hair ties.  Does she need 50? Possibly not, but they will make great Christmas gifts for her friends, if only I can get her to part with some of them!!

More creative spaces over here....

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


My baby turned four yesterday.

Isn't it funny, how as parents every year our child is older is a significant milestone?
This year for us four is so big, it's the crossing over from toddlerhood into a big boy. He's no longer really a baby. And then next year, he'll be five! And five is old enough to go to school!!

Every year they get older, it's significant, no doubt about it, and as parents it's hard not to dwell on their growth and mourn the stage that has just passed. Particularly when it's a move away from babyhood. Despite the sleepless nights (which don't hate me, I'm sorry to say we never had!), the nappies, and all the other traumas of babyhood, we still really mourn it's passing. I guess it says something about our stage of life too.

Today I'm not going to mourn the passing of my boy's babyhood. I'm going to celebrate all that he becomes now he is four. I'm going to reflect on the past year and cheer him for all his accomplishments, all the things he's learnt and conquered. All the growth and maturing he's done to become the wonderful little boy that he is. I'm going to amaze in his new found understanding of his emotions and behaviour. But most of all I'm going to enjoy all those four year old cuddles because four year old cuddles are so much bigger than three year old cuddles!

We celebrated last night with a special birthday dinner of Toby's favourite food; salmon sushi.

His cake, the second for the day, was chocolate and coconut. It comes from Jude Blereau's book Wholefoods for Children and is my standby chocolate cake recipe. It is soooo good and sooo easy to make!

I iced it with an icing I made from rapadura and coconut icing sugar (whizzed in the TMX), avocado, cacao powder, vanilla bean and a touch of rice water. It was an incredibly smooth and deliciously chocolatey flavour, it was a bit of an educated gamble, but it paid off!

 The kids adored the icing, particularly Lily who hates avocado. I didn't tell her there was an avocado in there!

Thursday, November 08, 2012

a teeny tiny cardie

In all honesty, the biggest attraction of getting a Blythe doll was the fun in dressing her.  Changing her outfits, finding the perfect shoes and getting her cute look just right. It's like playing Barbies again, but in a much cooler way. Blythe carries off clothes so so much better than Barbie does. ;)

The first ever knitwear design I ever did was as a kid. I used to knit clothes for our Barbies, they had an incredible array of knitted garments that I made up the patterns for all by myself. I used to have a little notebook where I had all these little patterns written down. I wish I still had that notebook, and I wish I still had at least a few of those Barbie clothes.

I've been desperate to knit something for Blythe ever since Lily got hers, I've just never quite gotten around to it. I probably should have started with my own pattern, but the need for a quick cast on and some mindless knitting saw me cast on the smallest February Sweater I've ever knit!

This was super quick and easy. Given I've knit the February Baby Sweater twice and the February Lady Sweater once, the gull lace is a bit like an old friend. It's probably one of the lace stitches my fingers would resort to knitting automatically.

This pattern is the February Pullip Sweater  by Megan Nordyke. It's a free pattern.

The original pattern calls for Crochet thread, of which I only had black and I wasn't going there. I subbed with some random Shepherd Baby wool leftover from a jumper I knit for Lily when she was just a wee baby.

I think I knit this on 2.75mm needles, perhaps they were 2.25mm.
Either way, it was one of my smaller needles.

Modifications to pattern:
When separating the body and sleeves, I worked the first and last stitch as a kfab, as per my patterns. This minimises any holes under the arms. 
This also gave me an additional four stitches which I worked as a two stitch edging at the front of the cardie.
I also picked up more stitches under the arms and reduced them down, while working the sleeves seamlessly.

Blythe, as you can see, is pretty happy with her new cardie.
It goes perfectly with her favourite skirt.
She's been bugging me to knit her a few more things.
She's also been rifling through my fabric stash picking out fabric for a few dresses.

She's even more incorrigible than Lily!!!

Saturday, November 03, 2012

And the winner is......

My apologies for not announcing the winner sooner. I was waiting for October to end in the Northern Hemisphere, and then Friday sort of got away from me.

I've had a wonderful time reading all the entries. They all really resonated with me. Some made me smile, some made me cry, some made me feel quite nostalgic.
Thank you all for sharing your lovely stories with me.

My random number generator has selected the post from: 
to be the winner!!


I shall be in touch via Ravelry shortly.

ANNND, while I'm giving away patterns, in my first post for October I asked for suggestions of what to blog about. The following lovely people made suggestions that I used, so they each will receive a free pattern of their choice as well:
Sea Star
Brave New Fiona.

I shall be in touch shortly with all of you too!

