Thursday, December 27, 2007

"What I did on my summer holiday" by Quiltingmick, age 38

Holidays can be tough

You know, this holiday business can be really quite difficult. The surf, the sun, the relaxation, the reading. Spending that much time in close quarters with family is never easy but I still like to think we had a Good Time.

Sewing in the tropics

Some sewing on the 2010 Canberra Quilters Exhibition Entry was done.

Radiant Shawl progress #1

On night two of our holiday, somewhere in the wilds of Bellingen, I got started on another Radiant Shawl. Any wonky stitches are purely the work of a gin-deranged crafter, and not necessarily of this artist.

There was much swimming, a little sun, visiting of my aunt and uncle in the hinterland, a couple of trips to BrisVegas to see a dear friend and the christening of the little one...

Full belly.

And Christmas lunch QM family-style. Sensational baked ham and turkey by my brother, cooked prawns provided by mum and salads provided by Hugo's nana and myself. Just lovely.

We just got home tonight after two very long days on the road. The house sitters even made us dinner! And we got to pick some produce from our over-exuberant garden. The garden looks like we've been away or much longer than two weeks. I anticipate that many hours will be spent taming tomato plants tomorrow.

Bountiful harvest

But first, sleep.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

And now the time has come

In less than 24 hours we'll be leaving for Queensland. Are we ready? Absolutely not. I even have to go into work - to do work on my holiday - just before we leave. Nuts.

The scarves were given to friends at lunch today and they seemed to go down a treat. I managed to finish blocking the Boteh just before I left for Civic.

Boteh scarf

Pattern: Boteh scarf from Interweave Crochet Spring 2007

Yarn: Cleckheaton Bamboo 2 1/2 balls (so about 125g in total)

Hook: 4 mm bamboo

Notes: As lovely as the bamboo was to work with, this pattern is probably best (and probably would keeps it's shape better) with sock wool.

Finished, blocked and ready to gift

I'll be sitting on a beach at Alex until the 27th, but I would like to wish all you lovely people a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy holiday (if you are taking one). This year has been a blast craft-wise and I hope there are many more adventurous years like this ahead.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Crocus pocus

Christmas gift number two is finished and blocked. Oh how I do love me a good steam blocking - the power of the pins and the steam and a rest on a comfy doona really does a crocheted item some good, doesn't it?

Crocus scarf - finished

Crocus scarf - detail

Pattern: Crocus scarf from
Knitting Daily/Interweave

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit Bosco 100 g - I used only 63 g though

Hook: 3.25 mm bamboo

Notes: I made an extra pattern repeat as I wanted it to be wider. I also made the end edging plan old double crochet - I think the pattern in the scarf is loud enough without needing a frou-frou edging. I love how it worked up, and I will be making it again using a solid colour. This one is a gift and I'll be sad to part with it.

I had a wonderful afternoon today at the delightful Bells' house having afternoon tea with fellow yarn people. During the week I'd managed to snaffle some of Donni's alpaca yarn on Etsy and she hand delivered the parcel - it is just so beautiful and soft and lovely. Almost as much fun as a Koigu pet! I'm giving it to Mum so she can knit me a Clapotis.

Habu Alpaca Yarn

Four sleeps to go and only one-and-a-half days left at work before I take almost a month off. All the fruit cakes have been made, the housesitters have been briefed and Mr QM was a trooper and mowed the lawn. I think we are on track!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Many's the time I've been mistaken

Block of the Month 2007 - block 1 detail

I am a quilter first and foremost. But this year, for the first time ever, I lost my way. I made a lovely quilt in February for myself, then something happened and I lost interest. Perhaps it was getting back into crochet after so long, and making a ripple rug for Hugo that did it. I don't think I will ever know.

In the meantime, I started a mystery block of the month (my fourth!) in February. Much homework should have been done; enough homework that by month 11 - tonight's class - I would have been sewing the quilt together.

Instead I am still appliqueing March's block and I did not bring my sewing machine to class tonight as there would have been no point. But I am back on the path of quilting enlightenment again. I have regained the passion for needle and thread, and I'm sure there will be enough room in my life to do both crochet and quilting.

The Boteh scarf has stalled. The Crocus scarf was doing well until I started hating the edging I was giving it.

Crocus scarf edging

See? I bet you hate it too. I am going to rip it out and put a simple double crochet edge on the ends. Sometimes simple is best.

