Saturday, 28 February 2015

Lots of Work Today!

OK, no more looking at blogs, Ravelry, or anything else on this computer! There is work to be done!

The garden won't just make itself look like this, you know!

Particularly as I am starting with this.

It will be a long process!

Have a great weekend.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Finishing Up On Friday

I am very excited as I have some yarn finishes for this Friday! 

First another dish cloth as you can simply never have too many. Especially when your hubby has a tendency to use them to clean the BBQ and they are never the same again! It is great that he says they are the best cleaners, but still!

This is the Waffle Knit Dish Cloth pattern that I use ALL the time (Rav notes here). It knits up easily and quickly, and the textured pattern is great for cleaning. Much as I love picture cloths (and I am knitting some Easter ones at the moment), they just don't clean as well as this one. I also knit this one to use up scraps.
I love the colours of this dish cloth. I think they would make great quilt colours for my ten year old son.

And, yes, I have finally started to add my projects to Ravelry. I have never used any of the features under My Notebook, other than putting a million patterns in my library. But I am going to add projects as I start them and slowly (it will take a while!) add my stash to Ravelry. A little bit each day and I should get there by 2018 or so!

I also finished the Tiny Trousers from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies.

The pattern uses 8 ply, but I knitted together two 4 ply yarns.  I think it is quite effective and I have another plan to use this technique with some sock yarn and a little boy vest pattern. Maybe for next week?

These are the two yarns I used, both Australian brands. The dark blue was the Patonyle sock yarn (80% wool, 20% nylon) and the white speckled was the Bella Baby Sugar. I have tons of the Bella Baby as it was marked right down last year, so expect to keep seeing that popping up!

I was hoping to have the gorgeous yarn shawl finished as well. But it is amazing how long it takes to knit one row when there are 621 stitches! How long can it take to knit those last few rows, I thought? Apparently, quite a while when you are doing it in between normal household stuff.

Do you like my new hall stand? Well, new to me anyway. It was my mum and dad's. As they have recently downsized from our family home to a small unit, this wasn't going to fit. I HAD to have it! (Gee, photo is pretty crooked - photography is not my thing!)

And some photos of my youngest little chooks, having a dust bath to cool down in our hot weather. 

What have you all been working on? I look forward to finding out at this week's yarn parties.

Fibre Arts Friday at Wisdom Begins In Wonder
Freshly Finished Friday at Hard Knit Life

Happy yarning!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Happy Anniversary and Some News

Today is our 21st wedding anniversary. Boy, does time fly! It really does not seem that long ago.

Hubby picked me a single red rose from the garden this morning. That is exactly what my love language is - small gestures of homemade loving, not big, expensive gifts or dinners out. So it was lovely.

And now for some news - the image will give it away a bit!

No, it isn't me! But I am going to be a grandma (I still cannot believe that word!) Yes, my oldest, Miss Butterfly, is having a baby, due 20th August. I am still getting used to the idea that I am going to be a grandma at 45 - I don't feel old enough! But she has always wanted to be a wife and mother which I guess I can't fault her on. She is very young, only 19, but she will be a wonderful mother. And I am only around the corner whenever she needs me!
Cuddlepie (who is 3) does NOT want to be an uncle. Whenever someone mentions that he will be an uncle, he bursts into tears and says 'I don't want to be an uncle. I don't like uncles!' Pretty sure he has no idea what an uncle actually is, but he doesn't like it. Maybe he thinks it will change him somehow!

So keep an eye out for even more baby knitting and sewing in the next few months!

Update on the Year of No Superfluous Spending

As we are almost into the third month of the year, I thought I would do a little update on how my budgeting/spending is going.
I am pretty pleased with it, I must say!
Now that I am making conscious choices when it comes to spending, I have found that I am hardly spending any money at all. Previously, I had the tendency to see something lovely on a blog, click through and buy it. In two months prior to starting this, I would have purchased tonnes of stuff!

This is what I have purchased this year. Included in this total would be things like clothes, gifts, yarn, fabric, books, DVDs, anything extra to necessities.

This wrap around skirt - from Vinnies Op Shop. Still had the price tag from the shop of $29.95. Vinnies had priced it at $4, but it was on the half price rack, so I got it for $2! Yay me!

Two gift boxes for 50c each - Salvos Op Shop. The silver one was used for the tea party set for a birthday party.
Rubber duck still in packet for 50c - Cuddlepie really wanted this for his bath!
Cupcake pyjama pants for $3 - I don't think they have even been worn. They are a size 18, so I will cut them to use for some sort of kitchen related sewing. Not sure what yet!

I reel of mauve sewing thread - $3.25 - to make the apron and tea bags for birthday gift.

4 fat quarters of Riley Blake's The Simple Life for $24.36 - to make a Mother's Day gift. I could have used fabric from my stash but I really wanted to use the top fabric.

Automatic French Knitting machine - $19.95. Because it is super cool and we will be using it for the childrens' Yarn Club activities.

Oh, and I must admit to one lapse! I did pre-order Farm Girl Vintage by Lori Holt

Totally not necessary but I have all her other books and I just couldn't resist! It will not come for a few months, so the kids can give it to me for Mother's Day or my birthday.

I am pretty happy with my progress so far, especially as I have not purchased any yarn! That is amazing for me!

Is anyone else on a yarn/fabric diet? I would love to hear any stories or tips you may have.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Audrey Love

A few weeks ago, when I looked up the book I was reading to post a link to Yarn Along, Amazon came up with a few related suggestions. This led me to this little gem, What Would Audrey Do? Timeless Lessons for Living With Grace and Style. And the only Audrey we can possibly be talking about is Audrey Hepburn. If Audrey Hepburn does not epitomise 'grace and style', then I don't know who does!

