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.