Route 1 and a trip to market

The sun peeked through for a trip to the market last Sunday. This is the drive to the Southside markets at Gympie, all taken on the go through the car window. Zoom zoom, life is too short for stopping apparently! It’s a bit of a drive, so we left at 6:30am.


Mango farm in our road


Macadamia nut farm at the end of our road.



Views over town


Court house


Lots of old miner’s cottages in Gympie.


Straight ahead you can make out Gympie hospital, and just to the right with the steaming chimneys is the Nestle factory, producing International Roast coffee. 😬


Over the river


And the market.
It’s a pretty good market. In the past I have purchased furniture, puppies, chickens, a kindle, fruit and vegetables here. This trip we just got sweet potato, a picture and a woollen coat.

So far in this oddly warm winter we’ve only had two wood fires. Atticus, for one, clearly enjoyed them. Toasty feets…


And speaking of toasty feets, more socks of course. Another boring grey pair for M that I didn’t bother to photograph, and a chocolatey pair for me. I’m putting some little flowers around the tops of these.


I’ve never purchased sock blockers as they seemed expensive and pointless. But when you’re constantly photographing socks, they begin to have some appeal…so I asked M if he could make me some. He said ‘draw a picture’, so I did. 20 minutes later he emerged from his shed and handed me these, out of recycled Perspex sheet.


What a legend. 🙂 He wanted to put holes in them for faster drying, but so far that has proven unnecessary. 
So then, in the spirit of pushing my luck, I said…you know what I’d reeeeeeally like? An e-spinner. (For the non-spinners, this is an electronic spinning machine, very handy if you have bad joints). They are expensive (very). And M said ‘show me a picture’. So I did. 
‘I can make you that’, he said. ‘Okay,’ I said. Yay!! I will keep you posted. 🙂
I’ve been spinning a lot, and I do mean a lot. Inspired in part by the acquisition of a pair of Majacraft wool combs, which make fibre preparation so much more fun than boring old carding. 


😀 SO FLUFFY!!! 


Practising two ply, 3 ply and chain plying. 


I also finished my Route 1 by Norah Gaughan. This is the second of these I’ve made, it’s a free pattern, a quick knit and a useful style for in-between weather. The yarn is Bergere de France’s ‘Recycline’.


Year of William Morris update: tapestry has resumed with the assistance of adjustable tapestry stand that means I can now lounge and stitch at the same time. 🙂


But for now, back to the wheel! 
B 🙂

February No-FO’s 

Well, I sailed cheerfully into February with high hopes to use this month to complete my unfinished knitting and crochet projects, which are -ahem- numerous. As it turned out however, life had other plans.
My ‘Finish it or Frog it’ plans hit a couple of snags very early on in the month with temperamental health and an unexpected funeral, the combination of which took the wind completely out of my sails. 
My February tally so far:

Finished – 0

Frogged – 0

Yep. Nailed it.
But c’est la vie. 🙂 Now the breeze has slightly picked up again, I have been really craving cheerful colours. I finished a little sewing, firstly a purple linen dress. 

  
And some Thai silk cushions to brighten up the lounge, made out of vintage serviettes my MIL rescued from an op shop for me. 

  
More bags for sale, including sock knitting kits.

   
  
   
In the knitting/crochet arena, I’m still working on my yellow cardigan, known variously as the pineapple, banana or mellow yellow cardy. It is, in fact, almost a finished object. But it needs pockets. And possibly a collar. The pattern is Quick Sand by Heidi Kirrmaier and the yarn is Rowan Creative Linen. I even did this huge gauge swatch. So proud.

   
   
My grandmother’s flower garden blanket is growing and growing, my Japanese crochet top is coming out too small so I’ll have to add a few more rows along the way, and I’m also crocheting the Vermillion Cardigan, from Inside Crochet magazine, out of Drops Lima. Only the sleeves and buttons to go. I’m hoping it will come up nicely with a good blocking.

  
Oh and I crocheted this simple ear flap hat too, not quite finished, but nearly. 

  
I went to make a Pom Pom for it from cardboard (haha, I love that Pom Pom is automatically capitalised), and remembered that I had a Pom Pom making kit when I was a child. I had a vague memory of seeing it somewhere in the train last year and went searching….. 

