Sunday, August 31, 2008
Do you feel stressed? I feel stressed. As a consequence, some Opal, TOFUtsies, ONline and Patonyle are in the destash bin at Ravelry. I'd love it if you could take it off my hands (and off my spare bed).
In view of the fact I've only ever made three pairs of socks, and but seem to have a full Icelandic winter's worth of sock yarn, I ploughed ahead and finished off my Everest socks (besides, Nurse Scott had me on sofa confinement last night and there was nothing else to do.
Could this mean a *ahem* Finished Object??
(Do you like my PJs?)
Pattern: Ribbed Hiker Socks from the Crocheted Socks book by Janet Rehfeldt (could link, but couldn't be shagged). I called them Everest Socks. I have no idea why I did that.
Yarn: Patons Patonyle in blue.
Hooks: 3.75 mm for cuff and heel, 4.0 mm for foot.
Notes: I refused to do the stupid stitch specified in the pattern for the foot, so I just did single crochet instead. I also totally altered the heel flap as NO ONE can have a heel as big as Our Janet seems to think people have. The leg is also shorter. Let's face it, there are so many annotations on this pattern I may as well write it up as my own. And as bulky as they look, these socks are perfect for getting on to my huge foot. And they're comfy. So there, crochet naysayers.
As soon as the ends were sewn in on these, I started another pair.
They are called Pebbled Sand, from the same book. I'm using some lovely Regia Canyon sock yarn via my German Crack Connection, and it's a shame that the yarn and pattern don't match each other, but I'm enjoying the surprise that comes around each turn. Besides, I'm a crocheter and no one ever said I had to have sense and good taste as well.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
My customers are so clever and this needlebook is one example of that. A certain demon squirrel mitten knitting friend commissioned a demon squirrel needle book using red or blue felt, with red or blue fabric for the squirrel. We put our heads together came up with something even better, using blue felt on the outside, red felt on the insides, and red thread and fabric. It gives a kind of harlequin effect.
I like it. I hope Bron likes it. I think there might be more snazzy needlebooks in different colours soon.
In another example of how clever you all are, I noticed that people had started using the sunnyboy bags as sock project bags. I could never recommend this as I thought they would be too small, and the zipper would make it too awkward - instead I recommended them to be used for storing your ephemera and sewing notions.
When a few of us got together a couple of weeks ago, out came all these sunnyboys holding sock projects. I was initially horrified - and then I realised how genius it was, as everything fitted well, the bag sat flat on the table, and the zipper didn't catch on anything. That's when I realised I hadn't actually made a sunnyboy for myself recently (other than the first little one a couple of months ago) and I needed to make one. Right. Now. But first I had to find the perfect fabric for it.
And there you go - it fits a sock project.
I've been a long-time listener of Craft Sanity podcasts, and this week I had the fortune to listen to Jennifer interview Emily Martin of The Black Apple fame. I know some of my friends are looking into launching a craft business as well, and I can't recommend this interview highly enough. Emily has taught me a few things which are pertinent to my own business, including keeping your sources and your technique a mostly-guarded secret (oh, the stories I could tell!). And to never let Martha Stewart work out your income with a calculator so she can blab on her show.
Finally, I wanted to sincerely thank you for your get-well messages, and also the couple of visits I got over the last two days. I'm still not very well, and I don't think I will be for some time but I am getting a little better every day. I have learned I need to be patient, and as we all know, patience is not a virtue I possess. Caring friends, though? Those I have by the bucketload. I'm very lucky.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Am very sore, and very, very tired.
Also, thank you to my lovely girls who sent me flowers. It was a complete surprise - you're the best.
Back in a few days. I'll try to get Mr QM to send out the orders for the shop in the next couple of days.
And let it be known that when I said I wanted a Week of Me, this isn't what I had in mind. Trust me.
Friday, August 22, 2008
It's been a funny old week. I spent lots of time with friends, including a particularly wonderful Tilley's knit and crochet session with Rosered, who was down from Sydney, and a few other lovely people. Time with my friends always lifts my spirits.
