New projects

It’s been a fairly productive start to the year for me, despite the trials of the autoimmune protocol diet. Which turns out to be hard. Really hard. Only a couple of weeks to go, so I don’t want to whinge too much about that. I have still managed to get plenty done when I’m not madly craving coffee coffee COFFEEEEEEEEEE (and cacao and Brazil nuts)!

The Victorian Workhouse Apron pattern is now up, and available in one size for free download here and here

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I’m quite pleased with it in the end. I love the scalloped lace at the bottom, I think it turned out a little bit steampunk. But pretty much anything made with linen I love. Linen is so tough and durable, responds beautifully to blocking and softens with age to a vintage patina.
So unsurprisingly, the next Wolfberry Knits pattern, a trans-seasonal piece which will be available in 6 sizes, is also going to be in linen! Yay!

I’ve also been having some fun practising bookbinding. One has a thick paper cover with a contrast spine, and the other a linen cover.

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I really love making notebooks, probably because I use notebooks a LOT in my day to day life, filling them with to-do lists, ideas for designs or for novels, quotes, shopping lists, drawings. I have a tiny little book I made which I think is my current favourite. This one is small enough to go in a pocket!

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I have resorted to sewing them up with dental floss for the moment, as the linen bookbinding thread I got from the UK was stolen from my train. 😡
An antechinus (tiny little Australian marsupial that looks like a mouse) has been in residence in my train, and during the breeding season, decided to take anything soft off my desk, presumably for its nest. They are unusual little creatures, they don’t chew up your stuff like rats and mice do, they only have one breeding season and the male dies soon after mating. They are also cute, and I haven’t been keen to evict it. So far I am missing linen thread, paper towel, a ball of silk and a ball of cashmere blend. The thieving little git has expensive taste!

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I made my mum some stitch markers for knitting for Christmas, and decided this week to make myself a set too. It is a simple idea, a piece of beading wire folded in half, a couple of glass beads and a couple of crimping beads. I found that the ends were a little spiky after trimming and I was worried they might catch on finer wools, so I ended up putting a small blob of wood glue on the very end of each. I did this a couple of times, letting it dry between coats. It dried to a nice smooth round hard tip that doesn’t catch. So no more daggy scraps of wool as stitch markers for me! 🙂

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Next week I’m planning some clothing revamps, an embroidered woollen vest, and I want to repaint a pair of Birkis. I have found the non-leather ones accept paint quite well. I have already done them black once and it lasted well with a coat of acrylic varnish, but I think perhaps a change would be nice, maybe grey plaid.

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Until next time, B 🙂

New Year Cleanse

I always find the new year a great time to ‘cleanse’. Psychologically, at least. Physically, it’s in the mid-thirties (Celsius) most days in this part of Queensland, with horribly high humidity, and man, do I get lethargic in this weather!

So I’m taking some quiet, air conditioned time to do some cleansing. First up, I have started the dreaded Autoimmune Protocol diet. Which actually is not that bad, as I was pretty clean eating anyway. It’s much like paleo, but leaving out nuts, seeds, eggs and assorted other gut irritants. Oh, and coffee. Boohoo :(( I miss coffee!! But dandelion coffee and rooibos are okay, and this AIP recipe for pumpkin spice ‘na’ttes from slightlylostgirl is SO. GOOD. Here’s my first crack at it using rooibos as the base.

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Plus, I still get to eat bacon, one of my favourite things. Fingers crossed for total remission with this final step!

I have also done a digital cleanse of sorts. Leading up to the new year, I finally started unsubscribing from the endless emails I hardly ever read. One by one, I have clicked on ‘unsubscribe’. It is surprisingly easy to digitally declutter. These emails come from every single store that I have ever placed an online order with (and that’s..cough cough…quite a few) plus all the blogs and groups I belong to. The advertising ones that I do occasionally read only tempt me to buy more stuff. Which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid.

One reason for this (other than the obvious ‘trying to be a more spiritually aware person and avoiding consumerism like the plague that it is’ one) is that I live in a Tiny House. I capitalise that for emphasis. To be fair, it probably doesn’t count as small enough to be a member of the ‘tiny house’ movement that’s popping up all over the net these days. You know, the cabins that fit on a trailer? Not like that. But tiny nonetheless. One bedroom upstairs with little dormer windows, open plan downstairs.

So yes, cleansing is good. We can only fit a certain amount in here (in fact, until very recently, we didn’t even have a TV as they take up too much space!). Not to mention M is a big guy. As in huge. 6’7″ and b-r-o-a-d. He’s like a pinball in this house, he’ll run into something, back away from it and run into something else. You get the idea. He says it’s like living in a ‘teeny tiny smurf’s house’ (he says this in a high pitched Irish accent while wiggling all his fingers, I know not why).

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The tiny house is actually a total cheat though, because we each have our own separate creative spaces. M has his shed, and I have my train carriage. Both of which are bigger (not to mention fuller) than our actual house.

I rarely cleanse my studio. Years of experience have taught me – if you throw it out, you’ll only have to buy the damn thing again. Studios are by nature varied, interesting and unpredictable places. Unless you are one of those freaks (whom I naturally envy) who can focus on only one thing (eg ‘I’m an illustrator’, ‘I’m a quilter’), then you need heaps of different stuff. There is hardly a greater pleasure to me than getting an idea for something completely random or seeing something cool on Pinterest and finding I have all the tools and materials at hand! Woo hoo! 🙂 Some beaded earrings? No problem! A painted house sign? Yup, easy. Wedding dress? Sure!

So this year’s New Year Cleanse is restricted to body, digital, the little house and the mind. With regard to the latter, I have been practising mindfulness, arranging and de cluttering my writing and travel schedule for the year, and I’ve been organising my knitting thoughts too, planning out my ‘knitter’s year’ ahead. So many ideas! If only there were more hours in the day. But I’ll aim high nonetheless because I love knitting with a PASSION. I can rarely find a pattern that corresponds to the picture in my head, which is why I took to designing my own. Knitting in mid summer is a challenge, but I am not defeated.

I’ve completed my pure linen Victorian Workhouse Apron, with the free pattern coming soon.

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And countless pairs of socks (I am aiming at all handknit socks for this winter, so far I am on track).

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I recently tried the ‘Fish Lips Kiss Heel’ pattern on Ravelry.

It’s only a dollar US. Which is like $800 AU at the moment. Not really. But it feels like it.

And my verdict is, I like it. Once memorised it’ll be faster and easier than the old flap/pick up/count method, and it looks far neater. Here’s my first go at it.

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The pattern itself is loooooooong, like 16 pages, with instructions for making a cardboard foot template etc. I just skipped all that stuff and made my usual top down sock, using a 48 stitch cast on for this one, incorporating the new heel as I went.

(As a final note, the yarn is Austermann Irish Rainbow sock yarn in 6 ply. I just love that name.)

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🙂 B