Monday, December 01, 2008

Knitty gritty

Having family in the northern hemisphere is handy for getting knitting projects finished in time for Christmas!
Above is: a 2x2 rib scarf (still in progress, but 3x the length) for Yugo-chan (5 years), Blue stripey hat for Tomo-chan (2 and a bit), and a pom pom hat for baby-to-be (due Feb).

Coming soon - some recently completed beading projects!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Marsupials and monotremes

It's winter here! It's dark at 4.30. Its quite nice to sit in on a cold afternoon with a roast in the oven, with a glass of wine nearby, and use kiddie paints to do a present for my friend who's baby is due in December.

I nicked these drawings off the internet - thanks google image search. Kind of traced/ copied the outlines - then filled then in using acrylics. Didn't really know how to make it nice and even where the colours meet, so when the paint was dry I traced over the outlines with a black texta. Its meant to look a bit comic -booky. I'm quite pleased with the bubble effect on the platy!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Recipe cards for kids

I had two children's birthdays in my family a while back, both cousins, one of whom is also my Godson. Wanted to give them something that would encourage some kind of hands on activity, so bought dinosaur cookie cutters, found a good cookie recipe and painted and drew a little recipe card for him. Also bought a love heart shaped pancake ring (silicone with a funny handle for easy removal)and made a recipe card for pikelets on it for her.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Other people's craft - Public knitting

Who said knitting was for the private sphere or just for the cooler climates?? This knitting was wrapped around a (palm?) tree in Cairns at the 'Kickarts' art centre. It's also known as the Centre for Contemporary Art, but when I asked a woman on the street ('where you going love, are you lost?' ... I was peering at street numbers) she said 'the what?'.. .'oh, do you mean the one with the jelly beans?' at which point I vaguely remembered that it had some colourful sculpture out front and said 'yes, I think so' and she said 'oh, that's too fancy for us, we don't call it that, we just call it the jellybean place'. Which I thought was funny. So, sharing a picture of the sculpture too (ahem actually jelly babies not jellybeans, but that's probably too fancy to draw the distinction).

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Hey, Mr Spaceman - won't you please take me along for a ride?

This was painted in acrylic on a 6x6 inch canvas by Mr Meririsa. Our son is into space and the moon and stars, so that determined the theme.

Cat made from knitted squares!

"Andypuss" the ginger cat was a birthday present for Phoebe, who is kindly letting her 6-week-old brother "play" with the cat in this picture.
The pattern for this kitty came from "Knit a square and make a toy". Was easy to knit, not too hard to stuff and sew up. I found embroidering the face the hardest bit, because I'd never done this before, let alone with 8 ply wool onto a wonky, plain stitch knitted substrate.

Monday, August 11, 2008

X-treme craft

Hi there Australians -I haven't done any craft worth mentioning here while in Amsterdam, but I thought this little dissertation of the intersection between craft / art and industrialisation might be interesting to the kraft community here. Knit on!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Umbilical Hat comin' atcher, Poppy!

Newborn Hat for Poppy (modelled by a ball because teddy wasn't available)...

This pattern came from a great book called "Stitch'n Bitch - the knitter's handbook" by Debbie Stoller, knitted on the round. I used sock wool and 3mm needles, so I had to alter things a bit from the pattern.

Basically cast on as many stitches as needed to achieve the 16 inch circumference (104 for my knitting, wool and needles, but I had to knit a few rows, then undo it and start again to work that out...). Knit plain until you have a 5 inch tube.

Then I knitted my stitches into 4 groups of 26 stitches (or 8x13 stitches) divided onto double pointed needles. Then start to decrease each group of 13 by knitting together the last 2 stitches of each group - ie first row - knit 11 then knit 2 together, repeat to end of row; 2nd row - knit 10, knit 2 together, repeat... etc.

When you have about 16 or 8 stitches left, it's easier to go to just 2 needles, then knit 2 stitches together until you have 4 stitches left. Knit "umbilical cord" for about 6 inches or until you think you can tie a good knot in it. It's a bit tricky to knit such a small number of stitches on the round on double pointed needles, but it all evens out eventually. Cut off wool at end, and thread through each loop and tie thread off in knot. Sew ends into inside of cord.

