Saturday, March 31, 2012

Where Was I?

My apologies for my unscheduled blog break. No, it wasn't my internet having trouble this time, it was me. I just didn't have the usual get-up-and-go and once I'd missed a day it was so much easier to miss the next day. I have been making things, albeit slowly.
  • sock knitting
  • fine spinning
  • beading
  • and the secret heart project . . .

This is a community project. My major challenge just now is rounding up various contributions. Once that's done it will be time to put it all together. If you're a local quilter you might get a phone call to invite you to a working bee. Or just let me know in the comments if you'd like to come along.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


My mad-scientist-pretty-princess-teenage friend E has had a little bit of airtime on this blog recently. Perhaps it's because her taste has that interesting little twist. Or maybe it's the fact that she's so vocally enthusiastic about what she likes. So much so that I find myself making things that freak me out just a little.
I bought the plastic skull beads from Charly last weekend with E in mind. When I was talking with her about how she'd like me to use the spare eyeballs--would you believe hair clips?--I told her about the skull beads too. Her request was for earrings. Oh, and a necklace or a charm bracelet if there are enough left over. . . Red and black seemed a natural choice, but I wasn't prepared for how much impact the little silver spacers would add to the arrangement. Considering I received links to a couple of steampunk blogs from E yesterday, I think I might just be on the right track with those. Now I must pop the earrings in a little envelope and label them carefully. I really don't want to keep looking at them!
Note to self: E's older sister is much less vocal about her preferences, but she likes blue shiny things and stars--so much less freaky for me to make. I must remember to indulge her soon too.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Green Again

I finished the pair of crazy zauberball socks last week. The second one turned out more glowingly green than I'd expected.

I was going to feature it for St Patrick's day, but was so excited about my day out that it slipped my mind. Today I've had a quiet time at home. I came across the socks while making a token effort to tidy my big table. You can see they're not blocked. I haven't invested in sock blockers yet. Any tips on that subject will be gratefully accepted.

Oh and the good news is that there's plenty of this yarn left over. Probably enough for another pair of socks if I use something else for the heel and toe. This may be just what I need to take the plunge into having a go at toe-up socks. Meanwhile I'm well on my way with another sock in a hand-dye of my own.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Autumn Accessories

The calendar is signalling the change of seasons and the weather is following suit. I decided to brighten my life with a new hat.

I've made this style so often that I can pretty much do it without thinking. I would describe it as a baggy beret. I hand-dyed the wool years ago and it's been hanging around waiting for a project. I will block it to settle it into shape. That should see it out and about with me by next week--unless the weather changes again. This is Melbourne after all.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


Another unexpected treat I brought home from my trip to the Bunny Farm.

Two almost life-size needle felted eyeballs! They were leftover from the eyeball yarn which I crocheted into a hat for young E. Charly kindly gave them to me to do what I like with. I must consult with E about them, but I do have thoughts for an alternative version of the Princess tiara. Funnily enough this 16-year old is quite happy to mix gorgeous and gory.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The Noro Sekku triangle scarf is done.

I'm still a bit unsure about it. With all those different colours it should be versatile, but there isn't an overall colour story that appeals to me. I guess I'll just have to try it and see.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I came home from my weekend trip with a lovely unexpected little addition to my spindle collection.

It's a 24 gram, dichroic glass, bottom-whorl drop spindle made by Daniel McBride of Whorled Domination. I like the name nearly as much as I like the spindle itself. It's light, fast and smooth. Having only ever tried the "boat anchor" style of bottom whorl spindles given to beginners, I was very pleasantly surprised. Now I just need to be careful of the fact that I can't afford to drop this particular spindle on a hard surface. I think I'll stick with my timber spindles on public transport just in case I have a clumsy day.

Monday, March 19, 2012


Just to add to the treat of my Play Day trip to the Bunny Farm on the weekend, I raided my box of luxury fibres. This is Ixchel's "Camel-bunny-silk".

It's fine soft and delicious. I'm spinning it fine to make the most of it and it's a little bit slippery, so it does take a fair bit of concentration, but it's worth it every step of the way.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Play Day

Yesterday I took myself off for a much needed play day. I went to the Bunny Farm for the monthly spin-in. It's been way too long since I got there.
It being St Patrick's day hadn't made much of an impact on me, but when I arrived I couldn't help but notice. Charly had prepared a delicious variety of green food--for the humans not the bunnies. And when I asked for a glass of water it was also coloured green.

I'm almost sure the colouring was flavourless, but it was hard to convince myself of that because the colour was so intense!

I came home with a few little bonuses which I will blog about later.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Yesterday I spent more time on the phone with technical support people. No offence intended, but I don't much like talking with technical support people. They have their little problem-solving script, "unplug this; plug it in again; turn the power off and turn it on again; check this setting and so on and so forth . . ."

I've had weeks and months of it. It seems that one problem is solved only to make room for another one to develop. I've lost count of the number of phone calls I've made. Yesterday one of the technical support people finally was willing to look at the bigger picture. She noted the number of problems in my history and agreed to "escalate the problem". I spoke with a Level 2 technician, who referred me to a Level 3 technician. This morning the Level 3 technician called me. I expected a long and complicated conversation with in depth analysis of the situation. Instead he laughingly agreed with me that my modem-router has a gremlin problem. He advised me not to add water and promised to send me a replacement. He even volunteered to test the new machine for a couple of days before sending it to me. Meanwhile I have internet access for the time being. At least until the gremlins strike again.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

In the Pink

I picked through my boxes of wool tops this morning looking for some pink. Here's what I found.