  
Woohoo! Even with all the bits inside still! 🙂 this is exactly why I don’t throw any crafty stuff away. So satisfying. In yo’ face, people that call me a hoarder!! 🙂 
I have two projects in the current issue of Handmade magazine, a journal cover and a lace hat…

   
 In my hunt for the Pom Pom maker, I also uncovered a pile of cross stitch and tapestry and long stitch kits, collected over the years from various sources who were throwing them out. I have never actually bought one. People give me a lot of stuff. Usually with the line ‘I want you to have it because I know you’ll finish it.’

  
Whoops.
But I have lately, in my confinement to extended periods of inactivity, been desirous of comforting, old fashioned embroidery-style projects. This one appealed to me, a lovely little Australiana cottage which reminds me of our place. And a cross stitch tapestry cushion cover of a hazelnut bush. These things are so kitsch, I just love them. It is essentially colouring in with yarn and I find it extreeemely relaxing. 🙂

   
    
 Around Ravensridge…Our baby shrike thrushes in the hanging basket hatched, grew and flew the nest.

   
   
A typical Queensland huge summer storm threatened to hit us, but passed by quickly slightly to the north of us with only light rain. Phew.

  
The summer rain has brought out a scattering of fungi.

   
   
And I received a lovely ‘Valentine’ from M, Scrivener writing software for my new computer. Ironically, I am in love with it. Totally. In love. Where have you been all my life, Scrivener? ❤
And I mustn’t forget this, a little cheer up present from book depository. I am So. Excited. To make this. :)))

  
There will be FO’s next time. I swear. 
B 🙂

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! :))

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 🙂

A Christmas Cardy and all the gnomes

A quick post given the time of year. I am surrounded gnomes. And gingerbread Moomins and pigs. And by lists. The latter is not in itself anything new, I am a major list maker, so here I shall make yet another list. 🙂
This week:

   
 I got a little excited making my strings of gnomes, based on the one I bought at the Women’s Christmas Fair in Helsinki. I used sparkly yarn for mine. They’re everywhere throughout the house now, and a few are presents. I think I like the windswept biker beards the best. That’s leg hair from my old alpaca, Wally.

  
2. Worked on my very first glitter house. I am aiming at a village for next year, all illuminated.
3. Made a few more bags and stitch markers.
4. Made a few gift boxes
5. A few more recycled tea light Christmas stars

   
    
 6. Discovered we had agapanthus growing! They have never flowered before, but this year has been weird weather wise. The crucifix orchids are still flowering too.

   
   
7. Made a big knitting decision. Stop being so bloody impractical. I will be foregoing knitting the heavy cable jumpers and cardigans from now on. 😦 Despite the fact I love making them, they go largely unworn here, apart from about 3 hours every winter and the occasional trip to the other side of the world. My woollies cupboard is full. 
I’ll get through using up the current stash of wool and alpaca yarns, then it’s fingering weight wools, cotton and linen, silk, microfibre, bamboo…there are plenty of fibres that will get more use. It makes me kind of sad, but I want to wear what I make! 
8. In that vein, cast on a Quick Sand for myself, a nice pattern by Heidi Kirrmaier, in Drops Bomull-Lin, a cotton linen blend. Then, thinking I might wear it Christmas Day, unexpectedly finished it in record time… 

   
   
and promptly started the finer gauge version, Fine Sand, in this gorgeous linen I got from Finland.

  
9. Made a rainbow crochet scarf out of Drops Big Delight.

  
10. And finally a photo shoot. If anyone else has tried to put a hat on a cat, you will understand. Most of the time you end up with pics like this.

  
Or this.

  
Or this.

  
Atticus Finch didn’t actually mind the hat that much, but he wouldn’t get the perpetual Grinchy look off his face.

  
Douglas Maguire was a little more cute and cheerful. 🙂 He isn’t really bright enough to notice that he was wearing a hat.

   
 Wishing everyone a lovely Christmas and/or holiday and/or whatever you’re celebrating this time of year, hope you stay safe, drive carefully, laugh a lot, and see you on the other side! 🙂
B 🙂

And home again…

36 degrees Celsius and that super bright, clear Queensland sun have welcomed me home from Finland. What an awesome trip it was, beautiful, inspiring, peaceful and so, so Christmassy. So many gnomes! So much yarn and fleece! So much fantastic art, craft and design! By the time I got back, I was very keen to get back into the train and start creating. One reason I am a little delayed with my blog is that I want to MAKE ALL THE THINGS but can’t keep my eyes open. Stupid jetlag. 🙂  
I went to several of the various Christmas markets in my wanderings during my last week in Helsinki. The Women’s Christmas Fair, Christmas World and the St Thomas Christmas Market in Senate Square, among others. When I try to describe them I am a bit wordless, a rare thing for me. All I can say is if you love Christmas, go. Just go. 🙂 It is an intense experience. I know I will carry the Finnish Christmas spirit with me forever. 