I've a big weekend planned - swimming in the morning, afternoon tea with a friend we met in Fiji, dinner with our usual "party of six", a knitterly afternoon tea on Sunday, two fruit cakes to bake, a yard to mow, a batch of rumballs to roll, a linen closet to clean, housesitters to train ... and the laundry to be done. All we need is a partridge in the pear tree and we'll know we've gone insane.

Six days to go. Eight days until I feel little toddler arms wrapped around my neck. The wee-wee jiggle has started in earnest.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Almost done

First things first - Simply Sock Yarns is having a fabulous sale on some Opal, Meilenweit and a heap of other sock yarns. Run! Don't walk! Unless you are like me and are on a yarn diet too ... in which case I am more than happy to sit here with you while we fondle Patons Totem together.

You will remember that I had three Christmas gifts to crochet. I have done the shawl, and now have two scarves to finish off. If I can get one Christmas cake made by today, I'm giving myself the night off so that I can hopefully finish both gifts by the end of the weekend.

I started the Crocus scarf last night and it's looking really lovely. Too bad I can't get a decent photo of the colour - it is a lovely striped sock yarn with shades of avocado - greens and yellows. Just beautiful, and I'm so glad I found a nice pattern to use this yarn with.

Crocus Scarf

This rain we've been having for the last 24 hours is just divine. This morning I noticed my tomato plants had shot up by about a foot in the last week and I had to quickly stake them. My snow peas are actually giving me snow peas! That's what we are having in our salad for tea tonight. We have started feeding friends and neighbours with our lettuce - Leisl got a bag over the fence this morning, and Patricia took a big bag back to Sydney with her last Sunday (along with about 500 frozen quiches).

And this afternoon we noticed some strange looking weeds near our recently-planted pittosporum hedge. Weeds? Tomato plants! I have no idea what happened, but neighbours tell us this area used to be the old vegie garden before we moved in. Perhaps when we dug the soil to plant the hedge, tomato seeds in the ground germinated? Or perhaps the homemade compost we added to the soil had given us more than nutrients, although I'm pretty sure I learnt in botany that you couldn't grow tomatoes from store-bought tomatoes. We get most of our tomatoes from the farmers' market though, so maybe?

We are going to dig them up and re-plant them at the back of the garden to see what happens. Stay tuned.

Twelve sleeps until we leave for Queensland. Can't wait.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Let the stars keep on turning

My friend Cathy's brother Michael was in a terrible accident at the start of this year, and is currently residing in the spinal ward in a Sydney Hospital. Michael and his fellow spinal ward mates are doing Movember this year. If you haven't already sponsored someone with an ugly mo' at work, then please consider sponsoring Michael or one of his mates. All money is going to such a great cause.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, on to more trivial matters! Finally I had a chance to steam block and photograph the Radiant Shawl. I think this took me about a week to make, and I didn't tire of making it once.

Radiant Shawl

Pattern: Radiant Lace Shawl from
Yarn Magazine issue 8

Yarn: Grignasco Bambino 4 ply baby wool in royal blue - 3 balls (672 m in total - I was left with 1 metre of yarn!)

Hook: 4.5 mm bamboo

Notes: This is so very soft. I could have made it bigger, but I liked the idea of a compact little shawl which just sat on the shoulders. I'll make another one - but with a bigger hook and a bigger span for my bigger shoulders. Plus next time I'll actually check my guage - I was naught with this one and didn't, hence the extra ball of yarn required.

Radiant Shawl - up close

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Now I'm a believer

SnB tonight, a great excuse to get out of the house and meet up with some yarny friends. The lovely Taph surprised me tonight with a gift - 2 balls of Opal Prisma yarn. Just gorgeous! Thank you Taph!

My blue Radiant Shawl was finished last night, but I am yet to block it or take a decent photo of it to share. Tomorrow I promise!

The weekend was just wonderful - a friend visiting from Sydney, a lot of baking, not enough people turning up to the part to eat the food ... but to be honest we didn't care as the government was kicked out and we got ourselves a new one. Ecstatic would be an understatement - we whooped and hollered and cheered and toasted each time a coalition seat fell.

Now of course there is much uncertainty at work, but I think we are all so happy that we may get a humane PM and government, we really don't care if we end up in another department.
Only 2 weeks and 2 days to go and we are in the car headed home to Queensland. So much to do, so much to do ...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Now she's thinking of the red soil and those mango trees

At work I'm absolutely drowning in financial profiles and project plans and mid year accounting reviews. Outside of work I'm absolutely drowning in crochet and baking and cleaning and sorting and laundry ... but the difference is I'm absolutely loving the stuff outside of work. How I would love to take 6 months off work right now...