I'm spinning it up to ply with my bonus bag of pink merino blend. It will be interesting to see how the different colour combinations turn out.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Today's Bargain

I couldn't resist this bargain today. Old zippers on clearance for 5 cents each. I bought ten.
They're for my beginner sewing students. At that price they can practice using the zipper foot without any worries.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Glass and Wire

I finished this necklace yesterday afternoon. It's made from artistic wire and glass beads.
By the time I'd done all the wiring, my fingers were numb from gripping the pliers so hard for so long.
The artistic wire has a copper core, so it's relatively easy to work with, but I used 18 gauge, which is the thickest I own. I only just had enough to wire the beads, so I used purchased jump rings to link everything together. I have some matching beads to make earing with. I can't wait to try get them done so I can see how it all looks. 

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dressing Up

I've started stitching the princess dresses for my little girl quilt.
The temptation is to just keep embellishing them, but I think I'd better stick to the basics for now. I have a dozen to complete for the quilt. There's no use having a couple of gorgeous ones done and another unfinished project on my hands.

In an odd coincidence, I've been following the excitement of a young friend choosing her dress for the end of school celebration. I have yet to see her final choice, but there seem to be remarkable similarities in style!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


I've had these lovely pencils for a while, but haven't had much of a chance to play with them yet. The exciting thing is that they're colourfast on fabric. They're going to be used for the same project as my heart. Since fabric isn't really what they're designed for, I needed to do a bit of experimenting.

This fabric has been given a good rinse, so I'm convinced that the pencils really are colurfast. I think the fibrefix diluted with a bit of water will be my first choice. Getting comfortable with them will just take a bit more experimenting, but I probably won't be so systematic next time. Now that I know that the colour with stick, I can really play around.

Saturday, March 10, 2012


Last weekend I was calling this my penance knitting.

Now I've knitted my way through the muddy-purple, tomato-red, mint- and kermit-green. I'm starting to get flecks of blue. A couple of people have commented on how Japanese the colour scheme is! I think it's growing on me.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cuff Take 2

This is the second sock of this pair.

And this is the second time I've completed the cuff. Why?, you ask. Do you see the needle in the lower part of the pic? It's not the same as the others. No, it's not! It's half a millimetre smaller --oops--bigger . In this case that matters. I completed the whole cuff before I realised I was using the wrong size needles. Then I agonised for a while about what to do. When I looked at it objectively I had to admit that the tension was noticeably different. So I ripped it out and started again. Now I can get on with the rest of the sock. The sizes are printed on the needles, but I just wasn't paying enough attention.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Princess Prettiness

Funny how one stitching project leads to another . . .

With the enthusiasm leftover from stitching the doggy heart, I started on a new project. The pretty puffy princess dress comes from a fabric called "ballet". I've fused and cut out a dozen or so of these. It will be fun to gradually blanket-stitch them and then add a bit of embellishment. One little girl quilt coming up!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I'm working on my contribution to a quilt for a friend who has recently retired. We share a love of dogs amongst other things. The design is quite simple with different people embellishing or signing a heart block. Yep, those are doggy paw prints on the fabric.

I've just been browsing through boxes of fabrics to choose other relevant motifs.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Random Rose

What to do when presented with an unexpected, unknown quantity of pink fibre that's had a bad start in life?

A pink rose, of course! Mothers' Day is coming up and later there will be Pink Ribbon Day. Meanwhile the worst bits have been set aside to liven up some felting.

Monday, March 5, 2012


I went to the Sunday Spinners group at the Handweavers and Spinners' Guild yesterday. It's been way too long since I'd been there and it was great to catch up with some old friends and meet some new ones. It's rare for me to get away from the Guild without adding some fibre to my collection, but this time it happened without any outlay of money.

One of the spinners had bought this bag pink merino blend tops. She wasn't having any luck with it and finally got so frustrated that she gave it away. Maybe I should've left a moment of polite silence, but I didn't. I quickly said, "I'll have it!" I did then offer to split it with anyone else and I offered it back to her once she'd calmed down, but in the end it came home with me. I'm sure it will behave for me just fine. I'm looking forward to plying it with some different shades of pink to see how it will come up.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


I don't normally fuss too much about my fingernails. As long as they're reasonably neat, I like to leave well enough alone. But lately they started chipping, breaking, flaking and SNAGGING ON MY KNITTING. Suddenly I had a problem to deal with. I browsed the unfamiliar aisles of a local beauty warehouse for a solution.

With a name like "miracle cure", how could I go wrong? Two weeks and half a dozen applications later, I'm a happy knitter again. And occasionally I catch sight of my newly shiny nails and smile. As for the future, who knows? My guess is that my temporary aberration won't last that long--as long as my nails go back to being fuss-free when I eventually stop using the cure.

Saturday, March 3, 2012


The mystery project is now a pretty package.

I had some japanese lawn which seemed to be suitable wrapping. Now I'm off to breakfast with the birthday girl. I hope she likes it. 

Friday, March 2, 2012


I've just unpinned the mystery project from my make-do blocking board. I was thinking I'd eventually post a pic of the whole thing, but that's going to be difficult. Here's a detail:

It's a handspun wool-silk blend--not quite black knitted in a simple feather and fan design long-ways. The overall effect is like a long ripple with motif repeated along both long ends of the scarf. I'm afraid an overall pic would just give you a dark blob to look at.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Noro Continues

I'm still knitting the Noro Sekku in odd moments of patience. Here's how it looks now.

The colours and texture remind me of the surf-wear of my teen years--not that I was the surfie type--it's a strange feeling. As you can see from the ball there's still a lot of yarn to come and all sorts of unexpected colours, so it's still a journey into the unknown.