   
    
    
 I realised when I got back that I didn’t take that many photos of my adventures, and I wondered why. I think there is a fine line sometimes between capturing the moment with photos and missing being in the moment altogether because you’re taking too many photos. 🙂 I guess I didn’t want to experience too much of my trip through the screen of an iPhone. It’s a bit different on your own too, as there’s no one else there to notice the things you might be missing while photographing. So I snapped when I thought of it, which wasn’t very often I’m sorry, but otherwise this was a self indulgent trip. I went for me, and I absorbed and loved every second. Even when I tried hard, I couldn’t stop smiling. My head is so full of images they’re still overlaying my vision.

   
    
 (If you really want to see all over the real Finland, visit Sartenada’s blog. Best ever.)

I did manage a wool shop selfie. 🙂 A knitter’s paradise.

   
 For anyone else planning a similar trip, Finland was an easy and safe place to get around as a woman alone. Tickets for bus, tram and boat are easy to get and use. I would recommend knowing a little of the language, and reading the Culture Shock book on Finland by Deborah Swallow. It was very accurate, down to small details like needing to weigh your fruit and veggies before you take them to the register. Handy things that remove the little dramas from life. I also had the excellent Insight Pocket Guide to Helsinki, with several walks mapped out. I had had warnings to the contrary, but I actually found it was not nearly as expensive as some other parts of Europe. Groceries in particular were very reasonable.
I did manage to fit my yarns and gnomes and Moomin purchases in my bags in the end. I had also spontaneously purchased enough cotton and linen yarn to make a jacket, and managed to get it finished in time to wear home. It is an African Expressions free pattern, and I rather like it. I will make it again, perhaps a short version next time. (It’s a little crumpled from the trip.)

   
 My Lilli Pilli got about half finished. The yarn is Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace. This one really is a lot of work, but I think it will block up nicely if I ever finish the damn thing.

  
My linen crochet shawl, also laceweight, was almost finished on the way home, both in-flight and sitting in various airport lounges in Helsinki, Amsterdam and Hong Kong getting strange looks. 🙂 I finished off the two-row border yesterday, and happily it’s now done. I love love love love it. I don’t think I’ve ever made something quite so ‘me’ before, if that makes any sense.

   
 Naturally one of the first things I did when I got back was put up the tree. Oh wait, no the first thing was to put the air conditioner on. Then the tree went up, and a few new decs.

   
    
 I got this string of gnomes from the Women’s Christmas Fair. It was meant to be a gift, then I couldn’t part with it…and now I want a heap more of them. 🙂 So after studying the details, I think I can replicate these fairly easily.
And now I am trying to ease back into my life, knitting, working, writing, crafting, avoiding goannas and snakes, spotting koalas, echidnas and possums, and evicting antechinuses from my train. (This latter is a bit half hearted, to tell the truth. They’re cute, they don’t chew things up like rodents do, and they eat the spiders. As long as they stay out of my yarn and fabric, I don’t really mind their presence.) 
It’s always a pleasure to come back here. I feel very, very lucky, and ready to just sit still for a while with M in the peace. 

  
PS WordPress tells me I have just passed my one year blogiversary. Holy crap. I remember my first post, written while we were in Vanuatu. Was that seriously a whole year ago? 

What have I learned about blogging in the last year…hmmm. Frankly, that I know bugger all about it and certainly not enough to tell anyone else how to do it. I have seen plenty of rules and advice out there for new bloggers, but personally… *shrugs*. 🙂 My only advice is do it however the hell you want to. But my caveat is: whatever your motivation, be your authentic self. I love some blogs that are all words, some that are a million photos. Some that are very personal, others strictly business. Some that post 7 days a week, some once a month. I personally couldn’t care less about how well people set up their blog, themes, whatever, if the content is authentic. I always think if you spend too much time worrying about appearances then naturally your message is going to change too: if you’re trying to look at your own stuff through other people’s eyes, you’ll go a bit nutso. So that’s my only little glop of wisdom after a year and 50+ posts. Just be true to yourself. 🙂

Week two in Finland

There’s something incredibly freeing about wandering alone through a foreign city. The liberation of the anonymous, I suppose. I’ve lived in small country Australian towns now for the last fifteen years. Anonymity does not exist in such places, even as a rather solitary creature who prefers my own company. I’ve never been able to blend in.
But here I do, a foreign city, surrounded by people speaking a foreign language…I could be anyone. I stand on Aleksanterinkatu, drawn to a corner by a delightful noise, and I am honestly moved to tears by a man playing beautiful music on an elaborate array of glass bottles. 

