Friday, 29 September 2006

is this really me?

You Are 55% Left Brained, 45% Right Brained

The left side of your brain controls verbal ability, attention to detail, and reasoning.
Left brained people are good at communication and persuading others.
If you're left brained, you are likely good at math and logic.
Your left brain prefers dogs, reading, and quiet.

The right side of your brain is all about creativity and flexibility.
Daring and intuitive, right brained people see the world in their unique way.
If you're right brained, you likely have a talent for creative writing and art.
Your right brain prefers day dreaming, philosophy, and sports.
Are You Right or Left Brained?

It's what I'd call a blunt instrument, but I'm a sucker for these kinds of things. Like one day I'll find the 5 minute quizz that answers all my questions about myself and creates a perfect and transmittable picture of who I really am. See, you all feel like you know me better already right? Thanks Kate for the pointer :-)


::on the machine (I loved the grey skirt so much I made another just like it and David says you can't wear brown and duck egg blue, but I say he's just behind the times, right?).

::off to our 20 week ultrasound to make sure baby has all the right bits in the right places - and yes we're taking Amy!

::off to the market to buy great food.

:: off on our second craft weekend - this time by the beach. More sewing and lots of laughs.

See ya! Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, 27 September 2006

rolling rolling rolling

I want to make one of these skirts in every colour - it is just perfect! The photo isn't quite the ideal I'd hoped for (that bevilled edge on the mirror plays tricks) but I'm still running hard to keep a good distance between me and the mozz so forgive me if I don't stop to fiddle.

This vest, another cover for old stained T shirts and tops, is made from a lovely piece of Thai cotton I bought in a market in Mae Hong Song. Ah the memories :-) It's cut on the cross, which is lucky or there wouldn't have been enough fabric. I wore both these out to lunch today (I was still sewing two minutes before I rushed out the door) but I got compliments which is rather nice and makes me think I might be on the right track.

where does it come from?

Eating breakfast.

Amy: When you were a little girl what did your mummy tell you?

Me: About what honey?


Amy: About building trams.

Me: Uh, not much.

Amy: Why?

Me: Well, I guess it just never came up.

Amy: Why?

Me: I'm not sure...

Amy: Was it because you weren't lucky enough?

Some days I just can't imagine what's going on in there.

Tuesday, 26 September 2006

yesterday's heros

Why do I feel the need to use song titles to head posts? I don't understand it, but it is a compulsion none the less.

I remain, for now, mozz free. Today is a sewing free day since I'm at work (just a quick post I promise!) but here's a glimpse of what kept the mozz at bay yesterday.A new summery top. Not my usual style or colours, but I like it. I used a non-maternity pattern and cut it big, but I suspect I will outgrow it before too long. Then I can put it away and wear it after the baby. I might make another even larger version for heading down to the pool on hot days. Perhaps I'll just use a tent.

I've settled on a set of colours - don't balk, I think they go OK together - a compromise between my favourites and maximum utility. There's deep plum/purple, duck egg blue, grey, and red. I might throw a few neutrals in too, we'll see.

And a tunic modelled on something I had last time around. This time it's a very lightweight wool/cotton/viscose knit and should cover a multitude of sins on the fronts of T-shirts and tops. My previous version, a very heavy black jersey, was worn to work almost every day. I loved it and the way it dressed up the plainest most casual long sleeved top. It said pregnancy very clearly without saying daggy old cow in ruffles and bows, silly woman trying to look like she's not pregnant or oh my lord could you put that thing away. What my mum would call smart as paint.

There's still plenty on the list for the next few days - a skirt or two, perhaps another pair of pants, another top, a T-shirt and a dress... and just when I'll look like falling in a heap it will be time to start on Amy's wardrobe since she has the same outlandish growth problem as me (although lucky for her she'd headed up not out).

Perhaps (like I could possibly find the time) I might make a matching bag? Wouldn't that be great? Aren't I kidding myself?!

Monday, 25 September 2006

up to my neck

It's all happening over here. We've had tonsillitis, gastro, temporary vision problems, cancelled holidays, job possibilities and a growth spurt requiring instant maternity wardrobe. And a hell of a lot of kicking from the inside.

