To Reminisce

9:26 PM 0 Comments

We used to be one of those fortunate people who lived on a 10 acre block at the very end of a country road.  Our house was up on a hill, nestled in the shelter of bigger hills, with views to the far distant ranges.

Unfortunately, it was a fair distance from town and the daily travel to work was a bit of a drag.  So, with BigMiss nearing school age and not wanting to make a 1.5hr round trip twice a day (no bus), we made the hard decision to sell up and move to town.

We had always wanted to have a photo enlarged of the view from our lounge window to remember the place by, but never got around to it.

Recently, I won a competition on a blog and the prize was a free enlargement of a photo of your choice.  Guess what J suggested?  (I was thinking of one of the family/girls.)

Click to enlarge

This one.

It's the view from the top of the hill behind our old house (you can see the house near the edge of the hill shadow just to the left of centre near the bottom of the picture).

It's up on our wall already, looking fantastic.

Thank you so much, Angela!

(Make sure you stop by Angela's blog, Striking Keys, if I was forced to choose a favourite blog - I hate having to choose favourite anythings as it depends on mood so often - it would be hers!)


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My Creative Space - More Bag Making!

5:41 PM , 6 Comments

I seem to have quite a collection of circular needles in a combination of interchangeables and fixeds.  And I never seem to be able to find them when I need them!  So I decided that I would have to make myself a case to keep them in order.

Ages ago I had seen someone selling interchangeable needle cases on Felt and then heard that she was developing a pattern tutorial for sale.  I eagerly awaited for the pattern to go up and bought one.  I went out and bought my supplies (spent a dangerous amount of time in the local Quilt shop) and cut the pieces out, ready for sewing it together.

But while I was making it, I couldn't help but think how big it was.  I had wanted something compact, similar to a cheque-book sized purse that would fit nicely in my knitting bag.  Instead it turned out slightly bigger than my A5 notebook.  It's a fantastic design and has room for lots of stuff, complete with plastic pockets to keep the needle tips from falling out while still being able to see what's there.

I was a little disappointed as the pattern never says on it what the final size of the case will be.  And it doesn't come with pattern pieces, just dimensions to cut pieces out to without actually telling you what the pieces are for until you've put it all together (which by then is too late as I found out).  Normally, I adjust patterns as I go to suit exactly what I want, which I would've done in this case if there were pattern pieces showing how big the final product was.  So, I sat down and drew out a full size pattern of a new case in the size I wanted it to be and ended up with a completely different needle case.

This got me thinking, would anyone else be interested in a more compact sized interchangeable needle case for their knitting supplies?  The one I've designed is approx 4.5"x9", can fit up to 14 pairs of tips, lots of cables as well as fixed circulars and has two zipped pockets (plus an optional third).  I have the pattern drawn out to size on disc, it's a relatively simple construction and super easy to do up a pdf pattern for it.  All I have to do is take photos of the process to demonstrate and I can have it available for testing.  Is it worth doing, anyone interested?

Don't forget to check out all the other fantastic Creative Types over here!


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Sewing Class

8:40 PM 1 Comments

Do you know what the best thing is about the sewing class I teach at school?

Planning what to make!

I've taught two terms now, and as I only take half the class each term (the other half does cooking), I've been able to do the same project (a skirt) both terms.  But I have the first group of girls back again next term so had to plan something different to make.

The front - minus the button

It had to be something simple, but not too easy that it would be finished before our time was up.  And I really like the idea of something useful and fun (hence why we did a skirt last time).  I decided a bag would be perfect.

The Back

I had several ideas and went trawling the internet to find suitable patterns.  But I kept coming back to one particular bag that I had stumbled across ages ago and always liked.  It was the Mischievous Gnome Messenger Bag by Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated.

See the fancy internal pockets?  Zip pocket on one side and patch pocket, with compartments for a pencil or two on the other

Now, I thought it was bad manners to just purchase a pattern and use it in a sewing class without asking permission from the designer first so I emailed Meg, telling her about what I was planning on doing with the pattern.  And she emailed back with the amazingly generous offer to send me a pattern for free to use in my class!  (This was not a downloadable pattern - it was a printed pattern she had to post international that she was giving me for free!)

