Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Bag lady

knitting is happening, the arrows sock continues apace, but make boring blog photos, test knitting is frantic, and there has been some fun knitting...but the recipient reads the blog so...

I have been making gift bags.

Yesterday I bought 2 metres each of blue, pink and green 100% cotton gingham, I like gingham because it has lines, I am straight-line challenged, gingham helps.

I then cut out the peices for 48 bags, this was easy, because I just had to cut straight lines.

I then overlocked the top raw edge on all 48 peices, they looked like a string of flags

I was still having a good time, and the overlocker was happy, so I continued, and overlocked both side seams on each bag (having folded over one of the top edges to make a little pocket)

all were then trimmed, and turned right-side out, 48 little pillowcase type gift bags, some large, some small.


well work out how many gifts you give a much wrapping paper, cello, and tissue paper goes in the landfill, how many hours you spend searching for the sticky tape ( I swear I left it in the gift wrap drawer...) the frustration and time you can save by just popping those socks into a neat little drawstring bag (the recipient can keep them in that little bag) These are for birthdays and "just because".

I will get started on my Christmas bags soon, my local Spotlight has heaps of Christmas fabrics half price...or I might go with red and dark green gingham gotta love those straight lines!

links for starters: drawstring bags cookie bags Martha fabric envelopes Mel's gift bag tutorial

Friday, March 24, 2006


remember those framed prints evey little girl seemed to have in the '70s, the one with the ballet dancers with the big eyes, or maybe you had one of those "southern belle" doll lamps? I didn't have either, I had a poster of Mike Moore on my wall, his electorate office was over the road from my house, and my sister and I used to hang out there on our way home from school, they put up with us, and fed us milo and bikkies, anyway, I digress...

Emily (the blackapple) is an artist who has the cute, doe-eye genre perfected. I have just received an email from her with a photo of her portrait of Blaise, it is so cute I just had to share (Holly if you tell her you will incur my wrath - mind my words if you want Easter eggs this year)

I love the way she managed to include Blaise's monochromatic wardrobe (we hope its a phase), and the fact that one of her eyes is ever so slightly lower than the other. I am planning on portraits of all of our girls, then the back hallway in the Waihi house can be a rogues gallery!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

B is for bananas and buttons

no I didn't have an "A" and I probably won't have a "C"

I have been working on baby cardi commissions, which I can't show you yet, so that is "B" for boring you, as a peace offering I give you my banana bread recipe.

1/2 c butter or margarine (or 1/3 c oil)
1/2 c white sugar
1/2 c dark brown sugar (muscovado or molasses sugar)
2 beaten eggs
3 big bananas (or equivalent) mashed (must be very soft spotty bananas)
1 1/2 c plain flour
1/4 c ground hazelnuts (can substitute ground almonds - or just more flour)
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 t vanilla
2 t ground cinnamon
1 c raisins/ sultanas/ dried cherries or other berries

grease a loaf pan and line with baking paper
heat oven to 180 (350) degrees

Cream butter and sugar, add mashed bananas, vanilla and eggs, beat well. Sift flour, baking powder and baking soda, mix in ground nuts and cinnamon and add all to banana mixture, mix well. Add dried fruit. Pour into loaf pan, bake for an hour, check with skewer before removing from oven, outside should be quite dark, but not burnt.

As for the buttons,
I don't like putting plastic buttons on baby garments as a rule, its not a snobby thing, just a personal taste thing, if the buttons are decorative as well as practical, then I find it hard to use plastic. If they are just for closure, or need to be subtle, then there are many suitable plastic buttons.

Fine yarn doesn't mix well with ceramic or glass (too heavy) imagine my delight on discovering these sweet dyed shell buttons at my local button shop. They are so light, and the natural material catches the light beautifully. I'm thinking of buying some plain ones and experimenting to see if I can dye them when I dye yarn, matching buttons and yarns - a whole new realm of possibilities... I have 2 pages on my "to do" list...somebody stop me!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

slings and arrows

The arrows?
Holly's latest socks were boring me silly - so I ripped back, and added an arrowhead lace panel down each side, and if I had known it was this easy I would have done it years ago, I had been worrying about "how to do the purl rows" when I realised, if I chose a lace pattern where all of the action is on the knit rows, then I will be fine, and...I am.

