Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Christmas

I'm in Christmas holiday mode and prioritizing people over making and posting for while. So here's a belated Happy Christmas wish to everybody. I'll have plenty of pics to choose from when I get back to blogging in a week or so.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Today is my last day for Christmas making. I hope there will be time for some creative play, but first I need to finish some of the things I've been working on. I mean really finish.

The saying goes, "the job's not done until the paperwork's done". For me it's a case of "the job's not done until the fastenings are attached". I'll start on that while I brew myself another coffee. Then I can go out to the studio and have some fun.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Conversation Starter

I was sitting at the hairdresser yesterday afternoon when I received a message from young R: "Could you maybe help me with some sewing repairs?". We were planning a quick catch up and easy tea in the evening. Speaking from experience I sent back, "I'll have a go. Do I need any supplies?" "Yeah, maybe a heavy duty needle . . . it's a hole in a bag." R has just returned from a World Challenge trip to South East Asia. My imagination started to fill in possibilities of what "a hole in a bag" might mean.  I'm always amused and a little bit proud when my friends' children treat me as the "go to" person for fixing things, though sometimes I feel that a magic wand is the required tool rather than any of my textile supplies. I wasn't planning to go home before our catch up. Nor was I sure that I had suitable needles at home. And they're always useful things to have around. Instead of coming home to search my studio, I stopped off at a local fabric store to pick up these:
Either the right needle would be in this aray, or it would be a "magic wand" job. Picking these up resulted in a friendly conversation with a new shop assistant. I came away with requests for information about the various sewing and quilting classes I'm involved with in local Neighbourhood Houses--that's another type of conversation I love.
The repair job turned out to be "doable". The bag was reasonably well made and just one seam had come undone at a wear point. Despite my impressive choice of needles, I ended up repairing the seam in layers. my fingers just don't have the strength of an industrial machine to get through eight thicknesses of bag fabric!
This morning making sure I took the set of needles out of my handbag was a priority. I'm flying interstate in a couple of days. I can just imagine these sharp metal objects showing up at the security screening point. Now there's a conversation I'd rather avoid. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Like This

Here's one of my first experiments with the coffee cup candle holder idea I mentioned yesterday.

Deciding how much decoration to add was the biggest dilemma. I've kept it pretty light in my first few attempts. If I have time later in the week I might just go to town!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


After a couple of sessions of trying out my new beading skills I decided it was time to work out some shortcuts. I do like the sparkle and detail of many tiny glass beads carefully strung together, but it takes far too long to make anything useful. A trip to one of the local Opp Shops yielded this:

I found a set of glass coffee cups with plastic handles. The handles slip off easily leaving an indented ring around what is now a glass cylinder. I'm going to try beading around that ring. The glass is designed for hot drinks, so it should cope with a candle without any trouble. I'll see how I go.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Something New

I've spent a couple of afternoons in the studio learning something new. New for me, that is . . .

This is one of my discarded early attempts. It took me several tries before I got into the rhythm and started to really see the pattern. It's herringbone stitch beading. I found it in a book of Christmas decorations. I think I've got the hang of it now, but it's slow and precise work, so I don't think I'll be doing a lot of it. On the other hand I do like the way the angled silver-lined beads pick up the light.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Classics

'Tis the season for making pretty things . . .

. . . and for keeping secrets!

Just a teaser today before I head back to the studio.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


It's a week until Christmas and there's lots to do, but I haven't got today planned out very well. It's going to be a hot day. I have some gifts to make and the studio would be the ideal place. I have plenty of pretties.

Unfortunately I'm missing some of my basic jewellery findings and supplies. I'm guessing I didn't replentish my tool box after my last creative burst--whenever that was. That means I need to go shopping, which at this time of the year is not my favourite activity. I'll have to think about how I can fit everything in without getting too hot and bothered. Meanwhile I'll brew myself another coffee. Hopefully I can get a bit of focus and make myself a list.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Next Please

I'm ready for a new yarn in for the wristies I'm making. Here's what I chose:

It's similar to the purple yarn I've been using recently, but there's more colour variation and a strand of silk in there. I don't think I'm going to get tired of knitting this any time soon!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Birthday

It was my friend L's birthday yesterday. I celebrated with a short burst of creative energy.

The glass beads had been in my collection for a while. They remind me of little lollies. Just right for a set of sweet, simple summer jewellery.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Ideas

I had a bit of time to kill in one of the city craft superstores yesterday. They generally have a table full of books on clearance. Here's one I picked up.

Polymer clay is new to me. I normally don't choose books that are project based, but this one seems to emphasise the techniques and inspiration involved in each project. I've finished my teaching for the year, so it might be time to explore something new.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More Wristies

I'm still enjoying knitting wristies.

