Tuesday, 30 August 2011


Jo, Niki, Lisa, Alison, Jen, Kim, Ellen, Anna.

Brilliant sunshine, a carpet of early morning frost.

Twice cooked tamarind pork ribs, lemon curd cake.

Quiet and laughter.

And lots and lots of making.


 Rash vest for Wil (old swimwear fabric scraps from stash)
 Rash vest and swim shorts for Amy (Sea Folly and Tessuti respectively)
A rash vest and swim shorts for me (Sea Folly)
 Skirt for Amy (Tessuti)
Pirate T-shirt for Wil (Ink and Spindle)
 Trams and Bikes T-shirt for me with pleat sleeve detail (Ink and Spindle)

 Knitting project bag (Maya Muse tea towel outer, Ink and Spindle inner)

 Hot wire vest made from left over scraps from the hot wire cardi I made a while back - did I ever photograph and blog that? Maybe not...so here it is

 Love hot wire, and the new very similar aspen (both from Tessuti) - wool nylon that's stretchy, lightweight, doesn't crease and warm.

 Wool jersey top and wrap made from the left over scraps. Not 100% happy with this one. I was trying to reproduce one of my favourite tops (under the cardi in this pic), but this jersey is thinner and stretchier and well, lightening never strikes twice. Good enough, but not great.

 Some very wide leg pants with a pocket lining made from the hungry hungry caterpillar range. I had planned for these to be summer 7/8 length but then figured I'd leave them long. Looking at them now I'm thinking I may have been right the first time. Will rethink after they have had a wear and wash. Love love love the extra wide cross hatch denim from Tessuti.

 A lovely loose weave linen from the Tessuti remnant sale. Just waiting for summer.

 And the treasure of them all - the New York Cape from Tessuti in a napped wool coating fabric, also from Tessuti, that has a lovely sheen and is almost fur like to the touch. This was a joy to make and I love the finished garment - can't wait to wear it! Love the wool bound edges and the button details. Love. I added pockets to mine - just simple shapes also bound in wool before being sewn on - and lengthened the cape overall by about 8cm which gives a much better line on me.
 I also decided to use flat felled seams in the hood and shoulders too instead of the bound seam allowances the pattern uses as I felt it would diminish bulk at the seam in my heavy coating. I was really happy with how this turned out, despite it being a little bit fiddly to do.
I did a full bust adjustment to accommodate my more ample bosom. This also gave me a smidge more room to move. I tried on a sample of the cape made directly to the pattern size and while it fit me, it wasn't as loose as I felt it should be. I slashed open the front piece through the centre of the dart and straight to the bottom hem and then opened the pattern out by about 1.5cm. I also dropped the dart finish point by 2cm for a smoother taper. I didn't open out the back, but since my bottom is also ample, I pivoted the back pattern piece out from the fold at the hem line by about 1.5 cm - this meant the neck line wasn't altered but the bottom hems matched. Very happy with how it all turned out - I'd definitely make this again.

 I didn't take my camera with me but I couldn't resist snapping this with my phone at the farmer's market - how awesome is this chook cage?!
Oh and speaking of awe - poached pears 6.5st style. The red wine glaze was so dark and shiny at first I though they were coated in chocolate, but a slice reveals a wonderful line of colour bleeding in. They were delish too.

We very much missed Santos, our regular and amazingly talented masseuse who has buggered off to live over the seas so I am on the hunt for a new pair of magic hands in the Lancefield area, or prepared to come to us mobile like. Tips welcomed!

Now I am off to the great unpacking And some hard core catch up sleeping.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


stripe and splotch
A striking, simple, clever pattern, nice to knit and lovely to wear.

citrus and charcoal pashmina
Wonderfully soft yarn, nice to knit and lovely to wear. Stunning colours, great contrast.

stripe and splotchstripe and splotch
Completely underwhelmed by the way the dye has faded and run on first careful hand wash. The orange has washed out to a much gentler shade, but worse still the charcoal edging now sports patches of muddy brown stain that look very much like scorch marks or spilt tea. Much more noticeable in real life.

Now that I look through Ravelry comments on this yarn (Madeline Tosh Pashmina) there is some mention of the run issue from other knitters, but no comment from the company and no warning on the labels. No response from the company to my email letting them know I was disappointed.

And I'm especially disappointed because I have really loved all the yarns of theirs I have knit with, I've not had any problems before and would happily have held them dear as my Most Favourite Yarn Company. But if you can sell a high end luxury product and know it has some dye bleed issues and not either fix it or warn consumers AND fail to respond to a polite and sad email, well, then, shame.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Could there be a more perfect photo to capture my girl?

So alive! So full of the wonder and joy us old folks only dimly remember.  A cake on it's second outing, some candles left over from a past birthday and it might as well have been a masterpiece in gold.

She loves everything, except the boring bits at school, eating meat and emptying the dishwasher. She especially loves being herself, dressing in a way that isn't about blending in but about putting herself out there. She loves hatching an idea and acting on it, no matter how ill conceived or brilliant. She is determined and can't be deterred by wise advice, or even threats, and good on her. She'll argue her case like the best barrister, and sulk like the best drama queen.

