A lovely pre-christmas present

I have been included in an etsy treasury! It’s always a nice, random surprise when this happens and it was nice to know that someone out there appreciates non-animal fibre yarn!

Speaking of christmas presents, i am almost there!!

Here are some of the completed presents (that i can show you because the recipients will not read this!!)

If you remember the story of the weaving!fail, this is the replacement present – it is just lovely and i think Alice will enjoy it a lot. Observant people will notice i used left over yarn from M+Gs wedding present last year!

Country Lanes Scarf - photo by nett

This is a wip photo, but i assure you there are now two of these susie’s reading mitts. except they are not for susie (my mum or aunt) but for marmie (my grandmother). For those who know the pattern i have also hemmed it 🙂 The yarn is Freedom Spirit.

Marmie's Reading Mitts

This isn’t a wip photo, just a crappy one, although the colour is truer than in the other photos i have. Also my unmade-up face is not in it, brightly illuminated by flash and red from being flustered! The hat is made from one of the many ribbed boy beanie patterns on rav and the recipient? My dad 🙂 He LOST the last one i made him *sigh*

Another beanie for daddy

These were the most fun to make of all the presents i’ve made so far this year. I’ve wanted to make flip top mittens for years – pretty much since i first found out about them. afterall, while i might feel the cold, I fully admit it doesn’t REALLY get mitten-y cold here in Australia. This is a gorgeous pattern from Ysolda, and the first from whimsical little knits 2 (which i own) that’s i’ve done. They’re for my cousin Kate who works as the wetlands manager at Banrock Station – these will be great for winter mornings!

Unflipped Flip Top Mitts

Ahhhh papa and his socks. he does love hand knitted socks so, but boy are his feet big!!! I normally wouldn’t consider knitting socks for him for christmas since i try to choose small time manageable projects in order to get something done for everything and socks for papa are TIME CONSUMING (and not even small!!) But! I planned ahead. I ordered DK weight sockwool from Blue Moon Fibre Arts, took the yarn and needles away with me to Tassie in October and voila, 5 days after casting on i had these – another set of enormo-socks!

Enormosocks the Third

And last but not least of the photographed presents, is the first one i completed having put together yarn and project ideas at the beginning of october. I aimed to make as many presents as possible from stash – and have succeeded with all the projects above except the socks. This one is a woven scarf from Patons jet and i can’t get a photo that does the colour justice sadly – but it’s pretty and it’s for my aunt

Sue's Jet scarf

There is also finished a set of manly mitts for a male friend, an almost finished sekrit project for someone who will read this and something for mum, who will also read this! Still to be cast on are a pair of mitts i promised someone and a woven scarf (i know that’s not really cast on, but you know what i mean) for a very special family member. I might not make anything for the little cousins this year, since Erica got her beautiful knitted cardi for her birthday and jade will get a crochet top for hers. I picked up a cute little something from Tassie for them both and can pick up a game or something for them to share.

This is erica’s cardi though – it’s a very special little present

A Peacock Cardigan for Erica - photo by nett

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WeavingFail!!!

Just had a rare epic crafting fail. I had some old discontinued wool in a cream and brown – not the softest wool, but smooshy with an unexpected kind of striping pattern. I thought i would weave it into a scarf for my cousin who is fond of natural colours.

Well, I chose the 10dpi reed (it was a 10 ply yarn should have been tight, but ok) but didn’t take into account the nature of the yarn – it was a smooshy single, spun around a strong core (thank goodness or it would have TRULY been an epic fail) and as the heddle moved up and down it pushed the smooshy single wooly bit into lovely little coils – ie, it wouldn’t let the full yarn through the gaps!

This was compounded by the truly felty nature of the wool – the warp ends would stick to each other, it fluffed all over the place – completely horrible!

Eventually i gave up, cut the weaving off and assessed how much warp i had left. I should have quit earlier!! I guessed i might have enough warp left to make a short scarf (and my cousin is not overly tall) so i switched to the 7.5dpi reed, restrung the warp and tried again.

Results were better when it came to the actual weaving – much less pushing of the yarn, though it still did occur, leaving ugly fluffy bits and all sorts of other imperfections – But the final product is just (I think) too short. It looks lovely, feels blah and doesn’t really wrap – which i like to at least have the option of doing in scarves i give to people.

I will take a photo of it when it dries and i’ve run over it with the lint shaver to remove some of the excess fluff, but not sure i can really give it away (at least not to someone i like!!)

I have one ball left of the yarn – might consider knitting something like fetching in it, but to be honest, I kinda never want to look at it again!!

