Monday, December 13, 2010

a surprise delivery

During the week, I had an unexpected package arrive in the mail...

secret santa stitch markers 2010

There were no identifying marks on the package, so I didn't have a clue who it came from.

All I could figure was that it was someone who knows my real name and address... and who lives in Australia.

Which lead me to Crochet Lovers Victoria...

But when I went to post in the forums there, I discovered that I was not the only one who received a secret package this week!

So many other members were posting about their surprises too... and NONE of us know where they came from.

So I need to say a very BIG THANK YOU to my secret santa (whoever you might be)

I love the washer and the sparkly thread, and those stitch markers are going to come in very handy. Your stitch work is exquisitely tidy!

But most of all, I love the thought you have given... investing time and effort making these surprises and sharing them with us...

It's also been fabulous fun to watch everyone play detective, and try to discover your identity

Thanks again for the wonderful Christmas surprise!!

secret santa surprise 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

my latest project

my latest project

I've been in hibernation for a long, long time now... haven't I???

Truth is, I've hardly felt HUMAN over the last few months.

I've been so utterly exhausted, that there's been NO TIME or INTEREST for craft of any kind, let alone blogging about it.

As you can guess from the photo, I've been busy working on my latest project...

growing another BABY GOLDFISH!!!

It's been a lot of years since I last did this... and I don't remember it being quite this much of a challenge last time! Then again, maybe we're programmed to forget about the nightmare parts of pregnancy and childbirth... otherwise no one would ever do it more than once!!!

So, here I am...

At the end of the first trimester...

Finally experiencing little bursts of energy...

And becoming inspired to get back into my craft!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

free crochet pattern - the little green frog


what weeds???

all I see is pretty yellow flowers in my garden!

the little green frog and little miss six

this pattern is availabe as a free download for the month of OCTOBER 2010 only...

what are you waiting for???

follow the link here for the pattern! download now

the little green frog

Tuesday, September 14, 2010



Been having a play around with those mini skeins... just to see how far each will stretch, if making single colour motifs

These simple squares are approximately 6cm x 6cm, and I get 1 square per skein. Not that fussed about the small grannies, or the leaf. But I quite like the simple garter square.


Fun to play around with, but I can't see myself making an entire afghan this way.

Maybe another cushion cover? I still need to make more

Although I should finish that granny one first...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

if one is good, then two must be better


So I suddenly realised that I didn't have a plan for the back of the granny cushion...

Option 1: I could leave it plain... but then I know it would drive me insane everytime it flipped over on the couch (and believe me - there is a whole lotta cushion flipping that goes on at our place!)

Option 2: I could work a different square for the back, and then I have the option of intentionally flipping for a different look... but then I know that I will end up favouring one side more than the other... and my least favourite side will be the one it always ends up on.

Option 3: Is the winner. The back will be EXACTLY the same as the front, so that it doesn't matter which way the cushion sits!

Now, I'll be the first to admit... it's not too often that I make two pieces which are an exact replica of one another... remember those socks I made? Even they didn't match!


Friday, September 10, 2010

they're so yellow!

love daffodil season

Love daffodil season...

And since I drive past TWO daffodil farms on my way to work... well... it would be a crime not to stop and support local business, wouldn't it?

While you're admiring the daffodils... check out the table runner in the photo... I'll tell you all about it soon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

the granny treatment

Did you notice the cushion on the couch in my last blog post???

There's nothing wrong with it... except that it is a bit, well, too BEIGE for my liking!

So I've decided to give it the granny treatment.

One nice bright granny square coming up...

a cushion in the making

I've always been reluctant to use granny squares on cushions, because of the sewing involved... I mean... you simply MUST line them, they're too holey not to.

And the very thought of having to line them, has sent me running... because if I wanted a removable cover, then I would have to insert a zipper... and that's just all too scarey for my liking!

But this time I'm going to cheat a little.

Because the existing cushion cover is in good condition (well... it will need to be soaked for a few days in some napisan... but apart from the general grubbiness, it's in good nick) I can simply attach the crochet to the cover. I'll probably make a square for the front and the back, and then just stitch them into place.

That's the plan, anyway... and I'll try and remember to take some progress photos as I go... although sometimes I just get so caught up in the moment that I completely forget!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I had a visitor today...

And she came bearing a gift...

a table full of mini skeins

Thank you Dawnie-Pants!

Just look at all those mini skeins of wool on my coffee table - a whole 1.6kg worth of sample yarn!

mini skeins

Now, I don't have a plan for them just yet... for the moment they are still sitting on the table, for me to admire and fondle.

And the kids have been entertaining themselves 'fishing'... a game which involves stabbing one of my knitting needles blindly into the pile, and seeing what they can 'catch'

Clearly I have been blessed with children who are as easily amused as I am!