She isn't great with routines or the development of good habits, she totally just takes it how she feels it should be taken at the time. Like, whatever.  She isn't like me at all in this, and at times her inability to settle into a groove drives me nuts, especially when she's trying to find her (undone) homework or get piano practice done. But I also know if I chuck her somewhere she's never been before with a brand new situation to deal with she'll get herself together quick smart and find something just great in it.

As she gets older the balance between trying to teacher her, parent her, and simply observing her develop into her own person is changing. It gets no less challenging, it just changes every day. She makes me think long and hard about myself, and her, and who I am as a parent and how I can help her be who she is in the best possible way. All the time and in all different ways.

It makes me proud how often people tell me what a great kid she is, how she is polite and helpful, how wonderful she is with little kids and adults alike. I know she isn't always like this at home and I  can often be found balling her out about the dirty socks in her bed, clothes shoved down the back of the wardrobe on the sly, lost library books and whining about doing jobs. But no one's on the top of their game all the time and better she be well behaved when she needs to be. And knows the difference.

I'm also extremely proud that she values the things we make for ourselves so highly, and so much more so than the things we buy. For a kid who loves to shop so much more than I am comfortable with it fills me with gladness how often she says with pride look what I made, or yeah, my mum made that, isn't she clever? She gets me and I think I'm pretty lucky that she bothers to take the time to try and figure me out.

I was sick this year on the special day and it was hard not to feel like I let her down, despite how beyond my control it was and how completely understanding she was about it. Still. We rainchecked a fancy dinner out and there's plenty of days to enjoy each other's company. I couldn't wish for a better companion on the ride.

Monday, 8 August 2011


You could be forgiven for thinking there's been nothing going on up top over here for a while, what with all the pretty pictures and posts about fabric and yarn.

But like all creativity and meditations, there's a whole lot more brewing underneath.

I've been contemplating big things, big messy complicated things. What it's right to expect out of life things. When settling for almost good enough is not OK kind of things.

I am surrounded by the evidence of my great good fortunes and at first I was thinking perhaps I was just having a first world gluttonous indigestion over not being able to cram more in kind of thing.

Poor me.

I kept thinking this because every time I've tried to put into words the thoughts I have found swirling around I feel whiny and disappointed, when I really have so little to be unhappy about.

Suck it up for goodness sake.

But there's also been a run of situations and people bumping into my life recently expressing a kind of sad surprise that I don't do more with what I have. Well, not so much more as something better. I'm no longer young enough to claim to still be an apprentice anything and with Wil looking to start school next year the but I have young kids line is also wearing thin.

Where is my big idea? What's the adventure I seek?

Maybe it's the same old resentments coming around but I'm asking myself all over again why I feel so much like a bit player in the story of some other protagonist? The answer isn't at all obvious - I'm not sure my perception of simply being a passenger is either accurate or lasting. I mean a lot of the time I feel extremely lucky to have so many pies into which I can dig my fingers and just as quickly turn my back on.

But I also know that at times this feeling comes, and when it comes harder and more persistently it's time to think in bigger terms than the week's meals, knitting and bed time stories. It's time to push past all the I can'ts, it's too hards, the but if I don't do it who wills.

I am losing my inclination to simply do the things it's easiest for everyone else that I do. I feel that should I continue to do that, over time I shall wish I hadn't and I won't look too kindly on those who let me.

Which is all well and good of course, an excellent starting point in fact. But what then? What is it that needs changing exactly?

Is it where I work? Or how I parent?

Is it the job I do or the balance I daily make between paid work and creative work?

Do I need more stimulation or relaxation?

Should I take a course that interests me or retrain entirely with a vocation in mind?

Am I supposed to fight harder for what I want or be more patient and trusting that it will come to me?

Not new questions, not even new answers. But for the first time in a while I am beginning to have little daydreamy thoughts of actually acting on some of them. I am seeing myself as a PhD student, as working for something other than the government, as harnessing my experiences as well as getting more.

I'm not right there yet and my ideas do not hold up past the day dream. But they are definitely gathering strength and I'm definitely looking under every rock for The Next Big Thing.

Sunday, 7 August 2011


It's not all about the pointy sticks afterall, there's some actual sewing going on too. 

Albeit this one is sewing for knitting tools. Uber dag, and in machine knitting circles, that's something. Made from scraps purloined from the Crumpler shop.

This one only just escaped the scrap heap - a saga of poorly chosen pattern, pressing on despite the clearest instinct that things were not going right, buying additional fabric to allow set in sleeves to become raglans and all manner of other stupidness. Should be good now but. Awesome printed fulled wool knit from Tessuti. Of Course.

And arrrrr a wee bit of pirate kit.

And an impromptu dish inspired by the unlikely appearance of green mangoes at the local supermarket. Green mango salad accompanies two of my favourite Thai dishes that I've never seen outside of Thailand, fried cotton fish and smashed catfish salad. I tossed this one with palm sugar, fish sauce, lime and chilli, spring onions and peanuts and then set it on tuna and brown rice. Bloody delicious.