I received my very cute owl from the Softies for Mirabel auction. Name? Pigwidgeon, of course.
I spent some time spent trying to fix up our front garden, levelling dirt, digging holes, planting and removing grass.
A lot of time was spent sewing stuff for the shop (which is now, thankfully, updated). I am so thankful that there are a bunch of Australian designers making such beautiful fabric for me to work with.
A little bit of time was spent finishing the Matinee Swing Jacket (there'll be photos some other time - the ones I currently have are craptacular).
But now I need to spend some time with me, and for me. I need a weekend of movies and sewing for pleasure. I want to pretty up my frog pond with some Japanese inspiration. I want to stop thinking so much. The weekend of me may well just turn into a week of me. One can only hope.
This post was originally so negative in tone, I was horrified and spent another four hours putting a positive spin on it. That's me - all about the happy. :(
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
When fruit looks this good, I'm happy to oblige.
The Wollmeise arrived today. When I picked the parcel up at my local post office, I saw the Deutschland postmark and squealed "Ooh! The Wollmeise!" and I hugged it. That poor post office lady must see some sights in her working day.
Speaking of socks, this morning I starting putting my Cherry Tree Hill Loden lace socks on, and discovered this.
I was gutted. And now I know how Kylie feels with her felted socks. The yarn has actually broken - no moths. The socks were always a bugger to put on and I had to do it really carefully. Obviously there was a time when I wasn't careful enough. Me and my stupid size 11 feet.
Unfortunately the break is at the top of the socks and there's no way to fix it. I may just rip this one and make it again. I don't know. But I'm doubly gutted because these were prize winning socks!
In Ravelympics 2008 news, the Matinee Swing Jacket is coming along nicely. I'm hoping, with a night of crochet, and maybe a morning off from Buttontree Lane (there'll be another update on Friday night, by the way - do you like how I slipped that bit of news in? Cunning, aren't I?), that it will be finished by tomorrow night. I have just 1 1/2 sleeves, the sewing up, and the collar to do.
We shall see! The proof! The pudding! Oh the calories! Better pass me more fruit!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Page 315 is Pizza Casareccia. Nigella says you can substitute the ingredients, and even though I don't need Nigella's permission to do anything of the sort, I did -mainly because I don't fancy pizza with anchovies and gherkins. I used these toppings instead.
I started with the base - I didn't have any olive oil left so used canola instead. There isn't much oil in the dough - only a couple of tablespoons, but it gives the dough a lovely glossy and chewy consistency. And then after a couple of hours, the pizza evolved to this. It's a very odd shape because as I've mentioned before, I am completly uncoordinated and pushing that pizza into a uniform shape was beyond me.
After the base had cooked it looked like this:
(That's not blur - it's steam)
And ten minutes later I had this. It was gone in 20 minutes, but I've promised I will make it again.
Friday, August 15, 2008
He started out being a little shy.
But then he got brave enough to take a peek at his new home.
Hello little fellow. I like your moustache. May I call you Errol?
He unzipped his mouth, and he said "Certainly, ma'am!"
And then he blew me a kiss.
I love Errol. I think he's going to be good company when I'm home alone all day.
Errol said he had other friends over at Robot A Day. It's going to take all my will power to not also get a Sheep Bot, or a Zeus Bot. No, I think Errol will do for now.
I've just done an after-midnight mini update of the shop. The mister is taking a rec day tomorrow (which is now today), and as much as I love working from home, I am also sick of being super lonely with no one to talk to except the sunnyboys. So I've decided to take the day off too.
First stop on our day off is Gus' for breakfast. Mmmmm. Then I'm hoping I can convince him to take a trip to the Glassworks.
And then I might just sit on the couch for the rest of the day and finish off my matinee jacket.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Because I do tend to rave.
But here be a YouTube beginner's course for our friends who not be fans already.
(Yes, there be grown men singing sea shanties in a stadium full of youngsters).