I have always adored Audrey. I love every movie she has been in and can watch her over and over. And her work for UNICEF was amazing. 

I love this description of Audrey, which gels with the way I have always felt her to be. It would be terribly disappointing to read a book about Audrey and find she was really a heartless (insert rude word!)

'The only known instance of Audrey behaving badly was during the extremely arduous filming of My Fair Lady. She had been training nonstop for several months, in addition to singing lessons, dancing lessons, elocution lessons with a professor from UCLA, putting up with Rex Harrison's ego, and practically carrying the entire picture herself. One fateful day, the musical director, Andre Pevin - possibly taking pity on all her hard work - finally let her know that her singing voice was not going to be used in the film. She said "Oh," walked off the set, out the door and went home.
The next day she returned and apologised.'

Boy, I love Audrey! Imagine if we all had that sort of self-control under pressure.
It says later in the book that 'she was her public image. And that would shock most people, because her public persona was so amazing that you couldn't imagine that anyone could actually be like that!'

I am hoping to make an Audrey inspired quilt soon.
Thanks to Porch Swing Quilts, I have found a wonderful palette builder toy to play with (see this post). And putting a photo of Audrey into the palette builder, it came up with these lovely colours. 

How gorgeous would these look in a quilt?!

Sorry, I am getting distracted and away from the yarn part of the post!

Last week I did some needle felting and loved it so much, I did some more for another little girl's birthday (you can see the whole gift in yesterday's post, here).

I made her a tea party set with these needle felted biscuit treats included.

Yesterday, I posted a very basic tutorial on how I made the gingerbread man. 

And knitting wise, I am still working on the gorgeous yarn shawl - only 6 rows to go on 207 stitches, then 5 rows on 621 stitches for the frill. Then finished!

And a new toy to play with. How have I never seen one of these before?!

Stay tuned for some automatic French knitting projects soon!

Linking today with Small Things for Yarn Along.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

I Am In Love With Needle Felting

Now for a final update on last week's girlie sewing - the gift in total.

One pretty, frilly apron, as modeled by Cuddlepie.

One silver box with some needle felted biscuit treats and a set of eight fabric tea bags.

And all wrapped in a hand-dyed pink, purple and yellow playsilk to use as a tablecloth for her little tea party table.

I had such fun making the needle felted treats. I am pretty sure the boys need some!

This is how I made the gingerbread man.
This is a good Youtube video, Needle Felting Basics for Beginners.

I started out with this Ashford Needle Felting kit, but have since bought more wool to top it up.

Fill the gingerbread cutter with wool and start to felt it down. I filled it to the top and the wool felted down to about a third of that. Once it is firmly felted down, add another layer. Keep doing this until it is thick enough.
See how I am felting this straight onto the foam mat? No! Do not do this! The foam mat should be covered in a piece of flannel fabric, so your felted piece doesn't become part of the foam. I found this out the hard way!

See all the little bits of foam stuck in there? I had to trim them all out and then felt another layer on top. 

Once you are happy with the thickness of the gingerbread body, lift it from the foam and needle felt the edges and any stray pieces of wool. 

Then it is time to add the icing. Take some white wool and roll it between your palms until you have a long, relatively tight roll. Start to needle felt it down around the edges of the body.

I found that as I needle felted, I had to keep the tension on the roll of wool. And sometimes even twisted it to make it tighter and skinnier.

Once you have gone all the way round, take a few tiny pieces of white wool and roll into balls for the eyes and buttons. Take the smallest piece of wool you can and then halve it. You will not believe just how tiny a piece of wool you need to make the eyes and buttons. Also make a teeny tiny roll of white wool to make the smile. Needle felt these in position. As they are so tiny, you would need to hold them and needle felt very close to your fingers - dangerous! You can hold them in place with the rounded edge of a teaspoon.

When you are finished, neaten up all the edges by needle felting into the sides.

The other biscuits were done freeform. For the round ones just form a ball of wool and start felting it, adding more where needed. For the square ones, I start with a long rectangle of wool and fold it into thirds to make a square. Start needle felting until you are happy with the shapes. Add embellishments as desired - icing, sprinkles, some cherries, choc chips, anything you can imagine!
Needle felting is a forgiving medium - there are no rights or wrongs, just play around with the wool. It is not forgiving on fingers however, if you happen to miss! I drew blood a few times and broke one needle by hitting the cookie cutter. The needles are quite fragile and break really easily.

Needle felting is SO much fun! I am hoping to try out some 3D shapes soon.

Like these ones
Look how realistic this one is!

Linking today with Frontier Dreams for Keep Calm Crafting On.

Colour Monday

After a stinking hot weekend, during which the children hardly slept as they were too hot and sweaty, the weather has cooled down and I am ready to play with colour!

I had a lovely afternoon yesterday at our local pub, a lovely old bluestone, for our first monthly Crafternoon. I haven't met up with a group for crafting in years, so it made me SO happy to attend. Hanging out for next month!

Isn't is a lovely bluestone building? It is was built in 1861 and was the stopover for the Cobb & Co coaches six times a week. I just love to imagine the people who would have visited - the ladies in their so gorgeous dresses and all the local sheep farmers. 

Here we are knitting! Ha, ha! But really I can just imagine this being a place that women may have gathered during the war to knit their bit for the troops. 

This week's colour palette theme is something beautiful. 

And I cannot go past Audrey Hepburn for something beautiful. She is so lovely! I hope to plan a quilt using the Audrey palette soon. Just trying to think what style/blocks would suit her. Any suggestions?
Linking today with Porch Swing Quilts for Colour Monday.