I shall be returning to this list again and using some more of these ideas, as there were some fantastic ones that I really want to use but time was my deciding factor. 

Thanks everyone for sharing the Blogtober love with me and getting me over the line. 


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October 31

Well, well, well... it's with a great deal of tiredness that I greet you this morning, dear last day of the month. This tiredness is not from my relentless blogging for all of blogtober. No, no, no, dear last day of the month I am made of stronger stuff than that.
Am I pleased I made it? Hell, yes.
Did I for one tiny minute consider joining the daily my creative space posting for November?
The most teeny tiniest of minutes I did. Then I shook myself out of it.
Will I continue to blog regularly? Only time will tell, dear last day of the month, only time will tell.

I'd like to say yes... but you know me and my organisational skills.

So how has your day been, last day of the month? What about you, dear readers?
Was it a pleasant day? Did you have such jolly lovely weather as we did?
How did you spend your day?

Mine, went a little like this:

12:30am:  Went to bed. Bed nice and cosy thanks to the two already sleeping bodies in there.

7:00am:  Woke up very tired and remembered that despite this being Andy's day off, I had promised Lily I would help out at school this morning. sigh.  Got up and made lunches and did all the boring morning mum stuff.

8:30am:  Rode to school with the two shorter family members. Beautiful warm morning. Bliss.

8:45 - 11:00am: Helped out in Lily's classroom's Working Bee for their school fair's stall on Sunday. Finished it off with a wee bit of macrame.

11:00am: Rode home with this wee lad, stopping at the shops for something to eat and some chai.

From thereon, time seems a bit vague and I'm not sure what happened.

I attempted to lay down and sleep, no real luck as Toby just wanted to play and jump all over me. *sigh*

I got up when Andy came home with his catch of the day; some snapper and squid.

I spent about five hours this afternoon working on a pattern in testing, ironing out a few issues and making it easier to follow. Lace can be a real bitch at times, I tell you.
The pattern? this one.

All sorted! Had some yummy dinner cooked by Andy, who also took the kiddies off for a walk after dinner to visit a few neighbours.

Completed and submitted my tax return. 9:04:34pm. Even in quite early this year comparatively!

Had copious cups of tea, and looked in despair at the unmade beds and toys scattered everywhere. *sigh*

Did not get to finishing off de-pilling Toby's cardie. That can wait until tomorrow.

Wrote blog post and thought about the final touches on this pattern:

Decided it could wait until tomorrow.
Thought about all the pms and emails I have to answer.
Suddenly felt very tired.
Decided to go and knit for awhile before bed.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

my absolutely essential I couldn't live without it crafting gadget

Do you have a nifty little crafty gadget you can't live without?
I don't mean like a sewing machine or something obvious like your knitting needles.
I mean something that's not really considered a necessary gadget for your craft, but for you it is.. absolutely.

I'm sure if I thought hard enough I'd have quite a few.

But my utter favourite and definitely couldn't live with out gadget is my flash-ass depiller.

I love this baby so so much.
It's electric, which means it's got some kick-ass guts to it. But not too much.

If, like me, the general recipients of your knitteds are rough little nuts who go hard. Or if you love certain yarns that do tend to pill like crazy (I'm looking at you WOOLganics and Malabrigo Worsted!!!); this baby is for you. It seriously makes knits look like new again!

Tobes, in particular, goes hard.  Check out his normal treatment of his clothes..

All that rolling around in the grass and rubbing himself along the ground like a tiger creates a very pilly WOOLganics cardie. I tried to take some photos today but it was a wee bit bright and I'm not sure you'll see how bad it is. I might try and get some better shots of the worst of it tomorrow.

I'm partway through depilling this baby, picking Lily up from school got in the way. I shall finish it tomorrow and take some after photos. And blow me away, it will look like new again! gotta love that!

P.S. Link to the retailer where I bought my electric lint remover; The Fabric Care Company.
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation at all with this company, just love their product.

Monday, October 29, 2012

looming deadline

As we count down to the end of October and the end of Blogtober, I realised another deadline was looming.  Tax return deadline. Yep.

For those not in Australia, the financial year runs from July 1st to June 30th of the following year. I have no idea how that compares with other countries.  It only just occurred to me now to wonder whether that was universal. I don't know, you tell me. :)

You can start submitting your tax return from July 1st. The deadline to have it done by is October 31st. There are other extenuating circumstances, but if you're doing your own tax; you have that four month window. Seems plenty doesn't it.

A few people have asked how I manage to fit it all in.

The answer is badly.

I have not done my books for many months... many many months. So many that doing my tax is a bit of a chore.

