Sunday, October 28, 2007

Another SSC!

This one is possibly a bit loud, being printed all over, but I really like it.

The fabric is printed canvas from Spotlight, with 2 layers of calico in the body in between the two canvas layers. The buckles & webbing come from the Army Surplus Store and are much sturdier-feeling than the ones from Spotlight I used the first time. This time I padded the shoulder straps with 4 layers of fleece and that feels much cushier.

I think the pattern is a definite improvement on my first version (I swear the shoulder straps aren't angled unevenly, it's just the photo), but I still need to work on the construction technique. I tried to take some photos to create a basic tutorial but I forgot a few stages, so I'll see what I come up with.

I really should lay off the sewing until after exams now, though the knitting is good for short breaks from study. I need to make a carrier for my Carrier Bilby (like a secret swap we're doing on the Baby Carriers Down Under Google group, but that isn't 'due' for a few weeks yet. I also need to decide if I'm buying or making a dress for Tam's wedding.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Yay! FO & WIP (knitting)

I finished 'Monica' for Emma:


- I altered the pattern to knit it in the round
- Yarn substitution: I used Debbie Bliss Cotton DK instead of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece
- I shortened the frill

It looks short and squat in this photo, but it does fit quite well. The 3 rows of garter stitch at the bottom was NOT enough to stop the roll, so I might unpick the cast-on edge and add more. Obviously it still needs ends woven in and to be washed and blocked.

This is a present for a dear friend of mine. I don't want to go into details in case she reads this blog (might go over and post on my LJ in a friends-only entry). It's the first time I've knitted with a single-ply yarn and now I know what people were talking about when they say it makes the stockinette stitch look twisted! I quite like it though, and the yarn is lovely and soft. I really wanted Western Australian wool, but the yarn shop we were passing by (Yarns on Collie in Freo) didn't have any suitable WA yarn in the right colorus - this is from NZ. I knew I wouldn't get to any other yarn stores in time, so I went with it.

Anyway, this WIP has been my study-break knitting - it's perfect for that as it's simple, but the texture pattern breaks up any monotony, as does the intarsia (colour change). This is the first time I've done any kind of colourwork and I don't think it looks too bad.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

And some pants

Made from the Lightning Bugs & Other Mysteries range by Heather Ross. These are a great pair of summer pants for Alastair - a funky, comfy wide leg design in lightweight quilting cotton. I love co-ordinating quilting ranges like this.

I should have been studying, but I had a headache all day and it was easier to sew. (I know I should have ironed the crease out of the fabric, but I'm lazy like that.)

Emma's "Monica" knitted tank top is coming along nicely - the main body is finished and I am halfway through knitting the ruffle. Once that's done I just attach the two and work up some straps. I adapted the pattern to knit in the round, which is great except that for the ruffle I have 260 stitches on the needles, which gets a little tedious (though good mindless TV-watching knitting).

That OTHER domestic pursuit

I can knit, and sew. I can even cook (nothing spectacular but I can follow a recipe and construct basic ideas on my own). However, I have a black thumb - in general, anything I try to grow, dies.

Amazingly, we have some trees here that have survived my neglect. An orange and a plum tree out the front that fruit quite well (the plum tree only fruits every two years, so I did think it was dead for a while because it didn't flower that spring), and a custard apple tree out the back. The custard apple tree is quite fantastic really, because APPARENTLY custard apples aren't supposed to grow very well here - they're a tropical fruit and we're not in a tropical climate (I forget what we are - Mediterranean maybe). They sell for about $5 each in the fruit markets, and we grow ones that are three times that size.

I honestly didn't water any of those trees for about three years after we moved here. The two out the front kind of self-mulched, I think (lots of fallen leaves and whatnot). The custard apple tree didn't fruit well until it started getting more water, but it survived.

Anyway, last spring my dad planted six more fruit trees for me, and re-did the reticulation round the back so I could actually water them. I kept them alive for a whole year!! Two of them have fruit this spring. We just re-mulched them this week, so here are some photos to prove I CAN garden ... with a little help. (Just don't mention the rest of the garden!!)

THe left tree is a peacharine (peach/nectarine hybrid), which I thought I had killed, but seems to be only partly dead. It didn't flower until a few weeks ago. The new growth is shooting out the sides, though, so I might have to train it.
The right tree is lemonade (a hybrid variety of lemon that's apparently quite sweet). I don't know about this one, it hasn't grown much, but it's not dead!
The custard apple tree is just to the right of the lemon tree, it's quite big (was already mature when we bought this place 5 years ago).

The left tree, right in the shadow (the tree it's in the shadow of is just some random mid-sized tree, doesn't seem to flower or fruit at all), is grapefruit, no fruit yet. The middle one is the nectarine - lots of fruit, but something is eating the fruit and it has some leaf-curl thing going on. The right is mandarin, again no fruit yet.