For fear of the dreaded jinx I won't talk about the job thing until it's totally confirmed, but suffice to say in the next week our lives could be changing dramatically and I could be requiring a corporate maternity wardrobe rather than a slob around at home one.
So I've been closely inspecting the stash for destashing opportunities but really the whole thing has kind of freaked me out. For a start the things I have left over from the last time reflect my very different colour preferences and it's hard to work out how to build on it without making a stack of clothes I don't really love and which require extensive fabric purchases. And by the time I'd gotten myself thoroughly confused about all this I started down that black tunnel of indecision about what styles and garments I wanted, whether they would turn out like I wanted and before I knew it the sewing mozz was on my shoulder.

Now I don't know if you've met the mozz. Sadly he and I are all too familiar acquaintances. He usually comes around at just the time I am most in need of reliable sewing skills, when I'm under pressure, when I have a deadline, when I am making something I really care about or when I have just cut into a piece of fabric I truly cherish. He drapes me with indecision and bad luck, in poor judgement and mishap. He leaves me depressed and unable to touch the sewing machine for days, weeks, sometimes even months.

So here I am with a pressing need to pump out a multitude of serviceable, good looking and tricky garments and I can smell his breath on the back of my neck. So when Amy came down with yet another stuck at home for days on end illness I was deeply concerned about my impending deadlines, but also kind of relieved that I wouldn't have to do battle with the beast. I had a temporary stay in which to figure out how I might bypass the confrontation.

And wouldn't you know it? An angel came to my rescue! Now this never happens to me. I have almost no friends who sew, and none with an appreciation of trying to make big girl clothes, let alone big girl maternity clothes. I have kind and generous friends who offer to lend me clothes that will never fit or who recommend styles I could never wear, so on the wardrobe front I have learned over the years to nod and say thanks and go away by myself to try and work out what to do.

But then along came Janet. A well dressed big girl who lives just around the corner - literally - who sews and works and has recently been through maternity clothing hell too. So I went over and lent patterns and tried on garments and got inspired. What a difference a friend makes! A generous, well skilled and relaxed friend who was happy to let an almost stranger walk out the door with an armload of things and ideas and nothing but promises in return. Thanks Janet, you've made the world of difference to the coming week for me.

So I've started the list and the planning and have a very full schedule over the next week. I started with this
not because bathers are my most pressing need, but because I felt pretty confident I knew what I was doing and there is nothing better for repelling the mozz than a successful endeavor. I think these kinds of bathers are called tankinis - a pair of boy leg pants with a tank top. I have a pair for regular wear so I made a pattern from them, made a humpty dumpty tummy on the pants and put a pleat in the front of the tank top to accommodate baby. I am very pleased with how they have turned out and I absolutely love the lycra fabrics they are made from - it's good and thick and not at all shiny. I think I might be sad when I can't wear them again next year! Total cost? $7.

And just in case you thought the knitting obsession had quietened down I am absolutely loving knitting this.
The colours are so lovely and the variation is so tight, you don't get the banding I have with other variegated yarns. And the texture is lovely to knit, it never splits or catches. And I chose a Zara grey to do the bands and sleeves and it is really lovely to knit as well. I suspect it may be a piller from the sample square they had in the shop, but it was so nice to touch I decided to take a chance.

And the other thing I wanted to mention is how incredibly pleased I am about my new blog adventure the washing line. I am really enjoying the chance to cover some stuff in depth and have been really bowled over by the comments we've had so far. It's hard not to let it take over this blog - not in terms of content but in the time it takes to write. Blogging is a constant challenge for balance, time on and off the computer, writing about the stuff I do and the stuff I think, about the craft and the domestic and the pregnancy. Some days I lie in bed and can't sleep for all the things I want to write, other days I seem to just publish lists of things I have or haven't done in a hollow and meaningless way. I worry about neglect and it's evil twin over involvement, as I guess a lot of bloggers do.

But right now the sewing calls.

Wednesday, 20 September 2006

quick knit

How sweet is this? I'm exceptionally pleased that for all my pattern blasphemy there doesn't appear to be a single problem with it! And as I suspected the cotton knits so nicely, such smooth even stitiches. I think there will get a fair bit of use, and there's enough to knit a matching hat and perhaps even an itty bitty amigurumi toy - wouldn't that be a set to make you think of cute Japanese kids?

But check this out - the cotton cardi is size 0-6 months, the wool wrap is size 6-12 months, and the latter is actually smaller! Just to prove that it helps to be relaxed about outcomes, and knit early in the peace to ensure that any size gets a look in for wear.