Belated Christmas Wrap Up

GET IT?? huh? huh? lol.

sorry. now that the obligatory terrible christmas joke is out of the way…

I didn’t do masses of christmas presents this year due to my aunt being a bossy britches and arranging a secret santa (a concept i loathe amongst family) but i did make a few for my immediate family, my SS recipient (my adorable 17 year old cousin) and some close friends – although some presents are still being worked on *whistles innocently*

You’ve seen the sewn bags for my cousins-once-removed (or the little girls as they will be known to me until they are 50) and the cabled fingerless gloves for my dad, so that left my mum, grandfather and grandmother, as well as my SS recipient, Helen.

Mum as I mentioned is undergoing chemo, so naturally i made her a hat – a young funky adorable hat that i love but would never wear, but she can TOTALLY pull off!

how awesome do her eye look in it!! (She totally stole my top to wear on christmas day, too! AND new years! *sigh*)

Marmie, my grandmother, always tells me off if i get her anything or spend a lot of time or effort on her, so i made her something small and simple, but also lovely. It’s just a trivet, or as jo sharp describes it, a tea-pot mat, but it’s made in luxury silk cotton (debbie bliss!) that i got half price at work and it took me about 2 hours to make. (she still managed to tell me off :P) Forgive the unblocked photo! The colour isn’t quite right either, it’s a real mushroom pink/gray/brown.

Of course, marmie then proceeded to tell me it was too good to use as a trivet and put things on, so i’m sure i will see it in the middle of a table being decorative. *sigh*

Papa, my grandfather, got something quite special. when i was in scotland, i bought him a pure cashmere scarf – as you do – in gorgeous creams and light browns with a hint of sage. He plays the piano and is always commenting on my fingerless mittens so I thought I would make him his own pair to sort of match his scarf – and try out stranded knitting for the first time. I used a pattern from the new rowan magazine and added a few stitches and rows to increase the size, used the delicious debbie bliss baby cashmerino. God that stuff is a dream to work with!

I found stranded knitting quite easy  (particularly on the knit side – i would work these in the round next time) and I used the one yarn per hand technique. good thing i’ve had a go at ‘picking’ or continental style a few times!

And the major work of the season was done in a week. yep. ONE WEEK. having definitely confirmed my cousin would be there on christmas day and that my recipient wouldn’t change at the last minute like last year (grr – still managed to get a hand made present done thanks to very accommodating yarn store workers) I decided on something cute, funky and green to go with Helen’s amazing red hair. I ended up choosing the shetland shorty pattern from knitty over kim hargreaves’ buttercup for a few reasons. Firstly i thought it would be a quicker knit (time was definitely a factor), secondly i thought it was slightly ‘cooler’ rather than ‘cute’ and thirdly i was a bit sick of working with cotton, having just finished the table runner of monotony… more on that later. It also meant i could pick the green i really wanted, rather than a ‘she might like it…’ colour. Whilst knitting, the yarn looked a slightly yellower green than it did in the ball, but, well, I think it suits her..

don’t you? The yarn is Jo Sharp’s alpaca silk georgette in Woodland and was nice to knit with and I already have it on good authority that it’s nice and warm 🙂

Other presents for the season have included a pair of Mrs Beetons for my adelaide bestie (although i don’t have a photo yet!) and a skein of handspun for another good adelaide friend. Melbourne peeps have had to wait a bit – I’m working on a handspun skein for a knitterly friend and have the yarn for something special for my melbourne bestie couple. That’s been put on the back burner a bit though since i really wanted to work on something for ME after christmas. I also knitted another beret for mum, this time in cream, since she practically begged!

here it is modelled by my beautiful cousin

There was one other present this ‘silly season’ but it wasn’t for christmas… It was a wedding present which i can now announce as the Table Runner of Monogamy, which quickly became the Table Runner of Monotony since it seemed to take FOREVER! That’s not quite true. It took about three weeks of pretty solid knitting and did actually grow quite quickly, but because it was worked length ways it felt like ages. The pattern is from Jo Sharp Knit 2 (same as the trivet) and is worked in woven basket stitch. I used Sirdar Luxury cotton DK to get some nice neutral earthy tones – perfect for the couple.

It’s a neat little stitch, no?

Unfortunately being a rather formal reception (well for our generation) and having to leave the present on the ‘gift table’ I was unable to gauge the reaction to it, and due to christmas and family celebrations (the couple usually reside interstate so I’m sure are being mobbed by family at the moment) I am yet to hear how it was received! I really want to know!! I’ve just been invited to another wedding and the reaction to this might help decide the present for the next couple!

anyway. As I said, one and a half more presents and then it’s all about me for a while… at least until Feb 14th!