This one is a plum tree (not the established one), and it has three plums on it - hurray! I think this is the healthiest, nothing seems to be eating it.

Here are some nectarines:

Stupid macro function, it was supposed to focus on the front ones. Oh well.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Op shop haul!

I was at the op shop finding some spring shorts for Alastair (he's between sizes at the moment so it makes a lot of sense to buy second-hand! We found a few good pairs too - Wikidz, Old Navy & Pumpkin Patch), and came across these funky vintage sewing patterns - 1974 originals!

The fabric is just a piece I picked up for a couple of dollars, but I don't know if it's big enough to make anything. I really need to ban myself from buying kiddie fabrics now and buy things in larger quantities that I can actually make grown-up clothes with.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Bah, kids

I sewed a cape for Alastair last night, and he refuses to wear it :P

We're going to the Fairyland Festival at Kings Park today, so Emma is, of course, wearing a fairy dress, but I thought Alastair would like a wizard's cape. Luckily it was easy to make.

Here's the pattern I use - I did have a commercial adults' cape pattern but it was unnecessarily complicated. Excuse my crappy MS Paint skills. Dimensions don't matter hugely, but the circumference of the curves at the top needs to sit nicely round your shoulders. I used fold-over elastic for the top this time, because it was late and the velour was fighting me.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Yeh, not much time for domestic pursuits lately. The full-time study load with a high-needs toddler is kicking my butt.

I have almost finished the main bodice for Emma's 'Monica' tank, though (then I knit the frill, and attach the two).

That really is about all I've done in the last couple of weeks :( I did find some really good-looking heavy duty webbing and buckles at the army surplus store (saved me a 2 hour trip to Spotlight and it's better quality IMO), so an SSC Mk II is on the horizon. I have some Amy Butler Nigella twill coming in the mail though, so I think I'll wait and use that.

Should be some funky PUL prints coming too (and then I SWEAR I am off co-op buying, honestly), which I think I'll make into some show-off AIOs for summer.

I have established a compost heap and done a whole lot of weeding, and will be re-mulching my fruit trees next week; I suppose those are domestic pursuits too.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Longies in action (I need to cuff them properly).

Dora outfit I made Alastair today because he's obsessed with Dora and you can't buy boys' Dora clothes:

Friday, August 31, 2007

I've been slacking!

Whoops, it's a month since I've updated.

The carrier is FANTASTIC. I used it all over the Gold Coast and it's my go-to carrier for quick back carries now. I'm itching to make another one and adjust a few things, but I need to get to Spotlight and get more webbing ... and I really can't make that trip until uni semester ends unless I get Garry to drive me (can't throw away an entire day).

I need to update my WIP sidebar thingy. Gave up on winter pants & PJs for Alastair, heh, but I'm going to make him a Dora outfit for spring since he looooves Dora and all the clothes in the shops are for girls (a pair of denim long shorts with Dora pockets, and an appliqued T-shirt). I also finished him a pair of longies last night:

Tried to get some action shots today but he didn't really co-operate.

Picky Pants pattern, XL/Toddler size, adapted to 8ply/DK (first time I've done this - I did a gauge swatch and the maths and adjusted the pattern)
Addi Turbo circular needles, 4mm 40cm and 4mm 30cm.
Cheap 100% wool from K-mart, I love this colourway though.

I highly recommend the Picky Pants pattern, especially for beginners. I've used two free patterns before purchasing this, and though I do really like Shannon's pattern, being a freebie it didn't completely explain doing an enclosed elastic waist or how to eliminate the holes around the crotch. The PP pattern did and now I can tackle any longies pattern because I have the basics down!

The fit is just what I wanted - a little big at present. Folding the waist down gives a perfect fit up there, and the legs are about an inch too long, which I will cuff. This way they should fit next winter (although hopefully he'll only need nappies for night-time by then).

I've just cast on for Knitty's Monica in a bright pink and yellow for Emma (Debbie Bliss cotton DK). This is my first time working with cotton and it is definitely different from wool!

Unfortunately I don't get as much time for knitting and sewing now that I'm studying full-time from home. Boo hoo.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

SSC! (Soft structured carrier)

I stayed up until 1am this morning sewing this (started after the kids were in bed, about 9pm), but it was WORTH IT. This is my first soft structured carrier. The waistband is curved, divided into three sections, and padded with 2 layers of a thin but dense camping mat. The straps are padded with 1 layer of the same mat. The body is unpadded; I tend to prefer it that way though I did like the padding in the leg section in the APLX, if I can work out how to do something like that.

I still need to make a chest strap (because it is worn rucksack-style, the chest strap holds the two shoulder straps together across the top of the chest - it works much like a heavy hiking/camping rucksack), but I'm out of webbing. The straps don't seem to slip too much, so it's wearable.