Now tell me... what would you do with all these tiny skeins???

more mini skeins

Saturday, September 4, 2010

meet little hootie...

Want to meet my friend, Little Hootie???


The pattern for this little guy is published in the October 2010 issue of Crochet World magazine... which is currently on sale.

I'm always super excited to have a pattern published in a magazine... and this time is no different. Even more so, when I discovered that Lisa Gentry and Mary Beth Temple have patterns published in the same issue.

If you've been following my blog for a while now, then you will have heard me talk about Lisa Gentry. She is a popular crochet designer, with incredibly well written patterns. In addition to that, she holds the world record for the fastest crocheter in the world! I've long admired Lisa's work - so it's pretty mind-blowing to appear in print alongside her!!!

Mary Beth Temple is not someone I've talked about here before. To date I haven't worked any of her patterns, or listened to her podcast - getting loopy - although I keep meaning to... it's on my 'things to do one day' list.

Actually, I haven't EVER listened to any podcasts... do you??? Which is your favourite craft one? Give me somewhere to start exploring the pod-world...

Back to Mary Beth for a moment...

A little while back, I did an online course which she was teaching, on 'designing for print media'... and as a result of that, I gained an understanding of the workings of print media, and how to go about being published. So, basically, in this issue I have been published alongside my teacher, which is an absolute thrill.

Thought you might be interested to see my original Little Hootie:


The original is my favourite, but I had to re-work him for publication. The changes included getting rid of the buttons as well as the felted wings, and making him in a readily available yarn. I think he has more character in his original format... I can't resist those felted wings with blanket stitch edging!


Keep an eye out for Little Hootie, and let me know if you use my pattern to make one of your own.

And don't forget to let me know about any crafty podcasts you like to listen to.

Friday, September 3, 2010

a goldfish moment...


Yes... I'm still here

Just not as often as I used to be!

I hadn't really anticipated the impact that working would have on my craft time.

Usually I work three days each week... so I figured that would still leave four days for all the other things that I love to do.

But it hasn't quite worked out like that!

Not happy Jan.

Ah well...

I finally got caught up with some crochet last weekend.

My Crochet Lovers Victoria group had a meet on sunday (well, not so much that the group is MINE as such, just that I am a member... you know what I mean)

As I was saying, sunday was crochet meet day... and I loved every minute of it. I haven't been along to a gathering in such along time, that it almost felt like I was the new girl. In fact, just as I was leaving home that day, Mr Goldfish teased that everyone would have forgotten my name, since they haven't seen me in so long!

I spent about six hours crafting and chatting... which is more craft than I have managed in the last few weeks put together!

Now, I don't know if I was distracted by all the chatter...

Or whether I am so put of practice with the hook that I have forgotten how to keep a straight edge on my work...

But look at this disaster: the edge is supposed to be STRAIGHT!!!


Monday, August 16, 2010

sending me crazy



So here's the sad truth...


I don't know exactly what the cause is - but I'm really at the end of what I can tolerate from them.

I think it's probably a number of factors at play.

For one... they haven't been able to 'go wild' outside much lately... the weather has keep them indoors, and I think that 'cabin fever' has started to set in.

Plus, with me working now, their routine has had to change a bit too... which doesn't always please them.

And they don't get as much time with me... so when we ARE together, they seem to have turned into NEEDY little monsters... each of them wanting my full attention, ALL of the time.

Which just makes me wish I was at work...

(loving work, by the way)

Anyway, the other day I managed to keep them entertained for hours with the simplest of activities.

Just a few recycled materials, and a roll of tin foil.

Bread tags... beer caps... plastic bottle tops...

Who would have thought...

They made their own currency... precious gold coins (beer caps) silver coins (plastic bottle tops cover in tin foil) and unusual little key cards (bread tags given the tin foil treatment)


The 'minting' process itself lasted ages, and then they went off to play shops... buying and trading services from on another.

I'm not going to pretend that everything was perfect... but it was delightful to see them working together...

They were industrious...and focussed... and they LEFT ME ALONE for a while...

(you'll have to ignore the serious case of bed hair that my boys have going on)


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

dreary weather


Well, today is one of the dreariest days we've had this winter...

Cold... dark... wet...

Sitting here listening to the pounding of heavy raindrops on the corrugated iron roof.

It's kind of day which makes me long for a wood burning fire...

And makes me miss my mum.

On a day like today, she'd have a roaring fire going. She'd assume her position, stretched out like a cat on the mat (which always amused me, since she could barely tolerate cats) Soaking in every possible wave of radiated heat. Sometimes she'd lie there for hours at a time. Even when she couldn't get up or down without assistance. It was her favourite place to be. And I would lie beside her. It still feels all wrong to walk into that house, and not see her there.


