Wednesday, February 25, 2009

it's official

It's official.

There are just far too many fun groups on Ravelry to join...

The latest one which has come to my attention is the Fabric Knitting and Crochet group. A whole group made up of people who love crafting from rags? I'm in! And if it appeals to you... you should join up too...

For february, they are working on bath mats. There are a couple of different patterns to choose from. I have chosen this one because I haven't used cables in my rag work before, and wanted to give it a try. This particular pattern calls for 19mm needles, but my largest size are 15mm... so they will have to do!

You might remember last year I found these pink rolls of ribbing... well... I'm hoping they will be perfect for the job. Here's my progress so far:

002 progress

Friday, February 20, 2009


Been incredibly busy lately, with all sorts of NON-CRAFT activities... so I don't have much to share with you today.

So instead, I will share a few links...

Quite a number of you have been asking for details of the blogs which I follow. The truth is, I don't spend much time on other blogs... otherwise I'd NEVER get any crafting of my own done. But there are three places I like to visit for inspiration.


this month the focus is on pets... which is not really appealing to me much... but if you go back to the january posts, the focus was on recycling... plenty of inspiration there

I love to check out what people are up to here. Even if the focus is on a craft which I haven't mastered yet... it is fascinating to see what is being made out there.

Martha Stewart
Don't tell anyone (especially Mr Goldfish) but I think I might be in love with Martha. I always check out her 'craft of the day' and also her 'organizing tip of the day'

So tell me... and one another... where do YOU like to visit???

Back again!

I'm editing this post to include links to the sites you suggest... just makes it easier for us all to have a sticky beak

the pioneer woman

cake wrecks


whip up

lime & violet

Thursday, February 19, 2009

so spoiled...

I'm excited to tell you all about the neapolitan ice cream project... but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Because right now I want to tell you all about the wonderful day I had yesterday.

It was always going to be a fabulous day. Once a fortnight I meet up with some fellow crochet addicts. We get together at my place, and spend the day indulging in craft, chat and way too many calories (oops) We 'oooh' and 'ahhh' over one another's current projects, and share hints, tips and ideas. We met online through Ravelry, and are all at quite different places in our lives... but have this fabulous common ground... our love of all things fibre!

This week, I was very spoiled... take a peek at some of my goodies...

carpet nylon from daphne

Daphne brought along this wonderful STUFF... I'm going to call it STUFF, because we don't exactly know what it is... but it seems to be some kind of carpet nylon. Definitely durable.

But why would you give someone six balls of carpet nylon???

Well... if you click here I promise that it will all make sense...

Daphne knows that I am planning on making one of these for my kitchen. I mean, how could I not... that project is so ME. Of course I have a plentiful supply of crazy yarn, but no nylon... well, until now that is.

And I received another gift from Daphne yesterday... she shared her KNOWLEDGE with me! I have been TRYING rather unsuccessfully to make this square. Over and over and over again... I couldn't even get the heart in the centre to come out right. I had reached the point where I completely abandoned it, claiming that I never liked that square anyway... but Daphne encouraged me to give it one more go, and talked me through the pattern. It turns out that the problem was not with the designer's pattern writing skills... but my pattern reading skills were at fault. Fancy that! But I'll fill you in on that another day...

Cristina brought me some goodies today, too. She has been sorting through her craft things, and clearing out what she no longer wants to keep.

multicoloured yarn from cristina

I'll unravel this half hat and scarf, and reclaim the yarn for another project. Maybe a top for my daughter. I know the yarn looks hairy, and hairy yarns are usually a nightmare to unravel, but this one is kind of SLINKY as well (does that make any sense?) and comes apart nicely

felted jumper from cristina

This jumper has already been felted by Cristina. It's nice and thick, and will probably make a fabulous bag. Yes, I will make a felted bag tutorial soon. I know I've been promising it for a while. Perhaps I will use this jumper for it? Good plan

coloured fleece from cristina

Some coloured fleece... soon to become a felted bowl

brown ribbon yarn from cristina

Some ribbon yarn... destined to be a bag (no - I don't have enough bags yet)

beads from cristina

And a box of old jewellery... I'm going to have so much fun with this!

But wait... there's more...

Look what arrived in the mail today:

clf book cover

and look what's inside

my pattern in clf book


I'm very excited (can you tell)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

mmmm... ice cream!

There's something very neapolitan ice cream about these colours... don't you think?

strawberry... vanilla... chocolate...


getting started

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

storing knitting needles...

I'm often on the look out for interesting and practical ways to store my craft supplies... and knitting needles are always a bit of a challenge. So I was delighted to discover this piece at the local 'op shop'... tagged at $1.50

knitting needle storage

I'm a little bit addicted to all things wicker. To be honest, I just can't get enough of the stuff! The textures and the colours... it all fascinates me. And it always seems to have a sense of warmth and character about it.