You can make one without umbilical cord by just reducing stitches to 4 and tying off.

Very nice to knit, while doing other things, and my friend says knitting in the round is very good for buses, as your needles don't stick out too far!!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Three little teddies

These cute little guys were actually knitted by my Grandma who used to be a very crafty lady. Not being able to see so well these days she now knits by feel and counting. After Grandma knitted the teddies my aunty sent them to me to sew up. I also put their little faces on. We have lost count of how many teddies Grandma has knitted, but armies of teddies have been knitted in the last few years. My sewing up duties have been taken over my someone geographically closer to save on teddy postage.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ducking and weaving

This is something I made at a conference I was at recently. They had a parallel session of basket weaving/textile arts - one woman had recently graduated from Charleas Darwin Uni in fine art and makes very contemporary pieces of jewellry, baskets and human and animal forms out of woven recycled plastics, yarn, sticks, washed up fishing nets etc. The other two women were Indigenous and using traditioning weaving techniques and natural fibres. This little piece I made is made from pandanas (palm) leaf, which was collected, torn using a thumb nail into strips and dyed using natural ochre and boiled in a billy can over coals by other people at the conference the day before I sat down to use them to weave with. The tricky bit was getting started - you have to make a little round bit in the middle (a bit like with crochet I think?)and then you keep making the same kind of stitch but binding on to the row before. You use a wide eyed darning type needle and need to keep the srands of fibre kind of moistened - not actually wet but just not so dry in the crackling heat of the sun that they start to break and fall apart. Filcking them with water or dipping your finger tips into a little saucer of water every so often seems to do the trick. I decided to make mine into a pendant to wear - which is why it has the little loop, to put a cord through. That was mostly because I knew that it would have taken me a whole extra day to get it to a basket size, and I didn't want a placemat. I love it a lot, and it reminds me of sitting on a tarp, under shade, next to women who I would otherwise have never met, being encouraged, seeing deft hands make short work of something that I struggled with, listening to Aboriginal languages being spoken, hearing noise in the distance and kids larking about and the smell of a fire smouldering, and not being in a talky thinky session indoors, and that ever so slight excitement of having stepped outside the bounds of everyday, and that ever so slightly shocking intimacy of sitting next to other people on the ground all trying to learn something, and the quiet talk that happens when your hands are busy.

Cardy hardy

That title doesn't even make sense. Oh well. I couldn't think of any witty card puns you see. But... I have been inspired to make cards - you know, greeting cards, blank on teh inside, for farewelling and hello-ing. Pictures below are for a little run of about 5 I did. Used nice pigment ink, waterprrof, fade proof black rollerball nibbed ink pen, and then watercolour. Fine cartridge. Cut them out and glued onto textured heavier weight watercolour card.


So last week I had the chance to go to a friend’s ‘knit in’. What is a knit in I hear you ask? Well bloody good question – I’d never been to one before and wasn’t exactly sure either. It was seven women, several bottles of good red wine, snacks, music, comfortable chairs, and sticks and thread – knitting needles, crochet hooks, wool, acrylic yarn. For close to 4 hours we sat and chatted, got to know each other (the women all knew the host but we didn’t all know each other), nibbled, drank, told stories, and laughed. I heard about pets and career changes and life changing accidents, and neighbours and travel and good boot stores. I heard snippets of conversation about the who’s who of my industry, about other knitting projects, about boyfriends left overseas, about job dreams, about lifting weights in the gym. I saw the resident cat come and hunt a ball of wool and stalk off with it, saw other things my friend has made recently, and had my first crochet lesson (I did some! 3 stitches to two, take off the second, start again... hmm, made sense at the time)… I toe tapped to George Michael and I almost finished a knitted square for the Wrap with Love project (see below – I seem obsessed with it, every second post is about my emerging blanket at the moment!). All of the squares started that night were for the blanket project – so I got to take them away at the end because I will be going near the drop off point this week anyway. Ah, because you see, this Friday at the ABC on Harris Street in the City, there is the annual ‘knit in’ of grand proportions. Starts really early I think, and you get to knit in company, or help sew up the existing squares.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my mum has joined in and posted me a parcel of amazing squares she’s knitted – lovely soft, hairy, stripy, colourful squares (her knitting is so even compared to mine, not a dropped stitch anywhere!), my housemate is knitting one on the diagonal (you know, where you increase every row until you’ve made a triangle and it’s half the size you want your square to be and then decrease every row to go back to the pointy end of the triangle at the bottom) using up the scraps of wool in stripes. I was going for a pink and green theme, and had planned to stitch it up myself and give the blanket finished to the group that organises it, but I am trying different colour combos with the extra squares that other folk have made (pics below). I’m thinking I’ll be able to sew up a blanket and have loose squares left over, which other people can use in theirs for Friday’s knit in.

