Sunday, November 30, 2008

All quiet on the knitting front

All quiet on the knitting front lately. Mainly because I've been busy trying to get M1's blanket finished and the knitting for that has been 20cm black squares - not exactly riveting blog material.

It's been a long time in the making so I'm feeling rather relieved that I am *very almost* finished it.

Yesterday I spent the better part of the day sewing the squares together!! Here's a sneak peek....


I have one more row to sew on the bottom , which is just 4 squares (2 of which I actually need to knit), block it and then figure out what I will do around the edges. Any suggestions most welcome...... I don't crochet so I'm thinking maybe I will just pick up and do a centimetre or so of garter stitch in black. Thoughts?

I'm also not sure about backing it. The back side doesn't look too bad except the for the large centre panel is fairaisle so I worry about little fingers. However, given all the other things I need to do before Xmas, I think its perfectly giveable in its current state (once I've put the finishing touches on of course) and I might worry about backing it when things are not so pressured.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas come early

I'm participating in a Secret Santa swap group and lucky me got her parcel this morning......

Fruit salad secret santa wool

"Fruit Salad" 80%wool/20%nylon 4ply. SOCK!! yarn. Squeeeee! I think it will make the coolest bright socks, I can't wait to have a go (finally) at socks! I'm thinking maybe plainish because of the colours so if anyone has a good sock pattern please leave a comment. Nothing too tricky as these will be my first proper socks!

SS Sock yarn

Isn't it great? Nice and bright and cheerful!

My yarn came from clever Sharry - thank you so much, its just lovely and so perfect. Its been a busy full on week and this was such a great surprise to find this morning!! Thank You!! And to Margo who matched me up with someone who would gift me something so suited - thank you too!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The List

It's that time of year again. When you suddenly realise Christmas is just around the corner!!!

29 sleeps to be precise.

(Hope I didn't just scare y'all)

I'm still trying to do the home made present thing. I've done well so far this year and I'm determined to do as many "made with love" presents as I can for Christmas.

However, I've also come to the conclusion that at some point one has to be realistic about what one can actually achieve in the time that one has at ones disposal.

My family also has this annoying thing where we have 6 or so of us in our immediate family having birthdays in November, December and January. Its a busy time of year for present making. Making something for everyone just ain't going to happen

On the DONE list:
Vest for nephew K
Cowl for friend D whose birthday is Xmas Eve
Beanie for stepdads birthday
Birthday surprise thing for Mum (no details as she reads here)

M1's blanket IS (no really) going to be finished this Christmas . 4 squares to go!
Secret Santa gift (halfway done)

To DO:
Gloves for Mum
Socks for M6 (at her request)
Cardigan for neice S
Dye some wool for Granny (she knits too..)
Something for my auntie. Yet to be decided - possibly bathsalts

I'm hopeful my list is realistic and achievable. Seeing how much I've already done is a good feeling and the 'to do' list is not tooooooooo daunting.

The womenfolk in the family are all getting something else handmade...


Amber bracelet

Stitch markers for Ceres

Guess I can also add all of that to the done list :)

Are you home making this Christmas too?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Playdough fun

I really dislike store bought playdoh, it smells like chemicals and if my kids are going to play with something that's almost edible I'd quite like to know what is in it! So here we make our own playdough....

Cooked Playdough
1TB cooking oil
1C flour
2t cream of tartar
1C water
1/2C salt
2t food colouring (or you can use non toxic paint powder)

Mix over a low/med heat until the dough is no longer sticky and comes together as a big glob. Take off heat and knead on a floured board.

I find this way of making it gives the best results and it seems to keep a bit longer. I store mine in an airtight container in the fridge.

PLaydough fun

N3 asked (yet again) for black. She seems to have a thing about black baking (she also asked for a black birthday cake), a little unconventional but a welcome change from all the pink ;)

Friday, November 21, 2008


Warning: this post contains pink princess prettiness!


This year for Christmas we are giving each of our girls;
- something to read
- something to play with
- something to share
- something Mum has knitted

This is an idea I got from a parenting forum and I think something we'll continue in the future - it keeps everything nice and even (for those 6year olds who are obsessed with everything being fair) and means I can still indulge in my 'making home made gifts ' crusade (well at least while they are still small enough to appreciate it anyway).