  
Surrounding me, watching also, are rosy cheeked Finnish faces, rugged up in big coats and beanies and mittens just like me. No one looks twice at me, and I feel like one of them. Except I lack the high, razor-sharp cheek bones. All around me, massive displays of Christmas lights and trees and hanging stars create a true winter wonderland that I had thought could only exist in my imagination or old movies. There are gnomes everywhere! Fairy lights everywhere! The windows of Stockmann’s department store house intricate, animated, musical displays that fascinate children. And a spinning one made of chocolate that fascinates me. 

  
   
   
Small pieces of white fluff start falling from the sky. I look up. Did someone shake a rug out of a top floor window? That’s going to set off my hayfever. I chuckle at myself as I realise it is snowing, and can’t believe I actually thought that. Apparently still very much an Australian. 

   
   
I came here to discover a part of my heritage, a part that had always drawn me despite being only one eighth of my genetics. I’ve thrown myself into the crowds and the energy and the pulse of the city. This trip, like all travel, is changing me. So many little mysteries falling into place, so many things make sense now. I am perpetually surprised that my halting Finnish is understood. Something about me is attracting the attention of tourists, and no less than four times so far I have been asked directions. What is that about? I am guessing the openness of the Australian face versus the more unreadable Finn. Or maybe just because I keep grinning. 😀

  
Around every corner here is a sense of the familiar. Oh, and a yarn store. 🙂

  
Working my way across the city, I have gathered a nice little collection of Finnish yarn and accessories. Also a little Drops. And maybe a Rowan or two. Because I’m three quarters English too. 

  
  
Jetlag has worked wonders on my knitting, and the fiddly Lilli Pilli and the linen crochet shawl charge ahead in the early hours of each morning. I’m also working on a jacket, which hopefully I’ll get finished to wear on the trip home because no way will it fit in my case. 

  
Tempting as it has been to bust open the beautiful new Finnish yarns and have a party, I am keeping them perfect and chaste for now. Something very special will be planned for them…if indeed I can fit them in my suitcase too. In addition to the surreally appealing Muumi merchandise I keep buying, I may be struggling for room. 

  
Come on. It’s a Moomin cookie cutter. How could anyone resist? 🙂
A splash of afternoon sun brings everyone out, turning their faces and bodies toward it. I find myself naturally avoiding it. It is the Europeans who love sunbaking, while ironically most of the Australians nowadays seem to hiss at it and run for the shade…

   
 But then just as quickly it’s back to lovely cold and grey. I walk to the Hakaniemi market, past the gorgeous Kiasma gallery, across the water and through parks dusted with snow.

   
    
    
    
 
I wander also in quieter areas on days when I’m struggling a little. I largely ignore my diagnosis but occasionally it sneaks up and I have to pace myself as my joints crackle like bubble wrap. So I head for the beautiful cemetery by the water, where candles are lit on the graves throughout the dark winter months. The Sibelius monument. The Olympic stadium. This time of year, there are very few tourists. There’s a peace here, a comfortable, relaxed connection to the seasons. A different ebb and flow to the extreme brightness, energy and polarity of Queensland, currently sweltering in the summer heat and humidity.

I am reminded of a ring I used to wear, an intricately carved silver snail. It was a talisman at a traumatic time in my life, a symbol and a protective shell. A reminder that everything I needed was always carried within me. It feels good not to need that symbolic protection anymore, to know I can be at home anywhere. Even so, I miss it. Or rather, I miss M. He has not expressed the slightest word of complaint, despite the fact this trip has been so hard on him. We don’t live the kind of lifestyle one person alone can easily maintain whilst working full time. 
  