When I make my next one (I have plenty of camping mat left, and got some buckles off Freecycle and of cours e have plenty of fabric ;P, so the only added expense will be some more webbing), I will make the waistband a little less wide/tall, and the shoulder straps a little less wide. Other than that I'm pretty happy with it, especially considering it's a no-pattern job again (I used some tips from The BabyWearer DIY forum, but no actual templates or anything).

Alastair DOES fit in it, and I WILL get some action pics but not when I'm still in my PJs at 11am on not much sleep ;P

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I finished B's mei tai while Alastair was napping, but I forgot to take pics of it before I nicely rolled it up, poo. It's nice and bright though - a wavy bright striped pattern with solid purple cotton drill straps. Pretty happy with it, I didn't make any of the little annoying errors I made with previous versions (like not getting the straps quite even/straight, crooked stitching, etc). I just need to make her two wetbags and her package (6 covers, MT, wetbags) is ready to go. Luckily, since she had her baby last night. Wooo!

Then I am done with all the things I promised other people, and I need to sew some stuff for Alastair/me. I really need to get cracking on the faux-AngelPack (I borrowed an AngelPack LX and loooved it, so I will model my SSC on it) because I want it for our trip to the Gold Coast in two weeks. Alastair needs 5 or 6 more pocket nappies/microfibre inserts by then too, because I need quick-drying stuff for hand-washing in the hotel room.

Cast on for a pair of longies in the Picky Pants pattern ... next project I NEED to start on is Tam and Eric's wedding present, which Ican't go into details about in case Tam is reading (but don't worry, guys, it's nothing BIG that'll suck to take back to the US with you, and hey it might fail and you'll end up with something store-bought anyway!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

One-Skein Wonder! Stupid mirror photos :)

This is the WIP I'm currently working on, now that I knocked off the one-skein wonder and the gloves (almost - just need to do the thumb and weave in ends). It's a striped jumper that I started a few months ago and abandoned for a while because it's on 3.5mm needles and will take forever!

Monday, July 9, 2007

WIP/FO pics

Little Mermaid costume. I'm not completely happy with the top - the front panel is off-centre. But considering there was no pattern (I vaguely followed a tutorial on Craftster for an adult dress with the same style top, changed the straps etc), not too bad.

WIP - One-Skein Wonder in 'Tannenbaum' aran Blue-Faced Leicester by Monster Knits.

WIP - I've got second glove syndrome! I think I said before that I'm not really happy with how the colourway knitted up in the small diameter. It looks better on than it does sitting on the bench, though.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

I really need to take better pictures, because a blog would be much more interesting with photos. But our camera is only average, and the lighting in our house is really bad for photos - nothing turns out right. There's no sun to take outdoor pics, either.

Anyway, today I finished the mermaid costume (I have a pic to upload later), and cut out the pieces for my brother's Lucius Malfoy cape (which had to be done when the kids are asleep, because it's large pieces and I don't have a dedicated sewing room - YET). I should be able to get it sewn tomorrow; it's pretty simple. Oh, and made one more PUL cover for a friend who is going to give cloth a try because she's just moved up to Shark Bay (her hubby's a cop) and the disposables there cost a fortune.

Just gonna relax and do some more on my One-Skein Wonder for half an hour or so :)

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I shouldn't keep starting MORe projects, but oh well. I got some Monster Knits aran BFL in 'Tannenbaum' (a gorgeous green/brown colourway) and decided what the hell, I'd knit myself something. There's only 100g of it, so I'm doing a One Skein Wonder, which is a really simple pattern. It's coming along nicely :)

I had to go to Spotlight to buy some more fabric to make my friend B. a mei tai, so while I was there I bought some buckles and strapping because I am going to have a go at making my own soft structured carrier, a la Beco. I need to find some padding for the waist, I'm thinking some foam from Clark Rubber, or others have suggested cutting up a camping mat from a camping store? Hmmm ... gotta do some other stuff first though, like finish Bella's mermaid outfit tonight. Better get off the computer and do that :P

Emma wanted a hat, so I knitted her up a quick one using Panda Zoomy. It's an acrylic/wool/nylon blend, really nice and soft. I was lazy and didn't measure my gauge properly, so it fits me - but it also fits her (baggy) and she likes it, so oh well.

More PUL covers ...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Busy busy busy

Here are some covers I made for pregnant friends (I have four friends due to pop in the next month!) - I actually made four more since then. The orange one is a medium, so it is meant to be bigger ;)

And the quick hat I knitted up for Alastair to match his longies. I didn't make the main bit long enough, though, so it looks more like a skull-cap, and he will NOT keep it on (hence the strange photo). I need to work on my patience when it comes to knitting, I often seem to just cut that little bit short because I want it finished NOW.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stash-busting time

I need to stash-bust, because I've committed my budget for next month already :P (I'm going to get a Storchenwiege woven wrap.) So my sewing and knitting for the next month will have to come from stuff I've already got. Shouldn't be that hard, haha.