But I digress.

The reason for such busy-ness at home is fourfold. My good friend P is coming to visit from Sydney this weekend. We are anticipating much coffee on the deck, Mr QM's home cooked breakfasts and long talks under the stars. On top of this, I'm co-hosting an election party with the lovely J and her daughter. Lucky for me I just get to bake and bring the stuff to J's house.

And before I move onto the last two reasons for busy-ness ...

'nuff said
That's all.

I've been crocheting Christmas gifts. Boteh was more than half done the other night when I discovered a big oops and had to rip out three triangles. The Radiant Shawl is looking lovely only I needed to get a third ball of wool today as I am a complete idiot (i.e. I didn't do a gauge swatch). The present for S will be a Crocus scarf and I have the yarn picked out - Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Bosco, a gorgeous yarn I picked up late one night while shopping at Simply Sock Yarn.

And finally, we are heading to Queensland 3 weeks from today and I am losing sleep over it. So much to do before we leave, although we have housesitters so that is one less thing to stress about.

Today I had a specialist appointment at Calvary, and on the way back to work I popped into Cassidy's at Jammo to pick up another ball of the Bambi for the shawl. And came out again with that plus 18 balls of Patons Totem in a gorgeous pale olive colour. $2 a ball. Sure, you can go to Cassidy's and see what else you can find, but I'm pretty sure Georgie and I have cleaned both stores out. Maybe. Probably.

So this turned into a post about absolutely nothing. I couldn't even rustle up a photo. Slacker. But isn't this rain lovely??

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Swim with me to keep this boat afloat

Thanks for the support on my huge rant from Friday night. To clarify, I don't want everyone to like crochet, but I just want people not to hate so much, and be abusive in that hate.. That's how wars start, people.

The flies and chronic hayfever have stopped me from gardening past 9.30 in the morning, but I've still managed to mow the grass (note that I don't write "lawn"), move another barrel, fill it with soil and plant rocket and baby spinach, and also plant some more strawberries.

Look at my snow peas!

Snow peas

This lettuce is growing so fast that we can't eat it fast enough.


After gardening it's back inside for a shower, a handful of anti-histamines and the rest of the day on the sofa crocheting with the Gilmore Girls. Not that I'm complaining, mind you!

Yesterday I went to the Rose Gardens and Old Parliament house to watch the wedding of a dear friend's daughter. Between the roses, the beautiful bridal party and the carefree attitude of the bride and groom, this was probably the prettiest wedding I have ever been to. Inspired by the prettiness of it all, I went shopping straight afterwards.

Pretty Grignasco Strong Print sock wool. Probably it will be a Radiant Shawl for me. And Cleckheaton Country 8 ply at the very pretty price of $2.

Grignasco Strong Print

In the mailbox , I had some pretty stitch markers which I'd bought on Etsy, made just for crochet!

Stitch markers Stitch markers

And my pretty Radiant Shawl is still coming along nicely, thank you for asking. I can't wait to finish it!

Radiant shawl - day 2

Friday, November 16, 2007

Whatever. Nevermind. *

I've calmed down a little. And taken some of the harsher sentences out.

Although I have been a crocheter since I was a wee lass, I'd never been part of a knitting or crochet community until about March or April this year. No Stitch 'n' Bitch. No Ravelry. No Knitting Daily newsletters or CrochetMe or even blogging about crochet.

I do occasionally wonder about the hostility and (dare I say it?) hatred towards crocheted items both online and in real life.

I know how to knit. I just don't like it. I prefer to crochet. If you don't like crochet or the fact that I crochet and don't knit, keep your opinion to yourself - I'm not interested. And if, for heaven's sake, a free daily knitting newsletter dares to bring some news and information about crochet, just once every couple of months, why should it matter to you?
Why all the hatred?

* please note this post is not directed at anyone personally. I'm just tired of the general attitude. It sucks, it's hurtful, and it's enough to make me want to go back to blogging about quilting and gardening only.

Now, for those who hate crochet, you can look away now. Go over to Yarn Harlot or something. She hates crochet too.