This is N3's something Mum made. She is going through a delightful (if a little nauseating) pink and 'princeey' (her word for princess) phase and I think this princess hat is going to go down very well. She's already seen it - you have to felt to size so I had to try it on as I went- but when she was out with Dad this morning I attached the pink sparkly (of course) veil and got M6 to model it for me. It's hidden away again now so hopefully it will still be a little bit of a surprise for her on the day.

I really like before and after felting photos...

I used some Paton's Jet which takes a bit of effort to felt but when it does it makes a nice sturdy fabric so the hat should keep its shape. I used a tiny bit of my 4th ball which was a lot more yarn than I anticipated.

The pattern is in the book New Knits of the Block but is also available online for free here. Its by Bev Galakas - remember the felted slippers I did for M6? Same yarn, same pattern author!

Raveled here.

It feels very good to have another Christmas gift finished. How are you going with your Christmas knitting?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Beer Bread

Beer bread = yum

I have to admit to not being a bread making Mama. It always seems a daunting process with tricky yeast rising and kneading and I don't have the convenience of a breadmaking machine. However, I saw this recipe on Mariella's blog and thought I would give bread making a try.

I am very pleased to report that this is an easy and totally delicious recipe that even an Un Domestic Goddess such as myself can make!

Beer Bread

3 Cups self raising flour
3 TB sugar
1 bottle of beer (I used a DB Draught stubby)

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in beer. Mix well. Bake in a loaf tin at 190C for about an hour.

How easy is that?

DH wasn't super impressed with me using his beer for bread but given that the whole loaf was gone before it had even cooled down I think even Mr Fussy himself gives this the thumbs up. No good for little miss gluten free though.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just one more

Ok so this is the last one in my little series of variegated knits.

last minute gift for a friends baby

Kelly has just finished knitting 8 (!!) of these tiny little jackets for a charity in Brisbane. You can see them in all their cuteness glory here. Such a great effort and I loved all the little variations she did to make each one unique. The pattern can be found here - top down raglan, nice & easy.

Wool Company "Blues"

So, when it came for me to make a left it to the last minute baby gift for a friend I was visiting today I immediately thought of those little cardys and my 50g of leftover "blues" yarn and voila! Its very small but looked like it should fit little Mr 3 weeks old ( very cute and took all my strength not to steal him). Summer is just days away so I just did shorter sleeves (and the fact I was running out of time & yarn!) and by the sounds of it this was just what my friend was after anyway.

2 nights of knitting and finished off this morning with some happy buttons from my button stash. Talk about cutting it fine!! One day I will get organised and have a little stash of NB things at the ready.

One hank of 'blues' got me a pair of Med/Large longies and a NB cardy. It does seem to go a long way and at $15 a hank I can't really complain about the price either and NZ made - what's not to love?

Monday, November 17, 2008


Yesterday I posted about my little phase of knitting with The Wool Company's multi coloured variegated yarns. There's one more thing I've made in this yarn to show you....


Remember how I said some people get the triangle pooling? This is my FO where it happened - because this one is just a teeny little dress. Teeny and oh so cute - I had to send it off very soon after finishing because it was making me think about how nice tiny little babies are!!

It was made for my dear friend Monique's new baby. She kindly put a pic of her precious darling wearing it here. (Thanks Neak, she's adorable)

I know I'll get asked - the Oriental Lily dress was a test knit for Tikki (who is also busy with her gorgeous new bundle). Cute dresses are her forte - she's also the pattern writer for the Rainbow dress I knit for M that was in yesterday's post. At the moment the pattern is available on her blog as a size 2-3 and a bunch of us test knit it for smaller sizes. I suspect the updated pattern with other sizes will be available some time soon once Tikki has some time. It's a lovely easy pattern and would be another good one for variegated yarn.

I was all keen to do a 12-18mth one for M in some JJ's Montage but I got side tracked (as you do) with other projects and then it got warmer - I've decided to wait until next winter so I know what size.

One good thing about the Utiku yarn is that I find one hank goes a long way. One hank of Opal got me small longies (see yesterday's post) and the Oriental Lily dress plus the edging for this little bonnet


The pattern is from Last Minute Knitted Gifts and a quick little knit that finished off the new baby gift nicely. The colours of the yarn show up nicely on the I-cord edging.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Variations and Variegations

I've just finished a pair of longies as a swap with a friend. I realised that I seem to be having a little phase of knitting variations of the same thing!!