And typically, as with every year here I am working to submit it at the last minute before the deadline.

Once my tax is done, and I'm nearly there! My next deadline will be the Gwendolyn pattern, which I hope to have ready for release on Thursday.

Are you just as hopeless at things like tax as I am?
How do you stay organised?

My plan is that every fourth Monday (I have every second one without Toby as he goes to his little bestie's house for the day) I will spend some time making sure my financial paper bits are up to date. Yep, that's going to be the new super organised on-top-of things business-type me!

Can't wait!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

rockin' good time

I missed a day of blogtober.

I had been doing so well until this weekend, I'm even managed to prepare blog posts while away on holiday, amongst house reconstructions and painting, while releasing new patterns. But this weekend did me in. I don't mind though as we had a hooting good time.

I had a real weekend off, took my pleasure knitting and headed with the family down to the south west for Kennedys Creek Music Festival.

And what a fabulous little music festival it is!

It was like returning to the days of our youth, a fabulous little non-commercial music festival in a bush setting. In this case it was a wee cute hall in a bush clearing, with campsites for anyone who desired one in the bush.  

The music line-up was incredibly awesome! And we got to feast on the silky tunes of Jackson McLaren, the thumping awesome beats of Red Eagle and this year's Splendour in the Grass winners Kingswood, plus heeeeeeaps more great music. Every single band was awesome!

What we particularly liked is that it is a family friendly festival. And our little people had a ball!

Lily was the fashion hit of the festival. Both Lily and I had sooooo many people ask us about her dress. Apparently she told one lady, "This pattern hasn't been released yet but my mum will releasing it soon." bless!

And in between all their dancing, exploring and playing with cars and other assorted toys, there was drawing to be done.

More dancing.....

and back to the drawing..

and then when night time came there was still no stopping them...

more dancing..

and more drawing (by torchlight!)

The kiddos did really well and rocked it out until almost 10pm. We took them back to our tent, tucked them into their sleeping bags and wondered how on earth they'd get to sleep. Lily nodded off pretty quickly. Toby was a bit more of a monkey, and I had to lay down with him. Finally, both Toby and I succumbed to sleep despite Kingswood playing in the background (what I did hear was great, and Andy said they were his favourite!)

It was a bit of disrupted sleep, well for me but Toby and Lily slept through any outside noise and appeared bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning.

Sunday morning was a more relaxed pace, which the kids took full advantage of and stormed the stage while it was vacant. 

And doesn't every little boy dream of playing guitar on stage?

Did you have a good weekend?
Did you party like we did?

P.S. Looking back at these photos I realise how full of knits they are! I just counted 10 different items I knitted, not to mention the giant granny square rug my mum created!

Wool rocks!

Friday, October 26, 2012

stash storage

How do you store your stash?

Are you one of those knitters who has it tucked away in every possible crevice and hidey hole in your house? Or are you out and proud about it?

My approach is a bit of both.

The majority of my stash is incredibly organised, mostly. Which for me is something pretty amazing. I have a number of larger tubs in my craft studio (which is so not as impressive as it sounds ~ trust me!) dedicated to Cotton, Organic Yarns, 8ply, Worsted, 4ply, etc. You get the picture, all wool yarns are all organised according to weight. I have to admit I do have one or two random tubs that are basically stuffed full of all the extra stuff that has arrived since I did that wonderful organising. For the majority, it works for me as I know where to look if I need some 8ply wool or cotton.  It would work a lot better if I just organised those last couple of tubs properly too.

I do, however, like to have some yarn on display. I'm not a cabinet type of display person for yarn. I prefer yarn in more unexpected places. 

This is my favourite spot.

I like to also have a small basket inside of the yarns I'm planning to use next, for a quick swatch or reminder of we're I'm heading. I haven't been getting much knitting done at all the last few weeks so this little basket is looking quite full.

Do you have any interesting or unusual ideas for displaying your yarn?
I'd love to hear about them.

Today's Spring KAL sponsor is:

who is donating a gorgeous selection of yarns. I love that Suzy Hausfrau stocks such a wonderful array of organic yarns, all of which I am very eager to try. I have some gorgeous Swan Islands 4ply that arrived from Suzy a few weeks ago that I am super eager to cast on.

P.S. I am really enjoying reading everyone's knitting stories. Some have bought a tear to my eye, some have made me clucky, some have made me laugh but they have all made me smile; they are all such gorgeous stories. Thank you every one for sharing them with me!

Don't forget you have until the end of the month to add your story if you haven't already. You can add it here and be in the running to win 10 of my patterns!!