Funny starting something yourself and then considering how to include other people’s contributions – am reflecting on my own control-freak tendencies, and (sure completely subjective) aesthetic boundaries. I don’t mind so much exactly what colours end up in it (fibber – I kind of do), but I want it to look nice, and cared for and not too scrappy, so that whoever ends up getting it doesn’t think it was done without thought. I had been thinking it would be nice to make it the way I’d like something to snuggle up with on a cold night – but maybe this is missing the point a bit? Maybe people who are out in the cold because of loosing their homes wont care if it doesn’t look like a ‘throw for the couch’ and instead wont even notice the colour scheme because they will be in temporary accommodation and have bigger things on their mind. This is probably obvious – but it’s easy to forget that perspective when you’re choosing wool and casting on in front of the tellie ion a warm room. Mind you, one of the squares knitted on Saturday night (by the most lovely lady) was kind of scratchy, brown flecks with a thick yellow stripe up one end, and actually a rectangle. I have tried, but don’t think I can include it in my pink and green (/blue/orange/maybe fawn) project. I’m sure though, that along with some other rusty colours, or in a completely rainbow, beautiful eclectic blanket it will look great.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rapt with love

Well my wraps with love project hasn't progressed all that far yet. So far I've done 6 squares (takes 28 to make a blanket) but I think my mum has been doing some too and will send them to me to add. Also at a conference last week a woman I know through work was talking about teaming up to do some at our 2 workplaces - an idea I like. So it might end up being more than one blanket!

The pattern is on their website (see previous post) and involves 10 inch by 10 inch squares knitted on 4mm needles, using 8ply wool/yarn. Mine are a bit shonky because I only have 4.5mm needles, so I cast on less stitches and hoped for the best. I figure as long as I finish teh whole blanket it wont matter that my squares are a wee bit stretchier than other folk's. Right?

Going for a green and pink colour theme, which I thought would be nurturing and cheery for someone cold and away from home.

Slippery snakes

Aren't these lovely? My mum made them to take to my little brother's kindy as a craft project with the kids. She cut and sewed them the day before, and glued on their felt eyes and tongue (she opted out of button eyes because of the potential choke hazard). The fabric is an old yellow cotton sheet for their undersides, and a sequiny print fabric on their backs. Stuffed with the standard pillow stuffing.

She stitched them up inside out all the way around except for a small hole for little hands to fit in, took the stuffing, and the teachers and we sat with the kids and helped them stuff them. Then we hand sewed the gap while the kids went and did other things (played outside, read books). It was a lovely idea, and a nice way to hang out and see my little brother with his kindy friends. Watching the kids have snake races, dance with the snakes, and arrange the snakes in the reading corner was lovely.

Pasta almost counts as craft

Truly! Made this on the weekend - fresh spinach fettuccini, using my pasta machine, which I love. Just steamed one bunch of coarsely chopped spinach, let it cool in the liquid I cooked it in, mashed some more with a hand masher, and then used the kind of soupy broth as the liquid in the pasta. At first it seems like there will be big green blobs, but as you work the dough, pass it through the rollers etc, it becomes much more evenly coloured, and gets that very exciting extra special silky fresh pasta feel. Also did some plain dough and made pumpkin ravioli, with roast pumpkin, zucchini and finely chopped and sauteed onion and garlic. Yum!

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Felt hand bag for Phoebe-baby!

A little girl I know turns two soon, and I was delighted to find my little felt bag in a drawer during a clean-out!

