Sunday, August 28, 2011

Noro socks

My first pair of proper socks! (I've only knit house/bed socks prior to this).
I cast on the right sock while waiting for my flight out of Adelaide (to Vienna) at the end of May. I knit the right sock in airports and areoplanes while flying around the world. It was too hot to knit in Mexico. The left sock was made predominately in Adelaide, but a bit was knit in (and on the way to) Melbourne too.
Yarn: Noro Silk Garden Sock
Pattern: So Simple Silk Garden

Monday, May 23, 2011

New books

I am excited to read all of these books that I have recently bought. I must admit that I do kind of judge a book by it's cover. Not that you can tell here, but all of these books (well, apart from Zeitoun) have pretty nice covers. Hopefully the innards live up to the outers.

I did buy Icelander (from a neat bookstore in Vancouver) pretty much for its cover. I started reading it a while ago, but haven't got stuck into it yet.
While in Canada (Toronto) we came across a craft guild with a book sale that was 'pay what you like'. I think I picked up about 5 books, including the below. I could not pass up the opportunity. Thankfully, Wes had quite a lot of space in his backpack and carried most of them home for me <3

At present, though, my reading time is being occupied by Tequlia Mockingbird book club selections. I plan to get through the current books (The Grapes of Wrath, and Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) on planes & in airports over the next month. Might fit one of these in too.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Has it really been over 6 months since I last posted? My hiatus was unintended. I guess I've just been busy with other things. Here is a montage of some of the things that have occupied my time:

Unfortunately, the eggplant plant has only yielded 4 fruit (the last will be picked this week) although the plant is a strapping thing. I think it has possibly been adversely affected by being planted solo this year (so no cross pollination), although I have tried to pollinate the flowers myself (rubbing the male flowers onto the female - it worked with the zucchini!).The jalapenos are growing like crazy, and the 2 chilli plants I received for my birthday are also producing well.
It's a pity the same can't be said for the seeds of beetroot, silver beet, baby spinach, basil & coriander & radish that I planted. I blame the snails for that. Despite collecting over 400 snails (yes, 400 - I counted) over 2 week ends the little green shoots that poke their heads out of the ground don't seem to survive very long. Perhaps I should have raised the seedlings in a more protected area. Maybe next year.
The garlic seems to be growing well.
At the end of the year I decided to knit Wes a silly Christmas present. Inspired by knit graffiti, I made this tree warmer. One of the trees in our front yard now wears my heart on its sleeve.

Also at the end of last year, Lauren married Peter. We gave them a set of plates handmade by Wes' sister Sam. I made and embroidered some napkins to match.
We went to Loxton for Christmas. My parked car got ran into by an unlicensed driver of a car that didn't belong to him. It made quite a bang, and meant we couldn't drive back home. Luckily we were able to make alternate arrangements, and my car was fixed at no cost to me. Anyway, I interspersed the eating, drinking, walking around town & sitting in hospital waiting rooms with some sewing. These two mermaidens were then gifted to my niece, and a friend's newborn baby.
More recently, like, yesterday, I stitched up this backpack tote. I love it. I love the fabric (body is Nani Iro oilcloth, lining is some spotty fabric I bought about 5 years ago in Japan, lining of the zipper pocket (not shown) and the handles are 2 other fabric pieces I bought on the same trip). Incidentally, I also bought some other Nani Iro fabric to sew a dress out of. That will have to wait until July at least, I think.
Vintage plastic button.
I made it 2 inches deeper than the pattern calls for (which makes it 4 inches - it wasn't very deep to begin with, eh?), so it's quite roomy. Nice.

When I moved into my house, the previous owners left behind an aging wooden bench seat, tucked away in the back garden. Its condition deteriorated until all the timber pieces making up the seat part fell out. Dad fixed it up as a birthday gift. It became functional and comfortable, but looked kind of ugly with flat wooden panels of salvaged pine & whatnot instead of silver grey slats. So I painted it. It's pretty & functional now :)

Preserving (of sorts)
A friend gave me a large container of satsuma (?) plums in the summer. It seemed like too many to get through just eating as they were, so I decided to give jam making a go. Despite overcooking it (it's really quite solid) it turned out tasty, and was such an enjoyable, satisfying experience that when I had a glut of figs not long after (my tree had a really long season & Wes was very good about climbing up the tree every few days or so and collecting bucketfuls of fruit) I gave jam making a second go and made some spiced fig jam. Some people think it is the best jam ever.
With the large pile of jalapenos and chillies a little later, I made two batches of chilli jam (it doesn't last long in our house!), and some lime pickle out of limes from some friends' new home. Packaged up below for another friend's housewarming.