How many other songs can you name that mention keeping the whiskey cool in a coffin? Eh? How many?
I first heard Great Big Sea on a kitchen party Chieftains album I picked up at the ABC shop for $9. They sang aboot Lukey's green boot. I fairly jumped around the room when I first heard it.
A warning for the innocent though - on doing further Great Big Sea YouTube searches, you may come across some videos where GBS is performing with Russell Crowe. Don't touch them. I don't know what me boys were thinkin' but there may have been too much old black rum.
I can't get their albums in Australia, but blessed be the iTunes shop. I just got their new album.
I think they like their jobs, don't you?
We'll be back to regular crafty unemployed bum news tomorrow. And I have to tell you that I feel bad about yesterday's post - I was too harsh on those public servants. Today they were really nice to me. We shared the pain together.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
This morning, not 15 minutes after noticing that my bruises from the bike stack 10 days ago had almost faded, I walked out the back door and fell flat onto the freezing cold concrete porch. God knows how I managed that, but I think I need a chiropracter. Everything hurts and I feel all crooked.
I'm the queen of the uncoordinated.
One of the conditions of being made redundant in May was the promise of a fair whack of funding towards courses for "re-training". So that's what I'm currently doing. Today was the first day of one of the courses, and I swear I have never met a more humourless bunch of executives. They are so humourless they I don't think I want to re-enter the public service for fear of becoming just like them. I cracked a joke today, and they actually frowned at me. Frowned.
I shall have to remind myself that I know some very cool public servants who are both funny and clever. Otherwise I'll be a crafting unemployed bum forever.
Hopefully tomorrow will come and go quickly. Besides, I want to get back to what I love doing most - being a crafting unemployed bum.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I was originally going to make the Barcelona jacket, but chickened out at the last minute. All the shapelessness and flouncy sleeves was making me nervous. I've already ripped out one cardi this year - I'd prefer not to repeat that experience in a hurry.
So I ended up switching to the Matinee Swing Jacket (Ravelry link), which had been in my queue for some time. And boy, I'm pleased I did!
I think it's going to turn out really nicely, even though I'm only on the back, and almost finished the decreases for the raglan shape. I had to go up size in hook to a 7 mm (with 7.5 mm for the foundation chain), but that's fine. I'm using some stunningly beautiful Bendigo Rustic in Red Currant. Love.
And I would love to sit my bottom on the sofa all day today and finish the back and maybe a front, but in very exciting news I scored a feature on the very clever blog Canberra's Got Style and I suddenly realised that the Buttontree Lane shelves are looking very bare.
So later on today, expect a mini-update of (hopefully) a matroyshka sunnyboy, some medium project bags, some needlebooks (including one in a fabulous new colour which I discovered while ferreting in my sewing room this morning) AND a neckwarmer.
Mingling, and she agreed I could sell them, so I will. But I am also designing my own neckwarmer which I'm hoping will be very clever and very cute and ... oh you'll just have to wait and see!)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
A cold day with a few showers, falling as snow at times. Snowfalls more frequent over the ranges. Moderate to fresh and gusty west to northwesterly winds, strengthening about the higher ground.
Precis: Few showers/snow showers.
City: Max 7
Tuggeranong: Max 7
Which explains why the rain falling on our deck looks all lumpy. It's freaking snowing.
I don't think I'll be riding my bike to the quilt show this morning.
Friday, August 8, 2008
We had rain last night, but this morning dawned bright, clear and cold. My favourite kind of day. I had a lot of fun in the garden with crocheted brooches.
And then the sunnyboys got in the act.
(I think my buddleja needs a desperate, desperate prune.)
We concluded with a grand finale from the needle books.
Yes, the shop has been updated.
In very exciting news, Ravelympics 2008 begins tonight. I'm batting for Team Oz, and I'm contesting the Sweater Sprint and the Mitten Medley. I am so organised - the patterns were sorted a month ago. Yet also so disorganised - I have yet to decide on yarn for either project, let alone do a test gauge. So we may be off to a false start.