Close-up of the bug 'patch' detail (excuse the flash!)

So the pattern arrived very quickly and I started planning what I was going to make my 'prototype' out of (to show the girls what we were working towards).  J had commented that my current knitting bag was rather 'Nana-ish' and I should really have a nice plain black one.  I always have denim in stash so that was decided for the outer fabric.  But I do like to take advantage of the funky prints available so spent some more time on the internet trying to decide what I liked best.

Bug Party by Saffron Craig used as the main lining

I had stumbled upon a fantastic Aussie designer, Saffron Craig, via a fellow blogger and she just happened to be having free shipping on all fabric purchases in May.  So I ordered my fabric and waited for it to arrive!

Snails & Ladders by Saffron Craig used in the pockets

The package arrived nice and quickly and I got the pattern pieces cut out and ready to sew.  And then, finally, last week I got a chance to sit behind my machine and put it all together.

I made the bag as per the pattern with only a few modifications.  I only made one outside pocket panel (the pattern has one on the front and the back).  I used fusible fleece to back the lining with to make a softer inside.  I added an extra internal pocket with a spot to put a pencil or pen.  I made a button loop instead of the 'wrap around the button' ribbon (though I am yet to put a button on!)

Check back next term to see how it all goes in class!


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If Only I Didn't Have to Sleep!

5:39 PM , 0 Comments

A fellow blogger, Bethany from Sweet Bee Buzzings, makes and sells some awesome bags.

I can't exactly remember how I found her blog (maybe through Facebook?) but I do remember it was because of a very cool bag that she designed herself:

I fell in love with the beautiful curves as well as the colours in this bag.

Then, just recently, she mentioned that she would be doing a Sew-A-Long to make this bag and I decided that I would have to do it to (I'm sure I need another knitting bag, right?)

Sweet Bee Buzzings

The supplies list went up the other week, complete with the pattern so we could all cut out our material, ready to start in on Monday.  But do you think I was ready?

Hmm, no.  I've been busy depleting my PayPal balance with fabric purchases for other projects, not to mention the fact that I have a long list of sewing-to-be-done:

- Next term for my sewing class I'm planning on making a bag - a simple satchel/messenger bag - so I have to make one first to show the girls what we're aiming towards and familiarise myself with the pattern.  I have the fabric all ready and pattern cut out.

- I am constantly losing track of my interchangeable knitting needle tips and cables and need to make a bag for them.  Pattern purchased and fabric all ready.

- J's cousin is getting married and needs her wedding dress altered.  (That's what happens when you take you own measurements and put the tape across the wrong spot for the hips!)

- I still have a pile of material not put away because the girls really need clothes made for them and if it gets put away then it means it's not happening for a while (but sitting on the floor for several months means it's happening soon?)

- As the days are getting dark by 4.30pm I'm starting to want curtains made for the living area so the neighbors can't see in (this is due to the renovations we've done - more windows).  I don't have fabric yet and the one I like is not the cheapest.

So I might just have to leave the bag sew-a-long for now.  Maybe I can make it when my list is a bit shorter!


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My Secret Revealed

The Red Riding Hood Yarn Club packages went out last week and have all been received, which means I am now free to tell you all about my latest designs!


I was so excited when Hannah wanted to involve me as a pattern designer for one of the month's installments and it was great fun working with her to produce a pattern to fit her yarn and theme.


The overall theme for the Yarn Club is 'Magical Creatures' and my month's installment is Mermaids and Mermen.  I was to design a vest pattern along that theme - one for the boy's club and one for the girl's.

The boy Club package

I wanted both vests to be similar, with the boy one done in cables and the girl one done in lace.  The vests both feature a central 'fishtail' panel done in a cable for boys and lace for girls.  To either side on the fronts, the vests feature ribbing with cables or lace to invoke images of grand pillars with seaweed and ropes similar to what might be found in the underwater city of Atlantis.