All made to Jenny's great Pimp my Longies pattern with Utiku Multi Colours from the Wool Company

Med-Lge in "Blues" with rolled hem

XL in "Amber" with picot hem
Bella's Longies

Small in "Opal" with frilly hem and Icord waist tie (cute being worn pic here)

What fascinates me is that depending on the wool and the number of stitches in your round, you get such different effects. I know some people are in the anti-pooling camp - me? , I love it! The blue pair are my favourites just for the cool effect at the top. One type of wool and yet you can get triangle pooling, blotches, thin stripes, thick stripes or just mottled. Very cool

The other colourway in this yarn you might remember me using is "Watermelon" for M's rainbow dress

I love this colourway - very cute for little girls. Julie made this same dress in this colourway but in a different size and she got triangle shaped pooling on hers.

If you like variations with your variegations then this could be a good yarn for you too! I know I'm not the only one hoping for some great new colourways next time they update (but only if they don't get rid of the good ones!!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

February. Finally. Finished

This post has been a long time coming.


The pattern: February Lady Sweater by Pamela Wynne (Free Ravelry download here)

FLS sleeves

The yarn: Cleckheaton Country 12ply Shade 1935 Light Blue. 10 balls bought in a batch off TradeMe and 15 (!)grams of an extra ball purchased from here. I will never again buy a sweater's worth of yarn from an auction site. I ran out of yarn even though the pattern notes indicated I should have had enough - The TM seller didn't have anymore and there was only one store in NZ I could find online who had some. The first ball they sent me went MIA (thanks NZPost) and so it was many weeks before I could "officially" finish. Let's just say a lesson has been learnt there

FLS sitting

The time: Actually a reasonably quick knit. I was racing through this about 50g a night so probably about 2 weeks or thereabouts of actual knitting. Of course in reality it took me much longer -there was the few days it sat whilst waiting for buttons (tip - get buttons with your yarn, first button hole is 3 rows in!), then the very long wait for the extra yarn to finally arrive.

gull lace up close
The lace: The picture above is Gull Lace. I will never ever ever do another pattern that uses gull lace. Ever.
I mentioned my struggles with this earlier, clever Judy said she used stitch markers to keep track across the lace repeats - a wonderfully simple idea (and stupidly obvious now) I wish I had thought of!! I did the sleeves on DPNs and did find them much easier (and they are error free) because there were 3 repeats on each needle.
There is a mistake on the main body of the sweater but it sits under my bust and its not that noticeable , even by me, and I know it is there , so I can live with that.


The verdict: I will never knit this pattern again but overall, despite an almost jinxed knitting experience, I do quite like it. While I was knitting I was never really sure if it was going to work on me but now it's done I'm quite happy.

I did the XXS/35 inch size even though I measure as 38. Preblocking this was pretty snug but afterwards it grew a bit and now its a perfect fit and I think a more flattering length too.

I wore it tonight- our first BBQ of the season - it was a lovely summer's night but there was a cold breeze. With 3/4 sleeves I think this is going to be worn all year round. I had visions of wearing this over a summer print dress ( which I have yet to find lol) but for now with jeans or a skirt and a singlet top underneath it will be great for BBQ season when the temperature drops. I like the style of the bodice and the shape of it, I think its going to be very wearable.

There are a couple of small things I'm not 100% happy with (its a bit bulky under the arms, I wouldn't pick up the extra 7 stitches if I was to redo) and I need to fix the buttonholes as they are a bit big but overall I'm pretty darn pleased that my sweater from hell turned out quite well in the end. Finally its DONE!!!