We don't have a wood fire here.

Instead I've opted for the simmering pot of G.P.S. on the stove all afternoon. In case you're wondering, that would be Garlicky Potato Soup. For some reason, my family are obsessed with acronyms - and like to have our own little codes for everything. It's been that way for more years than I care to remember, and not likely to change any time soon.

But I'm getting off-track again.

The delicious aroma of slow cook onions and garlic is filtering through the house. The windows are getting a little steamy, and I'm terribly tempted to draaw a smiley face on the glass with my fingertip.

But I resist.

Since I'll be the one who has to clean it up...

I'm feeling in a bit of a limbo at the moment. Don't really know what to do with myself. I have 100s of projects in progress (no exaggeration, unfortunately) and yet I'm wanting to start something new.

And I can't decide whether to indulge myself or not.

What to do?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

getting pricey!

burnt orange jumper

I started reycling yarn about two and a half years ago... and I can still remember the first garment I unravelled.

A hand-knitted grey cardigan, with patch pockets... 100% wool.

And I can still remember the mess I made of it!

Getting those seams undone was a nightmare. I didn't really have a clear idea of what was seam and what was stitching, so I kept snipping away at things which I should have left alone...

Long story short?

Every ten metres or so, there was a break in the wool... just because I had been a bit too scissor-happy. It really pays to take it nice and slow, and if in doubt... DO NOT CUT!

But as you would imagine, practice does make perfect... and these days I could almost do it with my eyes closed.

So if you're strugging along with your early efforts - don't be disappointed - I was exactly the same. With time and perseverance, you'll master the technique of knowing which thread to snip.

Mind you... something else that has changed in those few short years, is the cost of a jumper. When I first started, I would generally pay $4 for a knitted top. These days, the same type of top in the same op shop???... $8

Now $8 is an amazing price for a WHOLE garment's worth of yarn, but the price has doubled! How cheeky is that???

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

need more yarn

another colour

I really need want more yarn.

This ripple blanket is really chewing through my supply of bright colours.

I'm not even half way through it yet, and I'm already running out!!!

I've started paying close attention, and each stripe of colour is eating through about 50g of yarn...

So it's time to add some more colour.

I found this fabulous bright orange jumper at the local op shop yesterday - it will be perfect for the blankie - but I've got some unravelling to do first.

I'll be sure to take some progress photos of the unravelling process for those of you who are curious about it, and don't forget that you can always take a look at my tutorial on recycling yarn if you want more information.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

oh happy day...

So, yesterday morning I was sitting at a local cafe... minding my own business...

when I saw a woman walk past the window...



I almost jumped out of my skin with excitement!

I mean, I know that my stuff has been selling... but this is that FIRST time that I have seen a stranger wearing an accessory that I MADE...

I know... I'm easily impressed... but it was a big WOW moment for me

still smiling about it now!

Monday, August 2, 2010

busy bee...


The last few weeks have been a blur of sequins and lycra - no time for any blog posts!

Last weekend, Little Miss Six had her first calisthenics competition of the season... and the prelude was a month of madness, trying to finish all the necessary costumes!!!

The girls scored wonderfully - much to EVERYONE's surprise (including the coach)

And now, I can get back to MY craft... I've been missing it terribly...

Friday, July 16, 2010

yarn forward #28


Have you seen the September 2010 issue of Yarn Forward???

(yes, I KNOW it's only the middle of July... and YES... the SEPTEMBER issue IS out already)

Anyway... it features one of my knitting patterns!

I'm such a newbie to the world of print publication... and this is all so wildly EXCITING to me!!! The hard part though, is keeping it a secret until the magazine is published. It's months and months and months from the time a submission is accepted by the magazine, until it actually appears in print. And all that time, I have to keep it a secret from you guys!!!

Which is insanely difficult - because I've become quite accustomed to sharing my crafty exeriences with you. I tell you guys EVERYTHING!

Almost impossible to be designing... and drafting... and stitching... and photographing... and pattern writing... and NOT breathe a word about it to anyone.

All the while, I am totally ecstatic about it - and have no one to share the joy with. Mr Goldfish is a a gem, and he really tries to be supportive, but he just doesn't get the whole craft thing the way that you do.

Can't wait for my contributor copy to arrive...

Here's a preview of the magazine.

And here she is... my kokeshi doll...



Thursday, July 15, 2010

criss cross


The embellishing of the crochet hook case with scrap embroidery thread continues...

Who knows where it will end???


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

vibrant green


Added a vibrant green to my ripple blanket...

I was so sure that I had taken a photo of the original jumper, but can't seem to find it anywhere.

It was beautifully hand knit, but had never been worn.