The girl Club package

The pattern names I’ve taken from ancient Greek mythology - Poseidon and Amphitrite. Most people will be familiar with Poseidon as the god of the sea, but maybe not so much with Amphitrite who was a sea-goddess and wife of Poseidon. Amphitrite was a daughter of Nereus so is also known as a ‘Nereid’ which is the name I used for the central lace panel for the girl’s vest. The name for the central cable panel for the boy’s vest, Triton, is the name of their son who was also a merman.

The package also included some gorgeous handmade buttons from Buttons by Benji which are perfectly colour-matched to the yarn Hannah has dyed.

Fantastic quality - I will be purchasing more!

And I think Hannah did such a fantastic job dyeing the colours!  They are both perfectly suited for the mermaid/man theme, conjuring up images of watery worlds and fishscales.

Now my job's done, I'm quite excited to see what surprises the other two months will hold - I already know who the other two designers are so I know they'll be good!

All but the modelled pictures have been 'borrowed' from RRHY's Blog or Facebook - Thanks, Hannah!

These patterns are club-exclusive for 6months at which time I will make them available for purchase.


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We have a Winner!

3:41 AM 1 Comments

I wish I knew how to show a snap-shot of the thingee to show the winning comment number, but it picked comment #3.  So...

Congratulations to Sarah of Kiwi Gets Crafty!

You chose to win the Sweet As... tee pattern and Honeydew cotton yarn to make it in.

I will send you an email for your details to send out your prize!


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Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3...

9:51 PM , 1 Comments

With my latest design finally finished, printed and sent off to Hannah at Red Riding Hood Yarns I felt like a little break from the mind-work involved in pattern design.  And what better way to do that than a complete change in focus?

I had noticed that a fellow designer on Ravelry was testing a new skirt pattern.  I had previously tested one of her designs a while ago and really liked it.  But I didn't want to commit to a test while I was still in the process of my own work so didn't offer. 

When my design work was all finished, I checked up on how her testing was progressing and noticed she had no one for sizes 6-8yrs - exactly the size for all my girls!  So I offered to whip one up for her as the girls always love new skirts (and LittleMiss was in need).

And as a change, it's crochet!
I love the clean lines and finished appearance crochet has while you're still working it.

This pattern has been pre-released on Ravelry as the designer, Deanne Ramsay of Addydae Designs, is hosting a CAL (crochet-a-long) in one of the groups I belong to.

So, if you're into crochet and have a little miss of your own to crochet for, join in the CAL and you could win yarny goodies!  Deanne has several designs to choose from too.

PS. Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway.  Just scroll down for details or click here.


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A Century!

9:50 PM 11 Comments

I finally made it to 100 Posts!  That means it's time for another giveaway.

The last two giveaway prizes were for something I made so this time I thought I'd give something for YOU to make - one of my knit designs and the yarn to make it with!

And because I now have a few designs available, I thought you might like to choose your own prize.

So, you can win the Clara singlet top pattern and 100g of either Treehugger or Maize 4ply Superwash Sock from Vintage Purls (this is enough to make up to a size 5 or 6 years)
See the beautiful detailing in the lacework



Or, the DK version and 150g of either Rosebud or Cranberry Classic 8ply from Bendigo Woollen Mills (this is enough to make up to a sze 5 or 6 years)



Or, the Sweet As... tee pattern and 200g of Honeydew Cotton from Bendigo Woollen Mills
I love the cute litte hearts!


Or, the Elisaac jersey/jumper pattern and both 150g balls of Rosebud and Cranberry Classic 8ply from Bendigo Woollen Mills. (I don't have any boy colours in stash, but these two go together nicely for a girl.  You can either use a third colour of your own for the bands or just do the bands and a stripe the same colour.)
What a handsome young man!

And all you have to do is let me know which prize you want in the comments below!

I will do the random thing on Friday afternoon/evening to pick the winner.
I will send the yarn in the post, but the pattern will be gifted via Ravelry (or emailed in pdf format if you're not on Ravelry).  And please make sure I have a way to contact you!


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