Thursday, 28 March 2013

Easy Folded Poncho Ta-dah!

Ooo, it's lovely! I wore this poncho for the first time last night to warm myself up - I had been sitting on the couch completely absorbed in the little hat I was crocheting when I suddenly realised I was cold. Very cold! Poncho to the rescue!
Pattern::   Easy Folded Poncho by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
Yarn::      Rowan Felted Tweed DK in Carbon. Lovely blue undertone to the grey. Bit scratchy on
                exposed skin. I would use the suggested alpaca yarn next time.
Needles:: 4 mm
Yardage:: 6.5 skeins = 1242 yards / 1136 m
Mods::      I added 10cm to the width and 20cm to the length, which I felt would be a better fit for
                 a…..hehem….. more solid girl. It worked.
This pattern is certainly very easy with lots of lovely stocking stitch....lots and LOTS of stocking stitch! I did find myself getting a teensy bit bored by it but, admittedly, it was the perfect mindless knitting project for TV watching. Just make sure to stop and measure towards the end or you may find you do too much.....
Anyhoo, now I am working on a couple of smaller projects for the girls. I was told off for spending too much time working on projects for myself! Miss J has chosen a hat, Miss E would like a rainbow doggie to match her birthday present, and Miss M would like me to sew a new dress for her. Oh, for some mindless stocking stitch.....
Have a beautiful Easter holiday, everyone.
Sam xx

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Another Schoolhouse Tunic

Yep. Another Schoolhouse Tunic. And why not? The pattern works for me, I know it well, it suits my shape and it is easy to make. Perfect.

This version is in a glorious pink linen, and while I know that my current go-to colour is grey, I couldn't resist how truly luscious this fabric is. That, and I had it ready to go in my meagre post-moving stash.

Have you tried some new colours lately?
What is your favourite go-to pattern?

Sam xx

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Easter Baskets aka Paper Plate Playdate Joy

My girls have been making their Easter Baskets, as we do each year, and this year I decided to 'magpie' the idea of how to make them from Miss M's basket that she made last year in Pre-Primary. We set ourselves up outside and invited over two of their new Kindy friends to make it a very social occasion.
How simple is this?
A decorated paper plate with cuts aimed towards the centre, evenly spaced around the outside edge, and then overlapped and stapled into the basket shape.
If you want a smaller, narrower opening to your basket, make more cuts or overlap more of each cut segment when you staple them. If you want it larger, make the cuts shorter, don't make so many, and don't overlap them so much.
The handles are made from strips of strawboard (card) that I have gently pulled over one of my fingers to give them a soft curve before stapling them on to the basket base.
Once the basket is constructed, it can be embellished to a little person's heart's desire! One idea is to use coloured tissue paper to mache over the staples. In our case the girls raided the glitter supplies. Yes, glitter is sprinkled from one end of the house to the other, but special occasions require such abandoned glitter application!
Yay! Easter Egg Basket Paper Plate Joy!
Now, where's that vaccuum cleaner??
What are you making for Easter with your children?
Do you have any creative kids' activities to share?
Hoping you are having a great weekend.
Sam xx

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Line Break Shawl Ta-dah!

My mother-in-law isn't convinced by this asymmetrical knit.
"I think you've done something wrong there, Sam."
It's meant to be like that!
And even though I was also dubious at the beginning, I am totally convinced now. When this piece is draped around the neck as a scarf, the eyelets in the design follow and accentuate the contours. In addition, the ends fall in waves of flowing folds. It is, if I may say so, rather gorgeous!
The Madelinetosh Merino Light yarn is divinely soft, and is a perfect choice for this piece.
Pattern::        Line Break
Yarn::           Madelinetosh Merino Light
Colourway:: Lustre
Needles::      4mm
Modifications :: Rather than follow the pattern's directions to knit in garter stitch, I used stocking stitch. This resulted in a smaller scarf than I was expecting and, as a result, if I were to knit this again I would include another repeat of the eyelet section before beginning the border as I had plenty of yarn left.
Love it - and I hope its recipient does too!

Project ravelled here.
Sam xx

Monday, 18 March 2013

Knitting Group

When one of the mummies in our new school asked me what I had been up to on the weekend, I told her I had gone to knitting group.

There was a pause...

"You know, like a book club, only we knit, and talk about knitting, and then we talk about everything else we can think of!"

She still didn't look convinced. And then she smiled.