I can imagine that very few people would look good in this particular shade of green.

In small doses, it really brightens things up...

But an entire garment in this one colour??? Ugh

Meanwhile, I scored myself almost 700g of pure wool to craft with. Just took a little bit of unravelling first.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

following the lines


Some days I feel super creative... I'm driven to push boundaries, and work outside my comfort zone.

Other days I just like to stick to the straight and narrow.

No prizes for guessing which zone I was in when I started embellishing the crochet hook case...


Monday, July 12, 2010

trouble with monogamy...

Please don't breathe a word of this to Mr Goldfish... but I have a terrible time trying to remain monogamous.

I mean... there are so many temptations out there... how can a person not want to sample a little bit of everything??? It seems only natural to me.

Now, before you all start tut-tutting at me... I'm not referring to marital monogamy...

I cannot stick with just the one project, and see it through from start to finish, without getting distracted by something new and shiny.

I didn't even manage to stick with the one ripple blanket...


And so... here you see the OTHER ripple blanket I am working on. This one is worked in single crochet, with a colour change at the end of every row.

Sometimes you just need a change of scenery...


Friday, July 9, 2010

mystery solved - now what???


Thanks to Kyliie and Elle for solving the mystery of this square!

It is the PUMPKIN PATCH SQUARE, click here for the free pattern

So, now that I've finally found the mischevious square... any ideas on what I could use it for???

The first thing that springs to mind is to make a cushion to match the afghan, but I'm feeling a bit 'meh' about that idea.

Maybe I could keep it aside to use in a freeform piece at some point in the future?

Or donate it to someone making a charity blanket?

What would you do? I'm not feeling particularly attached to it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

useful... but a bit too plain!


Look at what my friend Dawnie bought for me.


Isn't she a treasure???

This is the best hook storage system that I have ever used.


Four zippered pockets.... which are just the right size.

Pocket 1 contains bits and pieces - wool needles, scissors, gauge ruler, tape measure, etc.

Pocket 2 contains my 3mm and 4mm hooks

Pocket 3 contains the 5mm and 6mm hooks

Pocket 4 contains my less frequently used hooks. There's two bundles... one is all the hooks smaller than a size 3, and the other is all the hooks from 7mm and up.

Best of all, it's totally portable - so I can take my hooks anywhere I go. Too convenient!


Only problem... it's a little bit boring.

(but I can fix that)

And by boring, I mean to say... it is a SINGLE colour!

Now it's a wonderful colour... my favourite, in fact... but still, I'm feeling the need to jazz it up a little. I'm thinking along the lines of freeform embroidery.

I could add a few stitches here and there, as it takes my fancy. It wouldn't be a project which I rush to get finished... but more of a 'work in progress' which I keep adding to as the months and years go by.

Then it will really be MINE!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

rippling along


Thanks for all the wonderful feedback on my new ripple project.

There's only been a tiny bit added since the other day.

I think it's going to be one of those long term projects. I don't expect it to be finished this winter, but it WILL be done by next winter.

Part of the delay has been that some of the yarn I plan to use is still in jumper form, waiting to be reclaimed!!!

(so I have some frogging to do)

On average, it's taking me an hour to complete each band of colour (two rows). So what you see pictured at the top of the page here is about six hours worth of crochet. I'll probably need to put about 100 hour plus into it, all up.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

missing gene...


I cannot successfully fuse plastic.

I've tried and tried and tried.

Perhaps I am missing that all important "plastic fusing gene"... it's just not part of my brain's chemistry

I seem to end up with holes like these:



and part which don't fuse like this:



Can anyone help me with where I am going wrong???

I'm using plastic bags which are sandwiched between two pieces of baking paper

Then ironing over the top of them, no steam.

I've tried every possible setting on my iron, but none of them yield good results.

Help me if you can!

Monday, July 5, 2010

look what I found...


Remember when I went away on my crochet retreat?

I packed all the essentials before I left...

all packed

I had BIG PLANS to piece together my 2009 square-a-month afghan, but I only took 24 squares with me... for a 5 x 5 blanket...


The whereabouts of the missing square was a HUGE mystery, and I was even beginning to doubt whether or not I had actually made one...

I mean, I was PRETTY sure that I DID make it... but there weren't any photos of it anywhere, and I hadn't added any details on my ravelry project page either... so maybe I didn't make one???

And so I made another...

And finished the afghan completely!


It turns out that I DID make that square, and the reason there were no photos was because it hadn't been blocked yet.

And it still hasn't...

But then neither has the afghan, which is why I haven't posted any photos of it yet.

So, I have no idea what pattern I used for this square. If you recognise it, which you might, since I know that lots of you joined in the CAL last year... could you please leave me a message, and let ME know what pattern I used???