I've been a bit slack lately, because Alastair's not been sleeping well. I did make two PUL covers for Alastair, and I'm finally happy with my cover pattern for both snaps and touchtape.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mermaid pants!

These are the pants for a Little Mermaid costume for a cute little girl who's turning four soon:

It's not blurry edging on the 'fins', there's a layer of netting-type fabric in front. The fins pretty much stand up on their own. These were pretty simple really, but I'm still proud of how they turned out. I took a basic pants pattern, then drew a fin freehand, cut 4 in satin and 4 in netting, assembled the fins, and just sewed the fins in as I was doing the outer leg seam of the pants.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I finished my first glove, and it FITS. Yay! The yarn didn't stripe/pattern quite how I thought it would, so it's come out looking a little odd, but after getting halfway through I wasn't going to rip it back :P
I wish I'd done a rib edging at the bottom, so it didn't roll, but again, I can't be bothered ripping it back - as my first pair of gloves, there'll be other things wrong with it, so I'll just aim to do better next time :)

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Finished object: 4BF Merino longies

Pattern: Shannon's free longies pattern (on Nappycino), in Toddler size.
Needles: Addi Turbo 3.25mm 40cm and 4mm 30cm, and Clover bamboo 4mm 40cm circular needles.
Yarn: Four Bags Full merino, hand-dyed by Katanya of BaaBums.
Thoughts on pattern: I love the fit of these with the wide legs and the short row placement in the back. Pretty easy to follow.

I need to fix the cord, it's FAR too short and not twisted enough. I was finishing them in a hurry for the Perth nappycino today!

I also acquired some more projects:
- a Little Mermaid costume for a friend's daughter's birthday in July

- a black cape for my nerd-brother to wear to a Harry Potter party in July
- something to sew for a WAHM as an experiment :)

I should get off the computer and get on the sewing machine!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A couple of pics of the pants in action. The pants part fits really well, but I need to shorten or add another snap to the straps because they kept falling down. I think it's partly the shirt he's wearing (excuse the grotty shirt, it's the one he wore to bed), but he looks kind of like Joe McDonald, the CFMEU boss, with his belly hanging out, lol.

Friday, June 8, 2007

WIP/FO pics

The camera is FINALLY back!

Tonight's project: a very '70s pair of red velour pants/overalls for Alastair. Hey, I think they're funky. I got the pattern from an op shop (well, the idea/straps/instructions - when I opened the envelope it was missing the actual pattern pieces for the pants but I just used a basic pants pattern I've drafted), and just used resin snaps instead of buttons, because I hate buttons/buttonholes. It's 100% cotton velour, and it is soooo soft.

My current WIP (well, one of them, but the one I'm currently focussed on) is this pair of longies. On to the second leg now!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

I'm really happy with the 4BF merino. Not only is it lovely to work with, but I'm about two-thirds of the way down the first leg, and still on the first 100g ball. There isn't a contrast waistband, either, it's all done in this colourway.
Two of my short row spots have obvious holes and I'm not sure why. I don't think I did them any differently from the others. I also noticed if I do an 'm1' increase I get a hole but 'kfb' is farrrrr less noticeable. It's probably just my technique.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

On my to-do list

I gave up on knitting my sister's scarf in time for her birthday. It'll have to be a Christmas present - a scarf in summer? Why not! It was getting tedious, though, and I got caught up in knitting with my new Baa Bums wool, sooo I just ordered her a T-shirt online instead. Sometimes I'm very lazy ;)
The longies (with the Baa Bums wool, using Shannon's pattern on Nappycino) are coming along nicely, I'm about two-thirds of the way through the body. This wool (4BF merino) is a dream to work with.
I despair of my jumper ever getting done. I think for my first adult garment I should have picked something in a bulkier yarn (it's knit on 3.25mm needles). But depending on what the weather is like as I come to the end of the body, I could easily make it short-sleeved or even sleeveless for spring evenings.
And my first glove is about halfway done. I think I'll go back to that when I finish the longies.
I've just drafted a few different patterns together to get a basic pants pattern that should fit Alastair perfectly. I have some cotton velour and corduroy to do up into pants. I think Emma might like a pair of velour pants too.
Unfortunately our camera has been at the repair shop for EIGHT WEEKS *grrr* so no WIP (work-in-progress) pics for now.

First post!

I doubt anyone's reading this, but hello big internet world.

I already have a blog over at LiveJournal but felt I wanted something different so as not to bore the friends I have there with my crafty endeavours.

I call myself 'surprisingly domestic' because I never really considered myself the domestic arts type, but I now love to bake cakes, sew and knit. I was more of the academic type in school, and never thought I'd even have kids, but here I am, a SAHM to two children, knitting up cloth nappy covers in my spare time.