"Aha! Is wine involved?"


Cake too!

Do you belong to a knitting or book club, too?
I hope your weekend was filled with lots of good stuff!

Sam xx

PS Thanks, Ange, for hosting. It was a lovely afternoon. And I promise that I won't break another of your coffee mugs next time. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Painting Again

Being surrounded by all these beautiful places has inspired me to paint again.
"Cosy Corner"
Oil on paper
20cm x 20cm
Sam xx

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Open Garden

Ever hopeful of another opportunity to grab a swim, I threw everyone's bathers in the car before we left for today's outing to an Open Garden* an hour away.
But it rained and rained!
All was not lost, however, for, although I had also thrown in the umbrellas "just in case", the girls haven't quite perfected their umbrella technique yet and, surprise, surprise, they were soon wet through. Drenched!
They weren't getting back in the car in that state! What to do? Aha!
And the garden at "Tree Elle" where we had received the drenching? It is a beautiful parkland with quite established trees in what had been a paddock a mere 13 years ago. Inspiring...... as was the chocolate mud cake the owner had for sale! "Yumm," said Miss J.
My search for a really good chocolate mud cake recipe begins!
Hoping you all had a fantastic weekend!
Sam xx

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Line Break Blocking

One of my new knitting group* and I have been discussing the delights and joys of blocking. She never has. Blocked, that is. And I always have, although not always with the greatest of success, but I do find on the whole that my knitted garments are only finished to the best of their potential once they have been blocked. So I am a definite blocker!
My usual method has been to pin my knitted pieces out on the ironing board and then to steam them with an iron and damp cloth. For bigger garments, this was never possible, and I used to wet the piece then lay it out on towels laid out on the carpet, which is what I learnt to do when I was living with a family of mad keen knitters in Austria while on Exchange**. Now I lay my sexy printing blanket on the outside table and use that to block my big knitted pieces, which is what I have been doing today.
My latest project, a Line Break shawl designed by Veera Välimäki, needed some more thought in regards to blocking. I don't have any blocking wires - didn't even know what they were until recently - but I used a technique suggested on the Rain Knitware Designs group on, namely to thread a non-stretching nylon through the eyelets on the outside and bottom edges to support the shape of the shawl.
It worked to a degree, but I found that in order to achieve the shape I really desired, I resorted to using pins as well, although I did find that the dental floss thread helped to support the edges so I didn't get too many pointy bits where the pins were inserted.
Blocking has completely changed the size and shape of this shawl for the better as it was a bit on the small size before. I had plenty of the second skein of Madelinetosh Merino Light left - if I were to knit it again in stocking stitch I would do an extra repeat section before the eyelet border. In this case, however, I don't think that a smaller shawl will be an issue -  its future recipient is more likely to use it as a scarf!
Back on track!
Sam xx
*Knitting group is awesome! Can't wait to go again!!
**A veeery long time ago!! They were the ones who also taught me to knit in the continental style, holding the yarn in your left hand, much the same as crocheting - or at least, the way I crochet.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

A bit lost

We went to the beach again after school yesterday, grabbing the good weather while we can and, now that it is drizzling outside, I am sad that we can't do it again today.
I have had a strange day today, feeling sad, avoiding the paints, faffing the day away, and not achieving much - feeling a bit lost .....
I just knew I would feel like this if I didn't utilise these precious child-free hours.
I should have just got my paints out, but instead, I started cleaning.
And I'm now feeling a bit better.


On the mend

Playing wave chicken on the long weekend.
Screeches of delight!
One wouldn't know that Miss M's collar bone is still broken!
She is managing herself beautifully and finds there is very little need now for her sling.
And I am amazed!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Art in Albany

I went to a talk on the history of Art in Albany the other night, held at the Albany Museum. See the sign? A museum event! We were seated in the building on the right - the old Schoolhouse, a weatherboard building that had been moved to the museum grounds.
In the audience was an elderly lady who was obviously a local. She kept interjecting with her own personal knowledge about some of the artists and their work - she had a few wicked anecdotes about some of the eccentric artists who were mentioned, and this helped to bring these characters more substance. She had known them. It made them more real.
I love this place - I love its visible history, its buildings, and the way in which people in this town respect and love it too. I want my children to feel that way, and they do - at their request we have been back to the museum with them five times since Christmas.
In fact, we were back there again today. Being tourists in our new town.
And loving it a little bit more than before!
Sam xx