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Currently quite poor due to an antique solar hot water system which needs replacing, I've decided to crochet all my friends' Christmas gifts this year. Lucky for me I only have three friends ;-)

The Boteh for J continues, and I am still enamoured of the Cleckheaton Bamboo.
Boteh continues

I bought the Yarn magazine for the first time yesterday, mainly because I finally saw a crocheted item I liked (they only ever have one project at most in the magazine so I have to make sure it's worth me spending my money on it). The Radiant Lace Shawl is just lovely - not too sure the Bambi yarn is doing it justice, but I didn't have any lovely handspun on me at home. This shawl is for H when she is working late at night in her office in Melbourne.

Radiant Lace Shawl

I haven't slept in two days and I'm wiped. I'm going to bed and tomorrow morning I shall probably die of embarassment over this post, but I'm still mad. I'll probably just keep it to myself in future (ironically, I wonder why people who hate crochet can't keep that to themselves?).

Friday, November 9, 2007

Listen to the voices, the ones that are calling me

Last night I came to an awful realisation. I'm sure many of you have come to the same realisation before. I'd been crocheting the back for Short and Sweet, and was 12 inches into it. Suddenly I thought to look at the instructions. Yep. I should have stopped at 6 inches, added the two front pieces, and then continued making the body as one piece.

What a fool.

As much as I love the pattern that is Short and Sweet, I really hate crocheting with the Bamboozle. But I love the feel and the drape of what I have done so far, so I think I will frog and then make a concerted effort to finish it. Just not right now.

Has anyone made anything with this yet?

Cleckheaton Bamboo

Because I have and it is MAGNIFICENT stuff. I'm crocheting another Boteh scarf as a Christmas gift for a friend. Love. That's what it is. True love.

Boteh scarf number 2

This rain we've been having all night has been beautiful - a great start to what will hopefully be a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Don't want to see you hear you be anywhere near you

I've a stunning case of gastro. It started yesterday morning, continued through a morning of work, where unlike 80% of the Department of Industry, I was trying to be industrious by not having a 4 day long weekend.

By 2 pm I was ready to take a cab home, but unfortunately (fortunately?) Mr QM was feeling equally crappy (sorry!) and drove both of us home. From there we both went to separate beds and didn't emerge (except for my frequent trips to the loo) until 8 this morning.

I am now feeling marginally better. I managed to get a couple of rows of Short and Sweet done while watching Sex and the City, but really, it was just a feeble attempt to take my mind off an extremely painful stomach.

Short and sweet - progress

Perhaps I should think about some soup and some dry toast for dinner, but then I wonder what the point of that would be? I don't fancy another night of this pain.

Short and sweet - progress

On the weekend, when we suspect all this intestinal trouble started, we went to Wagga for the wedding of our nephew Ashley and his sweetheart Ellen. It was a beautiful wedding in the botanic gardens, which I would show you if I had bothered to bring a camera. I managed to take a couple of rubbish photos with the Nokia at the reception. This one is of Mr QM, pre-gastro, with his big sister Carol. It was a good family turn-out with five of his eight siblings turning up (one of them being father of the groom, so he had no excuse for staying away).

Scott and Carol

It didn't rain for the ceremony, but it rained straight afterwards during the photos and all the way through the night. Ash and Ellen weren't worried though - they were having a fabulous day regardless of the rain.

Ellen and Ashley

Monday, October 29, 2007

Breathe in

Ah, a lovely weekend made even better by having a day off today. I'm not doing any of the stuff I ought to be doing, but as Bertrand Russell said, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time". I live by that. It's my mantra.

One finished sock

I seem to recall in a previous post mentioning the finishing of the first sock in the
Kitty Knits yarn. Well, there it is. The second sock is well on it's way down the heel, and may well be finished by Wednesday.

We've been haunting the fabulous
Canberra International Film Festival all weekend, and in a particularly low point before the start of yesterday's movie (when we waiting 15 minutes for some dickhead from the American Embassy to welcome us) even Mr QM lamented the fact I had no crochet to keep me occupied. Indeed. During the wait I could have most of a heel. And I wouldn't have seemed so annoying to those around me. Tap tap. Moan moan.

Ooh, and before I forget. I got another two divine skeins from Kitty Knits today. They are so, so, so lovely!



Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going back to enjoying my wasted time in the garden.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

They ain't got what we got

First barbie of the season

Tonight we had the first barbie of the season - we would have had it 2 nights ago, but for all this glorious rain we've been having! Anyway, sitting out on the deck, crocheting a sock while Mr QM wielded the barbie tongs was my definition of bliss. No music on the stereo was required, as we were serenaded by the frogs in the pond as the currawongs sang a tune.