A variety of yarns keeps the task interesting for me. I can make them with or without ruffles and other embellishments. This isn't one of the colours on the list, but when I came across it the other day I couldn't resist. It's one I spun and dyed for another project and I'd nearly forgotten about it. Melbourne hasn't managed much in the way of summer weather so far, but even when things warm up, these are small enough that they're not much trouble at all.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Market Fun

It turned out to be a good day at the House Artisan's Market yesterday. Sussex Neighbourhood House was full, with a steady stream of visitors and an expanding range of participating artists. The Creative Kids group had prepared a lively trail of footprints to lead from one room to another.
Some of the kids were there to participate in the fun of the day. The market is really a community venture--I think that's the best thing. 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keys Please!

My driving lesson with E didn't turn out quite as planned yesterday.

Stalling the car is to be expected of learner driver. In fact E doesn't make that mistake very often, but this time instead of re-starting the car she found herself with a snapped off key in her hand. We declared the lesson officially over!

A couple of phone calls later, I discovered that the clever electronic gizmo that releases the car security needs to be active at the same time as the car is being started. The broken key on the right is my "spare". It has just enough space on the broken off part to grip and turn. The newly broken key was a total loss. A trip to the locksmith revealed that this is a common problem--let's call it a design fault. So instead of practicing steering and gear changes we had an exercise in patience and problem solving.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Behind the Scenes

The House Artisan's Market is on again tomorrow. As usual there are background tasks to be completed in the last few days. I made so many crochet roses a few months ago that I didn't keep up with sewing on all the brooch backs.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in the studio catching up. It was a hot day, so the airconditioner was particularly welcome. I have a bit more to do today. If all goes well I may even have time for some card-making.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I'm happy with the colour variation in this purple hand-dyed yarn, but capturing it on the camera is still a challenge. Today I've decided to try editing the photo itself. I've got a lot to learn, but this is closer to the real thing than what I had originally.
It's another pair of wristies. I have plenty of time to work through my list of requests, so I'm having fun exploring various possibilities rather than than trying to find just one right version. That should give me a nice little collection by the time the cooler weather comes around again. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Word of Mouth

I sold a pair of purple wristies a while ago. I'm guessing the new owner wore them to her class. Now I have this list.

I'm working on the assumption that there's no great hurry--we're just getting into real summer weather--but it's nice to have some clear guidance about what people like. I'll probably make several pairs in most of these colours. People can then choose what they really want. And the rest can go on a market stall for next winter.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


The mohair tube scarf is done.

I decided to go with the coral colour and make the join a coral-like ruffle. I need to give it a soak. My knitting in the round is reasonably even, but there are still some irregularities to smooth out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


The challenge: to join the ends of my mohair tube scarf to form a continuous loop.  I don't think I can make the join truly inconspicuous. The alternative is to make it obvious.
At the same time, the principle of letting the yarn do the talking is appealing. So, I'm going to try embellishing the join with a crochet ruffle. It's the same yarn, but a deliberate variation in texture and bulk. I'll see how it looks when I'm done.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Now What?

This morning I cast off the mohair tube scarf.

Now I just need to decide how to finish off the join. Keep it simple? or Embellish it to make a feature?

While I'm thinking about that I'll be casting on another take-along project. I think that will be another knit in the round project--they're so easy to pack and carry, but maybe not another tube. Watch this space .  .  .

Sunday, December 4, 2011


I finished this pair of wristies yesterday.

I'm thinking of them as "pink tutu wristies"--an easy knit with a bit of fun with the ruffles at the end.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Slow Day

Yesterday ended up being a bit of a slow day. I had a go at a crochet flower in the latest variegated yarn. 

I'm still trying to work out how much crochet I can do without over-stressing my joints. I think I got away with this one and I'm happy with the way it's turned out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcome Guest

Sixteen year-old E arrived from interstate yesterday evening. We've been planning this visit for a long time. She's keen to learn to drive and I love to teach. She's also happy to do craft and just generally hang out.

Exploring a bit of Melbourne is also on the agenda. It's going to be interesting to share my home and time with such a welcome guest. I've known her since she was three years old, but I'm sure I've got a lot to learn! I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My friend L loves this flower brooch. It belongs to her friend H. We've been talking about it for months. Now L has borrowed it so we can have a good look at it.
It was purchased in the UK and I don't know who the designer is, but looking at it again I think it's made commercially. I wouldn't and couldn't copy it. But I'd like to work out some of the reasons it appeals so much. I have red flannel, felt and silk. I have black beads and all sorts of tools, so after being inspired and doing a bit of analysis, I'll see what I can make.