So I'm guessing that it is a picnic basket kind of thingy... with space to store a couple of bottles of wine, and a picnic rug. But it screamed KNITTING NEEDLES to me... the 'pockets' at the front are perfect for all my straight needles... and my circulars, stitch holders and cable needles are in an old round biscuit tin, in the back 'pocket'

Now I just need to find something equally as interesting to store my crochet hooks in...

Tell me. How do you store your hooks and needles?

Monday, February 16, 2009

I didn't forget...

I didn't forget about the Block A Month CAL... I just hadn't got around to it yet!

February's pattern is the Two Tone Square by Dayna Audirsch. If you are not a member at Ravelry, you can click here for the pattern.

Naturally, mine has more than two tones in it...

block #3 - february block - two tone

As always, it is made entirely from recycled and reclaimed yarns. I've mostly used 8ply/DK weight. There are nine different colours in total. Using a 4.5mm hook, this piece came out at 11” square, then it required moderate blocking to bring it up to 12”.

Colour details are:
  • round 1 - dark burgundy
  • round 2 - maroon
  • round 3 - dark burgundy
  • round 4 - navy
  • round 5 - petrol
  • round 6 - mid blue
  • round 7 - dark burgundy
  • round 8 - brown and white fleck
  • round 9 - cream
  • round 10 - river gum green
  • round 11 - camel fleck
  • round 12 - dark burgundy

Sunday, February 15, 2009

stuffing around...

Well, I still don't have any progress to show on the haekelbeutel bag...

I'm just not 'in the zone' with it at the moment. I've tried about 75 million different alternatives for the handles, but nothing pleases me. My experimenting has included twisted cords, wooden beads, macrame belts, crochet I cords, scarves, denim straps... I've even been dyeing things for just the right match... but... shrug... I haven't found the perfect match yet

So I'm setting it aside for a while.

In the meantime I had a small 'filler' project to work on. Auntie Elle is organising an afghan for a charity, and I volunteered to make a square. She's not my ACTUAL auntie... that's just her Ravelry name.


How hard is it to make a simple square?

I'd have had it done in no time if I was given a pattern, but for some reason I have been completely incapable of making a decision for myself. So many different blocks were started and then unraveled. There was nothing wrong with them... I just didn't warm to them. Hours and hours of work, with nothing to show for it.

But I finally did it!!!!

I chose this pattern here, and made it in yellow (as requested)

My only modification to the pattern, was to make 3ch at each 'corner' instead of only 2ch as directed.


After all that stuffing around... I LOVE THE RESULT! Very simple, with just enough detail to keep it interesting. I'll definitely be using this pattern again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

sneak peek

Have to say that I am DELIGHTED with the way that the haekelbeutel bag has felted. The food dyed yarn did not run during the felting process, and the cream joining yarn felted equally as well as the squares. Actually, I love the way the joins are looking.

And, of course it shrank... it's now only 42cm across, still a decent sized bag... but much more practical than the whopping 53cm we started with!

So here is a sneak peek. I'm planning to add handles and a lining today. Then it will be ready to use.

008 felted bag (close)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

my corner of the world

Thank you so much to everyone who has sent messages of concern, thoughts, prayers and hugs...

We are safe... about 50km from the fires... and under NO immediate threat...

If you have five minutes to spare... you might like to take a look at the video below (just click on the image) to see what is happening in my corner of the world. There is a map shown within the first 20 seconds of the video... we are located about half way between MELBOURNE and BENDIGO

Bushfire arson is ‘mass murder’
Bushfire arson is ‘mass murder’

Saturday, February 7, 2009

cleopatra's necklace...

Lisa Gentry has a pattern for a crochet necklace... called Cleopatra's Necklace. If you're a member over at Ravelry, you might be interested in the Lisa's Designs group. They run a competition each month, offering a free pattern for you to make up... and the person whose piece is voted the best, receives a prize pack. This month, it is the necklace.

Anyhow... I thought I would focus on this necklace, to take my mind off the haekelbeutel bag as it felted in my washing machine. I use a front loader, so once the cycle starts... I can't open the machine for SEVENTY FIVE OF THE LONGEST MINUTES EVER!!!!

I had already chosen my materials.


In place of yarn, I am using a combination of fishing line and metallic gold sewing thread. Then some recycled beads, and a disc from an old belt.

necklace (close up)

I love the way the thread/fishing line combination has worked out. It gives the look of wire, but is soft. It was pretty CURLY when I first made it, so I had to iron it flat (between two old towels)


And this is the end result. I don't like the row of chains which run above the first row of beads. If I was to make this again, I would eliminate them by adding a row of beads in the centre of the foundation chain... I think it would look better that way.