So I figured I should head off any potential sibling rivalry by offering Amy the next pick for the knitting needles - how about a nice summer vest I asked her. No thanks she said, but you could buy me a plastic unicorn instead. Right. So it looks like it's on to the next baby knit and a bit of felt sewing to make another unicorn, just to keep this one company.

Monday, 18 September 2006

do blondes have more fun?

Thanks so much for all the congratulations :-)

I am highly amused to find out more than one fellow blogger thinks I'm blonde. I didn't realise I appeared to be having so much fun :-) And I know there aren't many photos of me turning up on this site - D doesn't have a digital camera and rarely uses mine - but if you go here you'll see I haven't exactly been hiding. If I had a scanner I could show you I used to be blonde - some 35 plus years ago - but like a lot of other things, I grew out of it.

And here's evidence that I really have been having fun.

This project is a mixed outcome for me. I love the colours - so vibrant and rich - and I think the pond and lily pad motif works nicely. And of course I just love its feltness, all fuzzy and cuddly and wonderfully handmade.

I've learned that felting something very large is a logistical nightmare, and I understand why people join segments after felting. The join between the purple and the orange hasn't felted properly, so I'm going to have to fix them together somehow. I had entertained the idea of backing the blanket, so I now I think I am committed to a spot of quilting to keep it all together.

I am also a bit disappointed by the uneven shape, the way the red seems to have shrunk so much less than the purple and orange, so now I have to decide how to compromise between a nice regular symmetrical quilt finish and retaining the organic outline of the shape as it is. I could essentially make the backing and simply sew this shape on the top, or I could trim this down and fit it inside a border. Decisions decisions. But I'm keen to get back on the horse, to try a few more felt projects and see what I can do. Right now though the new projects have to be put to one side while I take care of some more pressing matters.

I have just reached that stage where my regular clothes are a bit too much of a squeeze, but I'm not quite right in maternity clothes either. Hello trackie daks! Which is fine so long as I don't leave the house.... Anyway I'm now on notice that the days are counting down till I'm going to be needing my new wardrobe, you know that one I haven't made yet. So I'm allowed nothing more than lusting over craft books till the jobs are done. Perhaps all the blondes are having more fun?

Sunday, 17 September 2006


The rumours are true, we did graduate. And we did wear funny hats. Amy was very disappointed time on the stage didn't include singing and dancing. I have to say I would have enjoyed some light entertainment too.

Thursday, 14 September 2006

new ventures

A while ago I posted that I was interested in the difference between a single blog and joint blog, and how great I though a dialogue blog would be. A few months down the track Alison of Six and a half stitches and I were deep in email contact and the idea of a joint blog came up. We found we had a lot to talk about and we're both really interested in a range of issues that we find it hard to cover on our respective individual blogs. A lot of those issues revolve around motherhood and womanhood - both our experiences of them and how they connect to a broader social context.

So welcome to the washing line. We understand a lot of our blog readers won't be interested in what we've got to say over there, and our new blog will get readers who won't be interested in our crafty adventures back here. That's OK. If you'd like to check it out, head on over.

In other ventures I've started the felt blanketThere's still more sewing to go and then the actual felting. I'll need some more time and a good sunny day to stand outside while I roll the blanket back and forth a zillion times.

And I've compromised on the perfect project/make a pattern dilemma for knitting. I'm using parts of two different jumper patterns and turning them into a cardigan/jacket. I'm unjustifyably optimistic.

And yesterday I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions. I'm not even 18 weeks yet! It is the strangest sensation, like someone is squeezing my insides. There's no pain, but it does take my breath away.

Glad so many of you enjoyed the I spy story. I curse that I don't remember to write this stuff down more, such conversations are increasingly commonplace and provide us with a significant portion of the daily joy of life. It's nice to share the mirth around a bit.

Tuesday, 12 September 2006

I spy

In the car, driving home after dinner in the dark.

Amy: I spy with my little eye something beginning with M.

Me: Is it inside the car or outside the car?

Amy: It's outside the car. Long pause. When I was little.

Me: Amy, can you see it?

Amy: No, it was outside the car when I was a little baby.

Me: You can only play with things you can see when you play this game. That's what I spy mean, what I can see with my eyes.

Amy: Oh. Ok. I spy with my little eye something beginning with T.

Me: Is it inside the car or outside the car?

Amy: It's outside the car. Long pause. Inside a house.