There are more pics on my flickr stream, including the outtakes :)
Thank you once again to M6 for the FO photography

PS. Are you knitting lace this summer? Bells is hosting a Long Lacy Summer KAL - its very low key but should be fun checking out what everyone is knitting this summer. I'm wanting to do some 'proper' lace just as soon as the madness that is Christmas gift knitting is over, but for now this sweater - with a bit of lace - should surely count as my first baby step into lace knitting

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wearing the baby

International Baby Wearing week
12-18 November

Its International Baby Wearing week!! To celebrate I thought I'd do a little post and share my favourite baby wearing photos. Baby wearing has been my saviour - with 3 little ones and only 1 pair of hands there have been so many moments where I have been so grateful to be a sling Mum - all those times a buggy/pushchair would have been really inappropriate, all those times I could use the sling to breastfeed discretely, all those times the crying stopped as soon as the sling was put on, all those times when it was nap time and we were out/busy/somewhere where there was nowhere for baby to sleep so they slept on me instead, all the warm cuddles, all the comfort, all the times I got things done with baby on my back instead of crying at my feet. My carriers have been worth their weight in gold!

For fantastic baby wearing information in NZ visit Slingbabies!

We love our Unido sling...

Never too young to wear your baby...
Never too young for babywearing

Erika is also celebrating Babywearing week by showing off all her fantastic carriers, stop by her blog to see her wonderful collection and gorgeous baby wearing pics.

Happy Baby Wearing xx

Mini Me

A little something I have been working on...."Mini Me" Doll Soakers!

Mini Me Doll Soakers

Now available at my Craft Fetish shop, Tweedle or direct from me. (NZ only)

Doll Soakers Hearts

Friday, November 7, 2008

My day today

My Mummy brain got a bit of a work out. Early childhood curriculum and assessment of learning!!

Every good day includes some knitting (of course).

Harvest time.

The outcome won't be a wonderfully historic moment like the US election this week but it will be a close race and will be interesting to see which way it goes in the end. I found myself feeling lucky to live in a society where I can participate in a democratic process to decide who governs the country. Did you know New Zealand was the first country in the world to allow women the vote?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Turn a Square (Properly)

My much better attempt at making my StepDad a beanie for his upcoming birthday. If you want to see how to Turn a Square (Badly) go here!

Turn a square much better

This time I followed the pattern instructions (doh), toned it down a bit by doing smaller stripes (4 plain, 1 coloured) , left out the pink Noro stripes , followed the jogless stripe instructions of the brilliant Techknitter (thanks for the link Judy) and I think, overall, a much better effort!

Its a tiny bit big on me but I'll check on DH when he gets home later. I think it should be just right for a man sized head

I do so like the "square"
TUrn a square 2

The pattern is on Ravelry as a download here.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

How does your garden grow?

Very well actually thank you :)

Look what I spied today
Baby Brocolli

So excited to *finally* see baby brocolli heads. These were planted ages ago and I had all but given up...even planned on ripping them out! I think I'll let them stay now.

This was my vegetable garden back in August - half a dozen each of brocolli, spinach and celery plus some mint and some small parsley plants (and lots of weeds and a mint plant taking over). I planted these in April and wasn't sure what would survive the winter - it came through ok but there wasn't much growing happening.
vege garden aug 08

This is my vegetable garden 1 November - only 1 x celery left , all the spinach has been eaten!
Vege garden Nov1
Now the beds have HUGE parsley plants plus chives, thyme and rosemary. I also have coriander and lemon mint growing elsewhere. The mint is still threatening to take over but I'm keeping an eye on it. New batch of spinach, brocolli plants are finally looking like they might produce somethign edible, sugar snap peas and radishes (behind the brocolli), a big lot of lettuces (just tiny at the moment), a couple of marigolds to keep the bugs away and a lonely cucumber plant (havent had much luck with these in the past but am giving it one more go), strawberries galore and a tomato plant. Elsewhere I have a dozen Cos lettuces, a capsicum (just one to see how it goes), a couple of broad beans and a squash, half a dozen tomato plants and snow peas.

I am really pleased how things are going so far! I'm looking forward to being able to make a salad using everything we've grown ourselves and moving towards thinking about food security and being able to feed ourselves even if tough times arrive. Its just a beginning but I'm pretty proud, (especially as about half the things I have grown from seed myself). I'm lucky to have quite a few great kiwi gardening blogs on my blog reader for lots of handy tips and inspiration ;)

Also if you are in NZ and keen on vege gardening sign up for the NZGardener mailing list - emails every Friday full of good ideas and 'what you should do now'

Right, I'm off to water my garden. I'll leave you with a few pics from my garden...of the non vegetable kind ...isn't summer so pretty!!

Pink rose
Yellow rose
Red Rose