And in other exciting news, the Canberra Quilt and Craft Fair is on at the moment, and the quilt I was showing off a couple of weeks ago is in it. It didn't get a prize (I am not a very good quilter, so never expect them), but I helped put the quilts up on Wednesday morning and they are spectacular, especially Jenny Bowker's winning quilt. I'm headed there on the weekend to do some stunt quilting, so I'll see more then.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
My friend Ruth from Finland has spent the last two months in Japan and kindly offered to go fabric shopping for me in Nippori, at Tomato. (Coincidentally, Erin from A Dress A Day went to Tomato around the same time Ruth did). We arranged a monetary limit and then I let her decide what I would like, just so long as the fabric was a medium to heavy weight. I tell you, for someone who has never met me in real life, she knows my tastes pretty well.
I mean, penguins. I love penguins! These fabrics arrived the same day as the clapotis from mum, and the clappy almost took second place in the oohing and aahing olympics. The turtle fabric is double sided. The brown fabric is something I'm going to have to get more of when I travel to Japan later this year. I need to make a shirt or something out of it - it's stunning.
In the last week, I've also received these.
1. Pippijoe and Hollabee fabrics
2. Fabric from Kimono Reincarnate
3. Aunty Cookie fabric
Oh my. I suppose I should just go and sew something.
But because people have asked, I will be updating the shop this Friday evening. There'll be needle books, sunnyboy pouches and maybe some other things. Who knows? I haven't made anything yet. But I got a motherload of fabric from both Japan and Australia this week and I'm itching to make stuff with it.
But first, I need to head out to exhibition park with my bruised bum and my treadly and help hang some quilts for the show. It's like a sneak preview, people! I can't wait!
Monday, August 4, 2008
When I moved to Canberra, AKA Sweater Heaven, mum continued to knit for me until about the mid 90s when, I suppose, I resisted as hand knits were a bit passe and it was getting difficult as I would get the pattern and the yarn, send it to mum, she'd knit it up without having me there to measure it against, then she'd send it down and hope like hell that it would fit (it always fitted. She's a genius).
Last night some of the girls were over for our quilting night (where not much quilting gets done but a hell of a lot of knitting and crochet and coffee-drinking does) and I pulled out some of Mum's masterpieces.
The reminiscing occurred because when I arrived home yesterday I was thrilled to receive this.
Again, I got mum the yarn (some of Donni's Habu Baby Alpaca) and the pattern from Knitty, but it was up to her to find that one week of winter in Far North Queensland where it was comfortable enough to knit. Apparently winter happened last week.
Mum tells me this pattern had her flummoxed for some time, and I made it worse for her when I told her it must be easy - 7000 people on Ravelry have made one. Oops. And then she asked me what the hell a stitch marker is, because she'd never heard of such a thing. I directed her to the instructions for doing what Bells did with hers, and she ended up knitting it that way. Seems the new way knitting patterns are written can bamboozle even those who have been knitting for more than 40 years and have done cables and complex fairisle work.
Anyway, I love that Mum still knits for her non-knitting daughter. And I love that she knows I appreciate all the hard work that goes into her beautiful creations.
Thanks Mum! xoxo
Sunday, August 3, 2008
1. Use the right needle for the right job. I'm really serious about this. And change your needle regularly. It's the first thing I do when my machine or fabric starts acting up, and each time I kick myself that I didn't change it earlier.
2. Get to know your sewing machine feet. They look scary and totally impractical, but they really want to be your friends!
3. Listen to the advice of friends, no matter how much you like to think you know it all. You don't have to take the advice, but just listening can be more helpful and more inspiring than you could imagine.
4. This isn't a craft trade secret, this is a blogging trade secret. For goodness' sake, if you blog about your work and your workmates in a negative way, and people know or can guess where you work, you're taking big risk. Never heard of Dooce? The term "dooced"? Go and familiarise yourself.
Thanks to Three Buttons, and thanks to Amelia as well!