Me: Can you see it Amy?

Amy: Yes. Because I have really sharp eyes. I can see inside the houses.

Me: Is it a television?

Amy: YES!! Yay mummy you got it first time! Your turn!

Me: I spy with my little eye something beginning with C and it's inside the car.

Amy: Is it Catherine?

Me: Can you see Catherine?

Amy: No, she's at home.

Me: So it can't be Catherine can it?

Amy: No. Long pause. Is it tree?

Me: No because tree starts with T and I spy something beginning with C. And trees are outside the car. OK?

Amy: Yes. I know! It's Catherine!

D: Is it clock?

Me: Yes! Well done, now it's daddy's turn.

Amy: It's not fair I only had one turn. Pout.

D: I spy with my little eye something begnning with R and it's inside the car.

Amy: Is it Ray?

D: Remember you have to be able to see it Amy. Long pause.

Amy: Is it Ray?

D: Can you see Ray?

Amy: No.

D: So it can't be Ray can it?

Amy: No.

Amy: Is it Ray?

Monday, 11 September 2006

a WIP no more

The facts.
Pattern - Rowan Babies Sweeten, size 6-12 months
Yarn - 80gms of Marta's yarn 2ply, knit double strand
Button - Thai coconut wood flower
What I learned - when you knit tight like me, err on the side of too many stitches when picking up a band. This one is too tight. And unless you are a stickler for getting the gauge right don't try to make the pattern pieces fit together if they don't - fix the mismatch in the seams. I got the slightly set in sleeves to fit but it would have been better if I didn't.

One of the things I found most surprising about this garment is how little wool it used. Given the overlap across the front there's quite a bit of it, and the pattern specified 3x50gm balls of 4 ply. I would have thought knitting double strand would have used more rather than less wool so I bought 200gms - now I can knit a whole other grament with the left overs! Perhaps a vest?

I very much like the garter stitch/moss stitch edging. In the variegated yarn it is hard to see the detail, but I am not a big fan of the standard ribbed edge on jumpers, both for it's look and for the shape it gives the garment. It always seemed kind of strange to me that just where your body flares out - over your hips and bum you'd be wanting to bring a jumper in. This has a nice smooth finish that I think works really well.

And now that it's finished I feel all lost and idle without knitting needles and a crumpled pattern sticking out of my handbag. As I search around for my next knitting project I am gripped by an irrational desire to experiment with making my own pattern. Irrational because I don't yet have anything like an appropriate base of skill and experience. But I am very keen on trying some more patterns using the knit in the round from the neck down technique I used for Amy's un-hoodie, and I haven't come across any using 4 or 8 ply. I like them because I think raglan sleeves, especially when you don't have seams sit so well, especially on small garments. Sewing up this little wrap my heart sunk a bit seeing the way the shoulder seams and underarms got all bulky and awkward, when the knitted pieces were so lovely and light.

Of course I do have several lovely patterns I want to try, but somehow my mind keeps putting the cart before the horse because it's the yarn that I start with, not the pattern. On my desk I have two pressing allotments and what I really want are tailor made projects just for them. For babies I seem to recall that opening garments are much more practical then over the head jobs, but I'm open to suggestion.

There's 175gms of the softest most lushious organic cotton in natural shades of cream, beige and pale green from the lovely Ellen. I think it's 8ply/DK, but I can't even read enough Japanese to understand what needle size it recommends. It just screams baby to me.

The other is the 100gms of sportweight Danetter Taylor wool that Alison sent me which has the most excellent selection of colours and I'm dying to see how to knits up. At 100gms of course I'm terrified of starting something and running out of wool. Perhaps something like this if I could find a compatible wool in a solid colour? I have a very similar pattern from an old Women's Weekly (Macrh 2003), but the maximum size is 6 months and it uses 250gms of 8 ply. Can anyone explain to me why I can knit a 6-12mth wrap with 80gms of 2 ply, but need 250gm of 8 ply to knit a 6mth jumper with no overlapping front? How can that be?? And is it too girly to risk a baby knit when I don't know what we're having?

So tell me oh great knitting oracle - where to from here?

A girl could go mad with all this wondering. Best I go do some work on the felt blanket project before I rush into some crazy half-baked scheme...