I’ll be coming back here regularly. Even without the genetic link, my inexorable adoration of Moomins ensures it. But M will be coming too. 
Next week…finally…the Christmas markets!! 😀

B x

Welcome to Helsinki

I made it! Just. There was, I admit honestly, a point halfway through the long long journey when I considered turning around and coming home. There’s no getting around the fact Australia to Europe is a hard slog. Following a seemingly endless night across the world is unutterably depressing. I need my sunshine.
But here I am. 🙂 The arrivals section of the airport was dark, quiet and almost completely empty. My footsteps literally echoed. Most people from my plane were transferring on, and disappeared. On my way to collect my bag, I passed an empty room full of roll top ‘people pods’. And one room with a grass floor. You can tell a lot about a country from their airport bathrooms. I entered the bathroom to see the starkest, brightest, whitest, most futuristic bathroom ever, coupled with loudly chirruping bird noises coming from the ceiling. I thought maybe I was hallucinating from exhaustion. But no. I looked it up later, it’s intended to be soothing.
I got a few groceries and headed for my apartment. It was 8am Helsinki time, 4 degrees, dark and raining. I needed a coat. I seriously needed a coat! Woohoo!!!! :))) 
Here’s the view from the apartment. That’s the spire of the National Museum.

  

After a twelve hour sleep, I decided it was a good investment on my first day to get a local guide to show me around the city on foot, how to catch public transport etc. She was awesome, a six foot three stunning Russian, 28, doing a Phd in linguistics, fluent in four languages. Way to make a person feel like an underachiever or what. (Although she said my Finnish accent was excellent and I nearly burst with pride :)) We had a great morning, she showed me everything I wanted to see, hopping on and off trams and buses around the city and telling a good bit of history too. This place is incredibly beautiful, and the people are lovely. Is it weird that it feels like home? Genetic memory? Here’s some pics of a few things we saw along the way. (Sorry, I kept them fairly low res for ease of uploading)

Senate Square and cathedral, which we went in to. The black things on the steps were gorillas.
  
Yep. And no, I have no idea.

  
Part of Helsinki University, the Faculty of Arts.

   
 One of the oldest cobblestone streets.

  
Helsinki City Museum. This is what they used to use to melt snow on the streets, I love it.

  
I left my mark on the blackboard too.

  
Uspenski Cathedral on the hill and the waterfront with Kauppatori market square and hall.

   
   
Old Market Hall. 

  
You know you’re in Finland when….

  
(I believe they are snacks made of reindeer, rather than snacks FOR your reindeer.)

Temppeliaukio Church (Rock Church). Very interesting, but I felt the vibe was more touristy than theological.
   
   
Esplanadi. We had a coffee at a gorgeous little cafe along here, and it reminded me so much of Paris.

   
 Kamppi Chapel (Chapel of Silence). This was my favourite place, it is stunning. And, as the name suggests, silent.

   
   
The iconic Helsinki image, at the railway station.

  
Some Christmas delights. I’ve had a small taste of the shopping available, it is amazing. I may be needing a bigger suitcase.

   
 Naturally there has been project time, mainly at night when I’m still on Brisbane time. I brought two lace weight projects with me because they take up so little room. The first is another crochet shawl from the Craftsy class, this one in pure linen on a 2.5mm hook. I am really enjoying it, I even got a few rows completed on the plane until I broke my little vintage plastic travel hook.

My other project is a Lilli Pilli wrap. This is designed for fingering weight, but the finished item is HUGE so I am doing it in laceweight, Debbie Bliss Rialto Lace, in light grey, dark grey and aqua on 3.25mm needles.
  
Both of these have been very soothing and enjoyable.
I’m going to take a bus right around the city tomorrow and slightly further afield. There are several yarn stores in Helsinki. They will be found.
B 🙂

Finally Finished: Finland Sweater

  
For someone that can rabbit on as much as I do, I am struggling to come up with something to say about this sweater. It’s…ummm….nice? 

   
 So, obviously, I don’t love it. I don’t hate it either. I think, in the end, it’s just a little too sophisticated for scruffy bohemian me. The colour, the lines. I tried hard to roughen it up a little with some deep ribbed edgings and patch pockets. Nope, that didn’t help.

Out of nowhere, even my lovely sheepy-smelling scratchy natural wool turned into a smooth, drapey soft fabric when I blocked it. Bollocks. So in the end I abandoned the idea of elbow patches and wooden buttons and went with the natural flow of things, adding pretty mother of pearl buttons instead.

Pattern: Top-Down Turtleneck Cardigan by Purl Soho

Yarn: Bagabo Country Spun Wool 5ply 
Needles: 3.5mm (US 4)

Size: 35″

Mods:

4 x 4 rib edgings on body, 2 x 2 on cuffs

Patch pockets with buttonholes

Added about 2″ to overall length (I’m tall)

Ignored provisional cast on instructions at the under arms and just cast off/picked up

Likes

The yarn. Gorgeous.

The pockets with little buttons

The funnel neck

Dislikes:

The non-metric pattern

The slight pull at the shoulder increases

Trying to get a good photo in the thirty seconds I could wear it before dying of heat exposure.