I made the body of the bag during a felting day at Ms J's house probably 2 1/2 years ago, (made of grey wool and tufts of other colours), then promptly brought it home, didn't know what to do with it (how could I stop my purse and mobile phone falling out? how would I attach a handle? etc etc), put it away and forgot about it.

Then I found it the other day, and instantly thought of Phoebe who is into hand bags, big time. Was going to go look in shops for some cord to sew on, then a flash of inspiration gave me the idea of plaiting some wool and sewing that on.

Perfect for carting about dollies or teddies, don't you think?!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Get knitting for a good cause

Anybody want to make one of these? It only takes 28 squares. Just the thing for a girl with all the scarves she needs who still wants to knit ! :)

See Wrap with Love for more info.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"2" cake

Volunteered to make a cake for a combined 2nd b'day party, as my son is allergic to eggs. However, in the end, he got chicken pox a day or two before and we couldn't go but I still had to make a cake (it was too late to make other arrangements). Although I had planned to make something from the Women's Weekly birthday cake book, time constraints meant I had to switch to plan B - a Vegan Chocolate mud cake (muddy but not too chocolatey and not as unhealthy as it sounds), with icing decoration.

I also wish I could say I made the icing and piped it in a piping bag, but now you can conveniently buy tubes of the stuff at the supermarket. For emergencies only - in future I'd rather make my own and save on plastic packaging. But anyway, if ever you need to make a cake a *little* bit more special than usual, this is one thing you can do...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Quilt cover

OK, so not strictly a Groovy Thing, I know, but I don't get to make things too often, so this is a bit of a big deal for me. And I designed it from scratch.

Bought a child's quilt from Icki-ya, but found it was bigger than what the standard seems to be for cots in Asutralia. Decided to make a couple of covers for it myself. Nothing like the sudden chilling of night time temperatures to spurr you into action! This one is plain to make sure I could do it, but next one will have an applique design on it.

Started with sheet the same size as quilt + 5cm each side to add for quilt puffiness and seam, + an extra 2cm at the bottom end, to allow for doubling over of hem for buttons/velcro/press studs - I went with velcro this time. First, I sewed the hem at the bottom end, making it wide enough for the velcro dots. Then stuck on the velcro dots and sewed them on with crosses (you can see the reverse side on the picture above - I probably should have sewed the velcro on before folding the hem over, but I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep everything in the proper place and would end up with velcro bits that didn't meet). Then I sewed one side hem, put the quilt on top to make sure I wasn't too off with my proportions, pinned the remaining two sides, and sewed them. Voila!

Velcro dots were OK - they stuck in place well while I sewed them on with the machine. But using the machine meant that the adhesive gradually gummed up the needle. Also the added thickness made sewing difficult - it may have played with the machine tension - and my sewing was a bit messy on the underside, which unfortunately is the side you can see on the outside. May go with buttons or press studs next time, as positioning can be adjusted somewhat.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fabric printing a go go

Further to the earlier foray into t-shirts, I'm now playing with printing onto reams of fabric. This is a simple black pattern repeat on a course weave dark coral/red cotton. sPattern is pretty simple gumnuts in various sizes. I plan to do some with overlays in different colours but wanted to start with the basics.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cute as a button

Covered buttons - my new passion, such fun to make! All covered with fabric that I've hand painted/ hand printed recently. I used 25mm/1" and 30mm/1 3/16" plastic self cover buttons. The fabrics are (pink) silk, and (white) vintage cotton/linen, and the designs are done freehand or with linocuts.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This is a 'work in progress' post, and also a collaborative effort. A while ago I paited these animals onto fabric for my little brother- thinking prayer flags, quilt or something similar, but not being much good at sewing I passed them on to mum to do something with. Here they are after mum has added some colour (they were originally B&W with grey wash), and with the fabrics she's picked for front and back, as well as some thread for funky feature stiching of some kind. I'll post when it's finished too.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A New Tardis for my niece

I bought my niece a cardboard rocket for xmas, which I assembled from a pack. It is made of recycled cardboard. Over the past few weeks I have painted and decorated it with scraps of wrapping paper and pictures from magazines.

I am sure that she will make various additions and alterations over time. Hopefully it survives that long.

knit a computer out of recycled jumpers!

Or design some other funky way to reduce the impacts of computer technology on people or the planet. It's a competition.