The Christmas Spirit

It is now only 20 days til Christmas and apparently, statistically today is the most popular day for putting up decorations in Aus (although not in my family, my family are slack and i tend to have to put them up when i arrive at my parents – often 2 or 3 days before christmas!). Not having a place i really call ‘home’ right now means i’m not particularly interested in decorating my space. Since i moved from SA I’ve tended to satisfy myself with decorating at my parents and having a token decoration at my own place.

But lately I have been aching to have my own place (which i will by next christmas I hope) so that i can start fresh with home made decorations! My good friends penelopewaits and redwren have both been posting tutorials for handmade garlands and buntings and other decorations and I helped PWs and her partner put up the tree this year and discovered her ‘colour theme’ system, where each year they pick a theme – usually a collection of colours, sometimes something else – to use only a selection of their many tree decorations. I’ve always just crammed ALL our decorations on the tree 🙂

I also had the pleasure of putting the christmas decorations up at the Wool Baa yesterday. What a great day at work! There’s definitely a pink and gold theme going on in the store :). Once I’d hung all our baubles and stars and stockings, I had the brilliant idea of going through our scrap yarn and making decorative pompoms. I found some red marled yarn and moss green mohair and created some ginormous pom poms and also some pink and purple novelty yarns to make one pom pom and some gold/yellow yarns to make a gold pom pom for the windows. I have never been a big pom pom fan generally, but as decorations i LOVE them! They’re like fuzzy baubles and they don’t break!

I’m also dreaming of felt stars, material birdies, crochet covered baubles, knitted mini stockings and australian bush garlands (although that would take a whole new set of skills :)) When I was little we used to use tree seed pods from a tree at my grandmothers and red dyed cotton wool to create little red robins for christmas cards. I only just remembered that writing this post! and pine cones to make owls!

So next year – watch out. There will be many many christmas crafted items! in the meantime, please, leave links to your favourite tutorials or handmade decorations – I’d love to see them!

and the obligoraty inspiration mosaic! (all from flickr)


1. navidad adelantada, 2. Reindeer Brooch, 3. Christmas tags #1, 4. Christmas Garland, 5. HOLOGRAPHIC CARD, 6. Christmas Stitchette pillow, 7. Little Bird Tree Decoration (Peach Sorbet), 8. Christmas Bunting (close-up), 9. stock1

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

Bags!

Last night the lovely penelopewaits let me use her sewing machine to create two more christmas presents.

I had the idea of creating some cute little satchel style bags for my cousins who are 6 and almost 9. They’re still at an age where i like to do something the same but different at christmas, so I found the most adorable fabric in two different colour schemes and  then found 2 matching fabrics for each… Then i kinda worked out how i wanted the bags to look in my head and folded some paper to get a size.

At essie’s last night, I got some butcher paper and a quilter’s rule and cut out a nice series of rectangles. Es and her partner helped me decide on which fabric should go where and then i was left to my own devices… the result?

There are three sections – the main bag, a large front pocket and a little inside pocket (for lipbalm and precious things not mobile phones!!)

They have interfacing and are pretty stiff and any quilter or sewer would probably turn their nose up at my seams! The straps almost had to be a bit of an afterthought – i kinda didn’t think them through enough, but i really like the positioning and it means you can see all three fabrics from the front.

I made the pink bag first and there were many instances of dopey brain which resulted in unpicking and resewing, so it took me a lot longer than the second bag. All up from cutting patterns to finishing sewing, they took me about 4 and a half hours.

I ❤ them and I hope my cousins will too!

 

if people want a basic outline of how to make these, let me know and i’ll take the measurements and write up a basic tutorial

the onslaught begins…

apart from finishing my Ms Marigold vest (photos SOOOOOOON!) which i LOVE I have been working pretty steadily on presents – but so far only one xmas present!

present 1. I have knitted a sweet little headband for my cousin’s 6th birthday out of the left over handspun yarn from my firestarter socks. I hope to get photos of Erica in it the week after her bday! so you might have to hang out a while for that one.

present 2. My mother is undergoing a preventative round of chemo (she does NOT have cancer it’s ok – she had a lump removed earlier in the year) and is losing her hair (boo) so I knitted her a beret in wool cotton since i thought it might be a nice fabric for summer. She says it’s far cooler than the cotton turban she bought and she LOVES it. The colour is great and she wants another one! *sigh*

