A few finishes

Okay I’ve been really lousy the last few weeks/ months at actually getting the blog posts written. As has happened before, I write bits of them in my head under the shower, but somehow this long, hot Aussie Summer [ hottest since they began keeping records ] which is now continuing into Autumn, just saps my ability to put a coherent thought together by the time I actually get to the keyboard. Currently in our third week of temps above [ often well above ] 30C, with several more days in this current spell.

So, while there are momentous family things to show-n-tell, like a double baptism, a new great-nephew [ yesterday, to Rebecca and Nick, a boy, Edward, no other deets yet ] and loads of baby cuteness, as well as the usual round of ‘life in the country’, I’m just going to settle for photos of a bunch of finished bits and pieces that I largely forgot to document.

These aren’t necessarily in order either.

So first, a crochet blanket in 4ply/fingering cotton, made to fit Abby’s big girl cot [crib] so 106cm / 42 inches square. Mostly BWM Cotton from the stash with a border of a variegated yarn that you can’t see in the pics, so you’ll have to trust me that Maz gave me 3 balls of this pink/jade/mint/magenta colourway a few years ago and this just seemed like the perfect project for it. There’s a shot of the yarn in this post if you can be bothered going back to look.


Now, this next piece is the fault of my friend Alex from ZigoZago who has recently been bitten by the crochet bug. In addition to all sorts of throws and table mats and so on, she’s been making little crochet covers for empty jars.  I know that sounds perhaps a bit insane, but they make really cute little containers for hooks, needles, pencils, or in my case, spindles.

Alex has them scattered around her shop, and I thought … well … okay, maybe just one

So this is vintage cream wool, about 6ply/sport weight, and playing with faux-cables,


which were then fulled/felted to fit an empty container.


I really like how the ‘cables’ pop after a bit of soap, hot HOT water and elbow grease.

This next blankie, I mainly constructed back before Abby was born, in fact most of it was done before we even knew that she was a she, and only the final mauve was added once we knew that she was ABBY.

Anyway, I didn’t originally block the blanket, so when Nadie decided that she wanted a wool one big enough for the cot, I only needed to add the turquoise and cobalt, and then to block it out, for it to transform from bassinet to big girl cot.


and speaking of cots, I needed to make a fitted sheet for the Portacot that stays at Nannie’s, so a quick dip into the humungous stash of suitable 100% cotton quilt fabrics produced a couple of metres of this happy print of suns, that  suits the red cot.


and a cotton blankie for same, which happily – and totally coincidentally  – contains many of the other colours in the fabric that I used for the sheet [ and, surprise, surprise, this blankie somehow ended up down at Nadie’s with all the others, so either this, or the one earlier in the post, will eventually have to make the trip back up here, once someone decides which one suits  which bedroom best ]


By now, you’re probably getting a bit glazed around the eyes, and hoping this post is finis.


Not finished yet.

One of the little tops I made before Abby arrived, proved to be a little too tight at the hem, so I unpicked it and added a couple of rows of ruffles [ this one is also in BWM’s 4ply cotton ]008

Converted a onsie into a little sundress 019

and finally this week, did a quick test knit for Madeleine of YarnMadness for this new pattern she’s designed. It was going to be called ‘Spik’ which is Swedish for Spike, but someone objected to an imagined ethnic slur, so now it will be named ‘Tagg’ instead, which means thorn. I’m sure that you can all work out why she’s given it that name. Cute pattern, easy knit in DK or light worsted, so keep an eye out for the pattern release.

Mine’s in the 3 month size – for Abigail obviously – and in BWM cotton yet again but this time the 8ply.


So there we are all caught up on the ‘making-things’ front .

Now if I can just catch you up on all that other stuff.

Maybe if the temp drops a bit later in the week.


If the hat fits…

It started with a perfectly straightforward and reasonable request. Could I please make a sunhat for Abby?

The chance to sew something small and cute? I think we all knew what my answer was going to be.

So I trotted out this bit of super cuteness

003  that my friend Larissa sent, and found the leftover fabric from a dress that I made Abby a few weeks ago

and duly cut out the newborn size. The pieces seemed a bit large but these days, my efforts at baby millinery are more likely to be knitted or crochet than sewn, so I trusted that the people at Butterick knew what they were about,  found the appropriate colour thread, adjusted the needle position on the machine to a dressmakerly 5/8th inch, as opposed to my default quilterly 1/4″, and off I went.

Two ‘rabbit ears’ to form the bow


an inside and an outside


it all went together exactly as it was supposed to … and it would fit a newborn just fine


… so long as the newborn was a hippopotamus.

Okay. Slight exaggeration there. The hat will probably fit a baby, oh, say, about  … mmm … six months old … like, say, my other Granddaughter, Asher. But it certainly won’t fit Abby until long after she’s grown out of the matching dress.

So then I decided to just have a crack at fudging together a simple brimmed sunhat pattern of my own. Without the fancy ‘rabbit ear’ bow. Just your basic garden variety sunhat.

My ‘template’ was a  china cat-food bowl with a circumference a few centimeters bigger than the desired finished size, I guessed at the height of the rise on the crown, and just cut another circle a few inches bigger than the first for the brim, once again using my handy dandy cat bowl for the cut out in the middle.

The fabric this time is vintage Laura Ashley, and I made a bow out of even-more-vintage pink satin ribbon and a flower cut from a piece of scrap lace from my English quilting friend Val G.