Saturday, 9 September 2006

join the club

It's been brewing for a while, but there's no longer any doubt that I'm part of the big fat pregnant ladies club. My waist, such as it was, has officially taken a leave of absence, perhaps never to return. I now have a small but noticable shelf under my bossom on which to rest my drink. Very handy.

And it's strange, but for all the concerns over getting fat (never been as high on my list as it should have been I'm afraid to say) I am actually enormously relieved to be showing at last. The lingering doubt after our miscarriage is somewhat dispelled by the clear evidence of the baby's growth. And I can give penetrating stares to people who won't give me a seat on the tram when I am tired and grumpy. Which is most of the time.

Now I can await the down sides of club membership - public ownership and the right to comment on every aspect of me, my life, my choices, my physical appearance, and the right to question me about matters intimate. You can bet your pants I'll be letting off a little steam about that in coming months.

Oh and I joined another club today.

And before anyone jumps in to tell me I've bought obsolete technology, I know and I don't care. I've wasted a good year of potential Gocco-ing because I didn't want to get stuck with a tool I couldn't maintain. The whole silk screen kit I was given as a substitute has languished for 9 months because I just don't have space for a new complicated skill. Especially a messy space consuming one.

Instead I've decided to (a) recognise all technology has a limited shelf life and (b) trust that the future and the millions of die hard Gocco users out there are sufficient to create a market for someone to work out another way to keep Gocco alive.

Now I just have to work out how to use the sucker...

Friday, 8 September 2006

I can see a rainbow

Just gorgeous. Thanks Simmy for such a lovely thoughtful and generous gift!

check it out.

It is a sad indictment of my lack of physical prowess and general sophistication that I find this so funny and ingenious. Really sad, but isn't it really cool? Or am I a terminal dag? Thanks KT for the comment that led me to your blog that led me to this. Best laugh I had all day.

Oh and just to keep a check in - I'm now 17 weeks pregnant and apparently green papaya (or any papaya for that matter) doesn't bring on labour in 'culinary quantities'. So I've had a couple of bowls of som tam and though the aussie version isn't quite the same when you are sitting in freezing Melbourne, it's a damn sight better than anything else I've eaten lately.

Thursday, 7 September 2006

projects begin and end

It was fathers day here on the weekend - was it over your way too? I like to buy presents for D, to celebrate his wonderful life as a father, the fabulous contribution he makes to Amy. But he's just not into stuff. He doesn't collect, he doesn't wear jewellery or use special pens or electronic gadgets. It's really hard to find something he wants.

Last christmas I embroidered a plain white T-shirt with one of Amy's drawings. I was very pleased with it and so was D - practical, useful, unique, beautiful, sentimental. So I thought why make 1 when you can make 2?
Here's a girl and her rocket ship staying close to his heart.

And I finished off this little family who are heading off real soon.
And with our taste of spring weather last week I'm thinking it's time for some major sewing. There's some maternity clothes for me on the list, including maternity bathers because I think there's going tp be a lot of water time for this beached whale, some summer dresses, pants and T-shirts for Amy and a few little summer snuggly suits for the baby. Aside from the lovely Japanese collection, I'm looking at these and feeling very inspired. How cute are those apples?!
But I'm more immediately obsessed with this project

from this book.

Ever since my fabulous felting crafting sister out law gave me this book for my birthday back in June I've lusted over this little baby blanket. And then when I went to visit the dealer I saw she's started stocking wool batts. So after tossing and turning and lusting and dreaming I ordered these
ready for a felting extravaganza on Sunday. I am so exceptionally pathetically excited it's scary. This will be my first flat wet felted project so I have my fingers crossed that I won't be going messin' it up. Can't wait!!

Friday, 1 September 2006

hard at work

Because every long tall bunny needs an obi to keep their tummy warm. And because I love this wool so much that I had to find a way to use even the teeniest left over scrap.

And overdue orders which have been pushed aside by life's little chaotic moments. I want to get the decks cleared in preparation for Morphe II and because there's some birthdays and birth days fast approaching.

Oh and thanks for all the well wishes for Amy. She's a million miles better and we're hoping all will remain well. We'll be checking in with the audiologist in two weeks time and we're hoping this is just a winter blip and her hearing will return to normal soon. Cross your fingers!

We've had some lovely weather to celebrate the beginning of spring, but the wind has just come up and the clouds are rolling in and right on cue we're having a winter backlash. I think planting the new strawberry patch might have to wait till next weekend. Have yourselves a good one.