It’s knitted in Mirasol Cotonani and i have to say it was delicious to knit with… actually nicer than the rowan wool cotton I did the next item in. I usually love rowan, but the cotonani was softer and the cotton didn’t pill out of the yarn the way it did in the rowan wool cotton.

present 3. Cabled fingerless gloves for Dad for christmas. Mum says dad has been complaining of cold hands when he has to drive in the morning/late evenings in winter. which is great, cos he usually doesn’t complain about the cold! The pattern was for full gloves but since he will wear them for driving I made them fingerless. I have enough yarn that if he goes, nope I won’t wear fingerles I can rip the fingers back and do full fingers instead. The cable pattern is quite sweet and the yarn looks nice – almost tweedy. I had a booboo with the first cuff, ended up ripping the cast on seam, unpicking the ribbing, picking up the cuff and ribbing down instead. Ok, so now what to do with the second cuff since ribbing from picked up stitches looks different… well I did a temporary cast on, knit the cuff then picked up and knit the glove 🙂 Quite proud of my solution really and they look the same!

present 4. A wedding present for two of my friends who are (finally) tying the knot in three weeks. Yup, that means i have 3 weeks to knit this unnamed object (just in case they read it!) It’s in lovely earthy colours and it’s something for the home. I’m pretty sure I’ll get to finish it by the 12th.

I also have the yarn for something for marm, papa, mum and es and saj for xmas and ideas for things for my other friends. I also have been given my 17 year old cousin for our stupid kris kringle thing (I really hate this idea, but love that i have my cousin) So the question is, do i knit her something totally awesome (a shrug? hat?  despite her being tiny, i won’t have time for a jumper or shirt… I knitted her twee gloves last year and she LOVED them) or do I get her a $50 westfield voucher and take her shopping since she loves going shopping with me? I like the idea of making presents for people, but I also know that she really loves shopping with me and the things i pick out for her or make her try on (seriously, she’s model sized). any thoughts? She’s moving from perth to adelaide too next year, so winter woolies might come in a bit more useful than in the past…

i love knitting for presents, but looks like knitting for me might be on hold for a while!

Also i miss my spinning wheel 😦 but it does mean more knitting time!

so it’s almost christmas…

and i fail at craft blogging! I fail at blogging all over the place pretty much… but that’s because it’s very hard to type with yarn/fibre/fabric/needles/hooks in your hand!

I started making christmas presents about a month ago, knowing that i would feel happier getting them out of the way early. for christmas day we’re having a secret santa type set up, so i’m only giving one official present to the ‘other half’ of the family, but I’ve still made a few extras, plus a few for family members to buy off me to give to other family members! how awesome is that

So for my own spirit of christmas I have made:

2 seahorses for my cousins aged 5 and 7

seahorses

seahorses

a beautiful alpaca silk scarf for my aunty sue – one of my official secret santa presents

alpaca silk scarflette

alpaca silk scarflette

a pair of burgandy mitts to match the hat i made for mothers day, and a hand embroidered apron for my mother

evangeline mitts

evangeline mitts

a tea cosy for my grandfather

diagonal cosy in noro silk garden (226)

diagonal cosy in noro silk garden (226)

a pair of adorable little mitts for my cousin aged 16

Twee mitts

Twee mitts

a beautiful bookmark for one of my best friends and a beautiful striped crocheted scarf in pinks and green for another of my best friends (no photos – they might see!!)

for others to give to people, I have made

A hat for my grandfather to give to my older cousin

Kates beret

Kate's beret

A pair of face cloths for the little girls

)

E + J = 🙂

2 sets of wine charms for my mother to give to people

charming

charming

colourful

colourful

a set of felted bowls for my grandmother to give my mother – I’m still a bit uncertain about this one, if they don’t work out, my grandmother can give mum the fingerless gloves and i will just give her the apron.

and still to make (!!!)

a hat for my father out of zara wool – beeeautiful stuff

a skein of handspun for one of my best friends (I’ve been practicing like mad!)

a felted bag for one of my besties (possibly from hand spun)

a scarf (same as my aunt’s) from alpaca for my cousin – I’ve been planning this present for ages and I’m going to give it to her dammit – even if it’s a ‘late birthday present’

a hand embroidered apron for my grandmother.

a crocheted cuff for a friend

a market bag

arrrgh still so many to make! lol

Some of these can’t have pictures, because then the people who they’re for might see them!! but i have photographed everything, so all in good time.

and then there’s all the stuff i’m making for me lol!!