Perhaps my sewing/pressing wasn’t as smooth on the tiny brim as it was on the first one Yes, I mean that point there in the front. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it too much [ damn the perfectionist gene ]

Obviously I haven’t tried the result on anyone animate yet but I think the size is about right for a certain young lady formerly known as Cookie.


So I said to myself…


Self, if you’re going to make a pair of happy little newborn size pull-on pants using Rae’s super easy free pattern , it is a really, really good idea to actually look at her perfectly clear pattern, identify which is the clearly marked centre seam and which is the equally clearly marked leg seam and NOT SEW THE BLESSED THING TOGETHER UPSIDE DOWN.

As I didn’t actually listen to the sage advice that self had espoused, I ended up with a pair of baby pants that were nowhere near long enough through the body to go over a baby bottom encased in a nappy [ or diaper if you prefer ] and with overly long legs. Luckily these pants only take 20 minutes to make [ even less with an overlocker ] and a teeny amount of fabric, so after I’d finished castigating myself for being a total ninny, version 2.0 went together like a dream.

version 2 [ with banana for scale ]

Quilt Trek: The Next Generation

This was the scene in my lounge room sewing room this morning: next Christmas’s quilt in potentia on the design wall, being tinkered with occasionally in between bouts of current shawl knitting.

that was until Miss Nat [ The Girl’s BFF and bridesmaid ] arrived from Melbourne with her sewing machine and her ever burgeoning stash of fabric … to which was added the several metres that we had picked up during the week on her behalf.

My quilt bits were relocated and Nat’s quilt #1 went up [ followed later by bits of quilt #2 which I seem to have failed to document thus far ]

Nadie spent some time plying her one of her current handspun creations, and once that was done, switched to working on an ‘X Bag’ pattern that we picked up at Maldon a couple of weeks ago. I’ll leave it to Nadie to detail her spinning exploits on her own blog later.

MissC decided that her role was to make sure the bag pieces didn’t try to escape

and firmly resisted any and all attempts to move her

until it was established that she would make a lovely pincushion, at which point she bowed to the inevitable and settled down on the version I’d made earlier in the week. I know I haven’t shown mine yet but I promise I will once I can get it out from under the cat [ denim and cat print … what a surprise ]

with and without feline and canine assistance Nadie finished off her bag after tea with a vintage 1950s button as the perfect accent

Tomorrow is our February Sit-and-Sew / Stitch&Bitch / UFO [ unfinished objects ] Day, – which is why Miss Natty’s up here for the weekend and we’re expecting several friends of a fibre-y persuasion to arrive late morning with mountains of yarn and/or fabric … and food … so another great day in the offing.

You know, I’ve just read what I’ve written, and really, I’ve totally failed to give you an adequate impression of just wonderful it is to be able to pass the love of some of my favourite things on to the next generation … but Captain Jean-Luc Picard would understand.

Okay, yes

Once again I’ve let a week cruise by without an update

and my explanation [ not an excuse mind you, just an explanation ] is that , once again, life got in the way of blogging.

Mmmm, let’s see …

There has been a c**p load of goat wrangling and block clearing. Two years worth of ‘not drout anymore’ coupled with the surgery halfway through last year has meant that the obligatory keeping-ahead-of-ten-acres-worth-of-detritus hasn’t quite happened to plan.

The goats help with as much as they can but there’s still a lot that has to be dealt with manually. The goat[s] on clearing duty have to be caught, put on a chain and persuaded to walk past my delicious looking garden to whatever corner of the manse that is the target du jour. Ever tried lugging 90 kg [ 200 lbs ] of goat in a direction other than the one that it wants to go ?

Also on the agenda this week was the Great Christmas Decoration Takedown and Pack Away of 2012.

Nowhere near as much fun as the Great Christmas Decorating of 2011, but just as much work, with the added ‘bonus’ of having to find homes for anything that I may have acquired in the interim. Basically a lot of stuff to be moved, dusted / washed, wrapped, boxed up and then lugged up the slope to the shed, where I discovered that the elves had gone on strike so I had to pack it away as well.

This has pretty much taken all week.

Not everything revolved around the acreage though.

There was delicious brunch in the courtyard of The Dove with David, Nadie and Bear [ followed by some post-Christmas Sale shopping  followed by absolutely nothing at all at Malmaison, The House of Fergus Frog and Skydancers Garden Centre ]

There was a visit to the quilt shop in Maldon [ who are having a $15m sale on all fabric this month, and where a few modest purchases may have been negotiated ] with a side trip to the Ice Creamery [ David and Nadie ] and the Christmas Shop [ where it is just possible that I may have been persuaded to part with some of next Christmas’ decorating budget  where nothing at all happened … honestly ]

I managed to fit in a bit more work on this year’s Christmas quilt:

Let me see. What else ?

There may have been a bit of knitting and crochet finished since the start of January [ blurry photos courtesy of my mortally wounded camera-that-I-haven’t-replaced-yet ]

Two Rolling Waves Berets testknit in 12 ply BMW wool/angora [ no ravlink yet until the Designer posts one ]

another testknit for Madeleine aka YarnMadness [this was a fun knit and the  Baby Bubble pattern will be available soon ]

finally finished the third of the Nekos – which is actually #2 – he’s the big guy in the middle sitting on his tail

and a baby blanket in cotton destined for a member of the extended family up in tropical Queensland.

and my ever so clever son-in-law managed to resuscitate Nadie’s Bear-masticated sewing machine

So all is well