So, to answer some comments from yesterday, the garments are baby dresses (jumpers - for our USA friends), they are my own design, the style, pattern and colourways. I may make the pattern available in the future.

In the meatime, I will be posting the free pattern for this wee plunket neck (envelope)baby singlet (vest,undershirt) in the next week or so ( you all know how long it takes me to write these things up).It is for a newborn and takes 25g (1 oz) of 3 ply yarn, I invented it to use up the skein I handpainted, as the blue was too dark for the project I was dyeing it for.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Oh Baby

Ummed and aahed about posting these,

However, I decided that I want to share, as I am so happy with the result.

Monday, March 13, 2006


I make it a rule not to blog twice on one day, however finding this electronic swatchbook from Sydney's Powerhouse museum forced me to break it.
If you have any interest in fabric, design, social history, whatever....GO LOOK!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

tweedledum and tweedledee

it is interesting how things turn out

the inspiration for this colourway was a photo of a tree in a lavender field in France - the picture is here and there are loads of other beautiful images at this site.

Both yarns were painted at the same time, with the same dye, cooked together etc.
The smaller ball is rabbit fur (not angora) it took the colour in an impressionistic way, subtle. The merino, on the other hand is anything but subtle, it is in-your-face loud!

this sample is the 3ply merino, still having problems with colour, the white patches are actually a light green.

I am finding this whole process of dyeing different yarns absolutely fascinating, I approach my bench like an alchemist, mixing minute amounts of this and that (don't let the kids catch me - they will want to try it!) and writing the results up like a science experiment, so that I can repeat the colours if I need to.

The house settlement went through, so all is well, and that stress has all gone.

winter is coming

Blaise and Charlotte are getting ready

hats as promised, Blaise's is the full length version, knit in handspun, Coco's is a smaller version (she's all about the style) in Grignasco Tyrol in the pink/grey colourway.

Holly, you haven't been forgotten, you are soooo lucky that these Trekking socks are just a little tight for me, because I LOVE them so much, but you get them, on -the-needles at the moment, more socks in Knitpicks sock garden - colourway "Hollyberry" one guess who they are for.

Help needed knitters - Maria thinks anything homemade without a "label" is dorky, - short of knitting a garter stitch scarf and sewing on a surf brand label cut from something old! (cos let's face it - most "label" knitwear isn't that inspiring) I can't find anything to make that she will wear.

Finally - a little on the domestic front, settlement on our Auckland house is today, fingers crossed that their are no final hurdle hiccups,then, no more tenant stress (the tenants in our villa are very reliable) no more mortgage (until we move back and buy another home) no more worry - can I get a YEE-HAW!

update: urgent email received this morning from lawyer in NZ "please advise whereabouts of transfer instrument as not received - need by 12 noon"

reply: "your receptionist Janet has it, we fed-exed it on monday"

just needed that extra little adrenalin boost.

Monday, March 06, 2006

angora a-bloom

I dyed these fuzzy little critters today, shades of coral, pink and green.

and found this picture at the Burning well site ( a repository of free to use images)

I haven't been around much have I? Lots of wee secrets going on (no, not 6.5sts kind of secret - go congratulate her!) just a bunch of things that need to be completed before I can show them to you.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Blaise has graciously relinquished her claim on the Rosa Mundi socks, instead we are sending them to a friend who needs a bit of cheer right now, I know her feet are small, so I hope these are not to big on her, and that she likes them.

I loved knitting this yarn, the striped effect was not unexpected, but the consistency of the stripes was, I thought the effect would peter out, and flaring would occur, but that only happened on the heel and toe, beginners luck huh!

In return for her generosity, Blaise will be rewarded with this hat, she has been coveting it for a while, luckily for me she doesn't realise that it will be a quick knit, basically a garter stitch rectangle in bulky yarn, with a flat back seam - easy!

I have not replied to most of the people who left such lovely comments after my first foray into handpainting yarn, I apologise, as I have been unwell since returning from NZ, but am well on the road to recovery now. Anyway, please take this as a thank you, I truly appreciate all of your comments, it felt nice to be able to make something that makes other people as happy as it makes me.