  
  
I really did enjoy working a sportweight sweater. It fits very nicely under a jacket, and is surprisingly warm. Two weeks to go until I get out of this furnace and get to wear it in the cold! :))

 

Blinky Bill

  
Last week passed in the blink of an eye. They always seem to do in the lead up to Christmas. I can hardly believe that in only three weeks I’m off to Finland! Excited much? 
Oh. Yeah. 🙂 you could say that. 🙂
Last Monday saw the arrival of my order from the very talented Pauline at The Contented Crafter. I am SO thrilled with everything! Pauline’s artworks radiate joy and positivity :)) I can only show my own part of the order because the rest are Christmas presents, but this is the Purple Bohemian Light Catcher, now hanging in the train. 

   
 I am still looking for the perfect spot to hang it (this is really hard to photograph!). Pauline personalised this with charms just for me, a book, treble clef, babushka, fairy, angel, house, and a wish. I just LOVE it. ❤ I can’t wait to gift the other items at Christmas!! 🙂

  
  
Also on Monday, my gingerbread pig cookie cutter arrived. Hooray! I have read “Christmas at Bullerby” by Astrid Lindgren every Christmas since I was small, and although I make gingerbread every year, I could never find the right pig cookie cutter like they use in the book. I found this one on Etsy. 

  
It isn’t exact, but I plan on reshaping slightly to make it so. 🙂 So this year we shall have gingerbread pigs, hearts and stars just like the children of Bullerby! Hard to believe it has taken me about thirty years to finally fulfil this dream. 🙂
Tuesday saw the arrival of my copy of Handmade magazine in my letterbox, featuring my first pattern for them! How exciting it is to see things you’ve made professionally photographed and on glossy paper! Handmade is Australia’s top-selling monthly craft magazine, they focus on smaller, quick to make projects, all different crafts, and have been so lovely to work with. So far they have accepted five of my designs. My first pattern for them is for scalloped lace and cable wrist cuffs. 🙂 Vol 34, number 3 is the one with my design. 

   
 Wednesday saw the arrival of a little needle-felting kit I had ordered on eBay. Because I totally need another craft. I had wanted to try it for a while, especially seeing lovely creations on blogs such as Noemie’s, and it was a cheap investment all up: for a total of less than $20, I got the fleece, needles and holders, foam mat, leather finger protectors and two digital books on Etsy. Bargain! 

  
I managed to stab myself just taking the cap off the needles, so it wasn’t the best ever start. Here’s my first go, a mushroom. I moved the bloodied tissue out of the way for the photo. I haven’t decided if I like this craft yet. I’m having a go at a French Bulldog for my mum next.

   
 Thursday was apparently wildlife day. The goannas here are generally not afraid of humans. I love this guy’s expression.  

  
A koala and her baby also decided to play for hours right by the back deck. It was a hot day, so the mother was in ‘casual’ mode, until the fidgeting little terror harassed her so much she had to move. I know all baby animals are cute, but seriously…that little koala! Those fluffy ears! I wanted to hug him and squeeze him and call him George. Or Blinky Bill. I’ve never felt quite so lucky to live here as I did seeing this. :))

   
   
   
    
   
On Friday the little shrike thrushes left the nest by the back door. They all plopped out of the nest onto the deck one after the other, jumped around for a few seconds, and were off before I even had a chance to grab the camera! They grow up so fast. Bye bye birdies!
A yarn order also arrived. So yeah, I know I swore I would NEVER knit M another sweater. As you may already know, he is a giant, 6’7″ with a 50″ chest. I use this to justify my lack of knitting for him, and assuage my subsequent guilt. It takes many kilometres of yarn and many weeks of work, and my last attempt throughout a hot summer nearly killed me. But…what can I say…he’s SUCH a great guy. 🙂 I am biased of course. 🙂 But he’s had an amazing year and worked so hard and been so supportive, I really wanted to do something special for him. 

  
So I picked this cabled jacket by Todd Gocken from the Wanderlust collection (hopefully I’ll be able to install the zipper a little better than the one in the photo). The yarn for M has now arrived. It’s a lot of yarn. I used a wheelbarrow to get it from where the postie dropped it by the front gate to the train.
I’ve had an absolute casting on frenzy this week, for some reason a lack of time makes me try to do more and more and more. So later this week I’ll have some knitting to show, as I’ve cast on three thousand things, including two more of my own patterns. 
B 🙂