PhD is progressing. I am travelling to Mexico in June to present some research findings at a conference. Warm weather, here we come!
Wes has also been studying. Suzy looks on.
Pip has been watching the plants grow. Rose just sleeps on the ground where the seeds have been planted. Maybe that's why they won't grow...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Just after I got back from North America/Sydney, I went to a gathering of people who were all knitting (or crocheting) pieces to tag the streets of Adelaide. It took me a little while longer to finish my piece and place it, but here it is, adorning a tree near the River Torrens.I ride past it on my way to work, and it makes me smile. I hope other people spot it and wonder what it is and why it's there and that it makes them smile too.

I've also been knitting dishcloths. One for me and two for gifts. Some people can't understand why one would want to knit a dishcloth, but I think there's something pleasant about using an every-day handmade item, every day. There are some amazing weavers at the Guild who make tea towels - I'm not ready to go that far just yet.

Finally, I've been meaning to embroider a patch for my backpack since Wes & I went to Europe last year (and I saw the bird patch his sister, Sam, stitched for his pack). It only took me a year to get around to doing it. The image was inspired by a book I picked up at a great secondhand bookstore in Vancouver. The cover and the title attracted me. I haven't read it yet.
I'm not sure if I'll end up cursing sewing it onto my pack: Wes & I, and a couple of other friends, have just organised to hike the Overland Track in January. We're currently planning to do it in 7 days, so will have to carry everything we need for those days (excluding water, which we can refill from creeks, streams, falls and at huts along the way). I've heard of people cutting labels out of their clothing, and sawing the handle off their toothbrush to reduce weight, so maybe the extra few grams of my patch is a bad thing?

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Cutting, sewing

It was Jen's birthday. She likes baking. She is a gem. Hence, a personalised pot holder.

Happy 38th wedding anniversary, Mum & Dad.I'd like to do more paper-cutting. This isn't my design (it's from a Japanese craft book I picked up while in Sydney for my birthday weekend), although I freehand copied it & cut it out. I probably need a better knife. I just used the old Stanley knife that is quite blunt & bulky.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Some things that have occupied my time

Sewing a gift for the brand-new baby of a colleague & friend:(from a pattern by Hop Skip Jump)
Knitting a jumper out of wool from another colleague and friend:
Warming by the fire:

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stitched work

We started the class with John by making ourselves a little book (all paper supplied) with some word exercises in it for each day. We each embellished the front a little so we'd know who's was who's and which way was up. Here's mine:
John wanted us to get a feel for the cloth and thread, and how they work together to change each other. Our task for the first day was to stitch into one thickness of cloth with one strand of thread, then two thicknesses with two strands, up to four layers.
This, my first, is one of my favourite pieces from the week. I think it's a lot to do with the fabric (it's been discharge dyed), the folds, the puffiness of the cloth within the circle. Looking at this, John said I "have a nice sensitivity."

Some other people had done their exercise all on one piece of base cloth. I thought that looked like a good idea, so at the end of the day I started over and created this. It's hard to just look at textiles. You probably need to touch this to get the full effect. I always want to touch textiles (see point 5).

This next piece was an exercise in couching. The word was chosen at random from the dictionary we had to take along (mine was French, hence 'suivre'). You can find the meaning in my stitching. I'm not all that keen on this (could be to do with it's size too - it's 36 cm across), but I do like the frill and the button holes on the cloth from a collar.

This was to be my 'thank you'. It came together really quickly, and was half stitched in the dark of the auditorium (the blue lines). I just had to keep the birdie.

The last three images are portions of the 'major project' we had to do: using an old pillowcase as a 'canvas'. It was really hard after working quite small to know what to do with a whole pillowcase of blank cloth. I'm happy with the individual elements of what I created, but I don't think they work that well all together. It started with the words from a song...... then some dreaming of stitching (this took quite a few hours to stitch. It's about 23 cm long)...... finishing with some organic couching. I really like how this bit turned out.