It was all done by the time the washing cycle was finished. I honestly think I spent more time selecting the beads than actually making it up!

As for the haekelbeutel bag... it's not dry yet... but it is LOOKING PRETTY FABULOUS!

Friday, February 6, 2009

so far, so good...

YES... it felted!

YES... the colour remained... admittedly, it has muted a bit... but I find there is often SLIGHT colour change when felting

YES... it reduced in size... originally 20cm when measured diagonally... now 17.5cm

007 felted swatch results

So why am I so nervous???

I want to felt this bag... but for some reason I am feeling completely ill at the thought of putting it into the washing machine. Ordinarily I would just toss it in and hope for the best, but this time I have the worst case of 'butterflies' in my tummy! Oh... the anxiety...

what if is felts to itself?

what if it distorts beyond all recognition?

what if I regret it?

Arghhhh... I just need to DO IT... and stop driving myself crazy with the 'what ifs'

Thursday, February 5, 2009

only 10g


I've been pondering for a couple of days now, and come to the conclusion that I really want to felt my haekelbeutal bag. Thank you so much to everyone who suggested I make a swatch and try felting that first, to get an idea of what the result is likely to be.

I'm a little shocked that I didn't think of that myself... it seems such a simple idea... but here's the thing... I DON'T SWATCH!

YES... I know that I should... but I don't...

I just start crafting, and if it doesn't turn out the way I'd like - I either unravel it, or transform it into something else... like my felted bowl, which morphed into a handbag... (click here if you want to take a look)

Don't panic... I have no plans of becoming a serial swatcher! I will always be a casual crafter. But in this particular case, I think it's worth while. So... time for a swatch.

Which brings me to a small problem:

005 swatch yarn

See that teeny tiny bit of wool there... that's all I have leftover after making the bag... only 10 grams!

But I'll do what I can. I've made up a swatch and included some of the cream yarn which I had used to join the squares. It's not a full square, but I did get four of the five rounds done. Enough to give me an indication, anyway.

006 swatch square

Now for the BIG test... will it felt? will it retain that gorgeous colour? will I like the result? I wonder...

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

stash flash

I love my yarn stash,

and I especially love my stash storage...

it's just so damn 'touchable' all the time!

I can see and reach EVERYTHING (although admittedly, I do need a small stepping stool to reach the top shelf)

I originally wrote about my method of stash storage in this post here
... well that was six months ago now, and it is still working beautifully. Originally I had organised the yarns according to fibre type. But then I realised that I don't really care too much about fibre types... I'm way more interested in colour. So now everything is colour grouped into what my sister refers to as my 'rainbow wall'

And it's easy to find inspiration when you have a rainbow wall!

stash flash - feb 2009

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

a mountain of yarn...

Do you recognise this yarn???

more reclaimed yarn - january

Last time you saw it was in this post here

All unraveled and clean... and ready to add to the stash!

Monday, February 2, 2009

inga's haekelbeutal

I've had my eye on this pattern for a while, but have been waiting for just the right yarn to come my way. It's a fascinating bag, made using 16 squares... which are then joined in an unusual shape, to make the bag. The pattern is available in pdf format, by clicking here.

So I was excited to try it using my recently dyed red/purple colourway...
(click here and here to see the colouring processes I used)

the yarn is about 10ply/aran weight, and I used a 5.0mm hook

the squares worked up nicely:

003 single square

and I crocheted them together with a cream wool, to help define each square:

004 squares joined

but I seem to have created a monster:

001 progress

It looks nice enough so far... but it is HUGE! So I've come to a grinding halt, while I decide what to do next...

option 1 -
I could leave it as is... sew in the ends, add the straps, and line it BUT... even with short straps, this thing comes down to my knees! It would probably make a great yarn bag, but I don't know that I would use it for anything else... and that would be a shame

option 2 -
I could felt it, but who knows how that would work out? I would be risking the whole thing, and I really like this yarn. I'm concerned that the near boiling water used to felt the bag, will also make the colours run. Has anyone felted a project made from food-dyed yarn before? I know that the colour has set nicely, because I have washed it and it did not run... but felting is a bit harsher than normal washing...

option 3 -
I could take it apart, then re-join the squares using only 12 instead of 16. The bag would remain the same width, but become shorter... which would work. But the idea of taking it apart... ugh...

I think I have to go with option 3... but I'm not ready to jump in just yet... I have to prepare myself mentally first, so I don't cry... too much!

Oh, and next time I make this bag... I will only work 4 rounds on each square.