Australia Day and Linen

Australia Day yesterday, which meant the traditional BBQ and kayak up at the bay. 🙂 Except it was hot and belted down rain for half the day, so Ma and I stayed in the air conditioning and only M and Poppy went out on the water.   
My steady ‘pacing myself, one a day’ plan for my Grandmother’s Flower Garden afghan failed, as expected. Those little hexies are really addictive! 🙂
 I am using almost all scraps for this, and in the end I decided on a ‘peacock’ sort of colour way, greens, purples and blues, set off by grey paths around the flowers, mainly because that’s what I had a lot of. The flower centres will be mustard.
My usual summer depression has been lifted slightly with some linen. 🙂 I am working on my Japanese top (that’s the pattern in the background, in case you thought I was joking when I said it was blurry!). It takes a bit of patience and a good daylight lamp, but it’s coming along.

Pure linen isn’t the easiest to knit or crochet with, but I love the end result so much that I persist. Here’s a few yarns in the current project queue. 

The thicker yellow is Rowan Creative Linen. In a strange synchronicity with Bekki from Dartmoor Yarns, I had a great desire to make a yellow cardy. I’ve never made anything yellow before in my life. Inspired I think by this one from Drops.

More project bags off the assembly line.

Unfortunately I can’t yet share all my weekly projects this time around, so some random pics about the place from this week instead.
Our wildlife watering stations attracted a visit from another goanna (in centre of pic by the black container).

Friendly chicken and camera shy M.

Excited to find this Lively Rainbow Skink, a beautiful example of a breeding male. 

Synchronised cats.


And Ravensridge, sweltering at dusk. Roll on winter!

I am thinking about having a ‘Finishing Off February’, to turn some of my myriad WIPs into FOs and frog the rest. I figured if I made a ‘no casting on rule’ for Feb, that would be a start. Naturally, I then totally panicked and cast on four more things. Just in case. Sigh. Still, I think I can do it. February FOs, here I come! :))


Creating and destroying

I’m late posting this week because this was one of those weeks where I went backwards more than forwards. If you look at time linearly, anyway. Spatially, I guess I was just creating and destroying at the same time, in no particular order.

Hot weather makes my concentration evaporate. The end of the week saw 3 full days of knitting and crochet frogged in a fit of pique. Everything went in the time-out basket. I don’t want to talk about it.
In total frustration, I buried myself in vintage patterns to self soothe. It worked. 🙂

Stitch by Stitch was an English series of pattern magazines. I found these folders of them at an op shop (charity shop) for a dollar each years ago. I hadn’t revisited them since I began to crochet, and was pretty excited to discover a whole new range of weird and wonderful patterns that I had previously ignored. But…wow. Late seventies/ early eighties was a special, special time.

Shame M’s not a bit more hipster…and 20″ smaller in the chest….

 I don’t know how to begin to comment on this one. Ummm…that’s an awesome… tuxedo jumper.

It’s easy to mock, but I do so affectionately. There’s actually plenty of patterns I’d love to make. Who doesn’t need a rainbow pompon bath mat?

And a lot of the cable patterns never go out of style.

Eventually I forgave my own projects enough to allow them out of the basket. This was one I had started four times. 

Four times through the whole waistband to discover my gauge was out, or the yarn wasn’t appropriate, or both of those were fine but it was huge for no apparent reason…and why was I crocheting a pair of shorts anyway for fricks sake? I have no good answer. I just liked them. I never thought in a million lifetimes I would ever be a crocheter of shorty shorts. But everyone is full of contradictions and paradoxes I guess. Queensland’s heat has warped me. I plan on doing a lacy camisole to go with these as summer pjs.
Also, because I accomplished a pair of shorts with a fourteen page photo-rich tutorial, I feel I can definitely tackle this. Which has no instructions, a blurry diagram and is in Japanese. What could possibly go wrong.

My passion for grandmother’s flower garden quilts has extended to the crochet version, to use up DK scraps. Nevermind that I have three fabric versions on the go too. :/ This is an Amish hexie pattern.