For whatever reason I am having another lovely lazy weekend, and it will be a long one as I have Monday off work. I want to get a heap of sewing done - I am very behind, and with the weather getting warmer I suddenly have nothing to wear. Poor Magda has been wearing the same half-made blouse for 4 months.

In SSOS news, I have finished the first sock of pair number 3 - using the lovely rosebud yarn from Katt. I used two different patterns for this sock and it my favourite sock yet - it fits beautifully and I quite enjoyed making a short-rowed heel.

It's too dark to take photos now - tomorrow perhaps.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's Pizzaiola!

And this is the moment that the quilting/crochet/gardening blog becomes a foodie blog too. Gawd. There is obviously no stopping me.

Porco Pizzaiola is a favourite dinner in Chez Quiltingmick - I've based it on Tessa Kiros' recipe from her "Twelve" book. It's perfect served with boiled potatoes tossed in sage and melted butter, with carrots and beans. And if veal wasn't so hideously expensive I'd be using that instead of pork.

First you flatten your pork or veal and cut into smaller pieces. Lightly pan fry, and layer in a dish (vintage pyrex makes it taste better - honestly!)

Lay the pork in the bottom of dish

Bring two 440g cans of diced tomatoes (hey I'd use fresh tomatoes but at $5.99 a kilo for fresh or 99 cents a tin at the IGA, let's not call Michelle a fool) to the boil, turn down to a simmer, add basil, thyme, pepper and salt and simmer for 20 mins until the reduced sauce is sweet. Don't be tempted to add sugar. The sauce will get sweeter the longer you cook it.


Ladle the sauce over the pork until all pieces are covered. Then pop some thin slices of mozzarella cheese on the top and whack it in the oven (180 degrees celcius) for 15 or 20 minutes.

Porco pizzaiola

Yes, my kitchen is that yellow.

While that's cooking, do your vegies. Or get a store-bought salad and do a few rows of sock knitting in the time you've saved.

Porco pizzaiola - benissimo!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

I don't like Mondays

Some days are just bad days. Like the days you wake up with a migraine but know you can't skip work as there is too much to do. And when you water your vegie patch you discover some little munching blighter has stripped every single leaf from your eggplant seedlings. And then you get treated like crap at Birkenstock at lunchtime (as usual).

Well sisters, I have a miracle cure to a bad day! It's best to anticipate the bad day about, oh, two weeks in advance. Pop over to a little online sock yarn shop, fill your virtual basket and then forget you ever ordered it.


The Koigu came today along with some other delights and it's very medicinal, let me tell you. I don't think I'll ever make anything from it. I just want it to be ... Koigu. And lovely.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Under the willow tree I will wait for you to come back to me

Another weekend over, some more vegetables planted and another sock finished. Please allow me to show you sock #1 of the ankle socks. The heel is a little strange (it's an after-thought kind of heel) and I'll be doing a proper short row heel next time I make a pair, but this sock is so, so comfortable to wear.

' '

And then I got a little bored with the Sullivans, and that gorgeous rosy stuff from Kattwings grabbed me by the throat. Not 3 minutes after I sewed in the ends of the green sock, I was crocheting the ribbed band for another pair of ankle socks. The ribbing continued through this afternoon's delightful SnB in Civic and all the way through Australian Idol. Currently I'm on to the heel, but earlier this evening I was here:

The viburnum's flowers are amazing

And just because my garden is so stunning at the moment that I can't believe my good fortune, here's my crabapple tree. With blossom. And bee.

Crabapple flowers

Tomorrow I hope to show you that this "quiltingmick" persona isn't just for shits and giggles. I am a quilter first and foremost. It seems though that I am eight months behind in my homework for a class and I have a crapload of homework to do. God knows how that happened, but I suspect a sudden unexpected love affair with crochet happened around May.

Photographic evidence of completed homework will follow. Yes. Yes it will.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hypnotized by a strange delight under a lilac tree

The first flush of lavender.

Lavender in the late afternoon

The last blooms of lilac.

Last of the lilacs

The viburnum is about to erupt, but what is this beautiful pink flower?

Strange looking rosy flower

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Wish I had a mango tree in my backyard

This afternoon I sat in the garden, and while Mr QM did this:

Mr QM in the act of tree stump removal

I did this:

In your shoes ankle socks

And came out with this:

In your shoes ankle socks

The Weekend of Doing Nothing is going well. Please send more chocolate and coffee.