One hexie a day should have me finished in a year (Ha! Because I’m so methodical and consistent, that plan is sure to work…) 🙂
Bags bags and more bags. I like making them.

And to finish the week…a knitted hood. Because…oh it was one of those weird weeks. I dunno, I just felt like it. This one is into the shop too. 🙂

And the shrike thrushes are back! They chose a different hanging basket on the back deck this time. They took ages to build the nest, then an egg got laid every day for three days.

Here’s the first one.

Found a cool wasp’s nest that had fallen down.

A couple of goannas visited too. Bottom left of the first photo, amongst the Old Man’s Beard.

Next week, if it cools down, I will be back to the knitting, including some secret projects for secret people. 
B 🙂

New Year Knitting

Don’t you just LOVE a new year? It feels like being given universal permission to explode with ideas, the ultimate freedom to start a thousand new craft projects. Or that might just be me. 
I never make New Year’s resolutions though. I think there’s just something about the word ‘resolution’ that immediately starches my upper lip, breaks me out in a sweat and warns of sacrifices and trials ahead…so bugger that.
I do set goals, however. Goals are easy. Ambitions. Intentions. Hopes. Dreams. It’s all the same word, right? 
So one of my goals this year, as indeed it is every single year, is to Craft All the Things.
Reading everyone’s fantastic ideas for new year knitting put my own complete lack of plans into perspective. I am casting on randomly and crazily. Knitting is my ultimate hedonistic delight, and lately I’ve really felt drawn to the joy of it again. The sheer pleasure of casting on, of burying my face hands in a basket of yarn. Feeling laceweight linen glide across the needles. Sketching up a new design that I want and I just can’t find the pattern for. Usually summer comes to Queensland and my knitting sits like a lump next to my chair while I sweat and stare at it churlishly. Not this year. 
I’ve brought some of my knitting projects up to the house on this rainy day, thus the kitties.

I’m still working away on my fifth Metallicus.

And my Lilli Pilli.

Crocheting another linen shawl, this one to sell.
Decided to use some of my Helsinki yarn on a Fine Sand cardigan by Heidi Kirrmaier, the lighter weight version of Quick Sand, which is the black one I made just before Christmas. 

The linen is biasing a little but so far I adore it.

I am also enjoying the Hoodie Shawl Cardigan by Sosu. This is kind of a weird hybrid, you start with knitting a triangular shawl, and then using short rows it gets gradually turned into a top down cardigan. I chose this one mainly to use up some awkward amounts of fingering weight yarn I had. I have no idea how this will turn out, it’s one of those ‘trust the pattern’ projects, but I’m really enjoying the interesting knitting and using new (to me) techniques like German short rows. I also made a set of bee stitch markers just for this project. 🙂

 My sock yarn bag made it into Handmade magazine this month, and two more projects will be in the next issue. 😃

 I’ve been working on some other small projects, like this one.


 M and I are creatures of routine, and frequently have coffee and cake on the back deck. Finally we have a tray to take it out on, instead of making two trips. It’s just paint and a bit of William Morris wrapping paper, but it will do. 
This next one is less of a recycling project and more of a being-a-tight-arse project. I love fairy lights, but wanted to do something pretty with the bulbs. I had seen the ping pong ball idea around, but decided they needed some extra decoration.

I fully intended to do this all professional-like and drill the holes in the top. But my $2 pack of balls were so poor quality, that in the end all it took was a little stab with scissors.

I tried a few different types of paint, trying to get it to stick evenly, before settling on a mix of Modge Podge and gouache. I brushed two coats of this onto the balls, which I held on the end of knitting needles (quelle surprise) and other assorted sharp thingies.

I started painting them with gold paint and a fine brush, but then…yeah… I decided life is just a bit too short and used a gold pen instead to draw some random patterns and dots. I hot glue gunned them to the lights, which are a battery operated string of ten ($1.50 on eBay).

 Seeing as there’s a theme going…

 There’s more…quite a lot more…but it can wait until next time. 🙂
B 🙂