Friday, December 31, 2010

Give me a dime so I can phone my mother

So various things happened in December, and I didn't manage to photograph the Christmas presents I made before they were hastily wrapped and then unwrapped.

This one came back to me for finishing on Boxing Day. It is the Turkish Stitch String Bag, made for my sister. I bought the crochet cotton online earlier this year with the intention of using it for the Sweetheart Dress I made for my niece, but when it arrived it was so bright and shiny, it just wasn't right. I ended up buying a different cotton for the dress, in a similar but softer colour and a slightly softer yarn too.

But little sister loved this apple green, so I put it away with a note on it to consider making a string-style bag for her.

I only added the button and loop today. She took it on a trial run to the pool and concluded that it could do with a closure. It's very wide - I doubled the stitch count because I was using much smaller needles (4mm) than the pattern called for, and I didn't want the holes to be really big. Doubling the stitches might have been a slight overreaction - half as much again might have been enough - though then I might have made it a little deeper. It doesn't really matter as it can stretch in one direction or the other, depending on the weight and shape of what's inside.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

This big?

Last time I was at the National Gallery I was happy to see that the pears are back! And the next time, I waited for a group of tourists to finish and then posed for a photo.

Thursday, December 02, 2010


clear thread

For this one I used a clear sewing thread (like fishing line but finer). I thought this would emphasise the transparent look and help the wool to show through more. But I'm not sure. It looks less sparkly/shiny, but I don't think that could be down to the thread; I think that is just the photography. I don't have one of the first batch here to compare directly.

I'd love to find more clear sequins equal to the quality of the ones I used here (2nd picture). I don't know where they came from, they had been in my bead stash for a while. The clear ones I bought to replace them and have been using for these pears are not as shiny and many have uneven edges or the hole is not in the centre. Of course (once I pick out the rejects), I do still like the overall effect.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

she looks ahead not at me

sequinned pears
These also went to Craft ACT for their Christmas tree, which was brought out for the first time today. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time, but I did have a sneak preview yesterday.
sequinned bottom
I am so, so happy with these pears. They are knit and felted as usual, then covered in clear sequins. And I didn't use strips of sequins, I sewed them one at a time. I'm getting quicker.... but it is not fast.

The wool is Cleckheaton Vintage Twist, a very light colourway that includes hints of palest yellow, purple and grey. The sequins have AB coating so they sparkle, but you can also see the colours of the wool coming through. I forgot to measure them but I think they're about 5 or 6 cm high, not including the loop.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The tiniest sparks in the tenderest sound

round 2
One of these is left over from last year. It seems to play ok with the others. I kind of wish I had posed it with a less wonky bit of stitching to the front, though.
These have been dropped off to the CraftACT shop, and I'm working on some more. If you're in Canberra you can check them out as well as other new Christmas stock at the Christmas event on Saturday 27 November 2010 from 2pm-5pm.
round 1

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Bling! now in brooch form

bling brooch

I'm wearing it today as a brooch, though I still want to use a piece like this in a more elaborate version of this necklace.

It must have been the tax return eating my brain (PS It's ok, I lodged it the other day), I forgot I wanted to acknowledge that I took direct inspiration from Alwen's gorgeous bead embroidery, though mine is still much less fine.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


beads and sequins
Something I did today: played with beads and sequins.
clear sequins
Probably for use in this manner.
Something I didn't do today: finish off my tax return. Oops.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Mystery feltable

In op shops I always check for wool but I don't often find anything I can use. This was just one ball, which had been partially knit and rewound tightly, marked 60c. It didn't look that appealing for most purposes, but for that price I took a gamble. It looked like it had nice colour changes, and it felt like it might felt. I tested a piece and it felted really nicely. So I'm getting started on this year's Christmas baubles. (Experimenting with a different shape too). I would love to know if anyone recognises these colours, though I might need a daylight photo.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My friend Funbeard has an exhibition at the Collingwood Gallery in Melbourne, opening this Friday. K is going down for the opening with several friends, and I'm sure it will be awesome. I'm disappointed not to be going. I really love the 'Helm' work that he's shown on his blog, and nothing beats seeing the real works in a gallery space.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Women's Press Science Fiction

first pile
I’ve had a couple of these books on my bookshelf for many years, and I'm not sure I even read them. I think I tried at least one, and may have found it a bit hard to get into.

But just recently I stumbled across another at my local op shop, and something about it appealed to me. I was something like 10 cents short of the marked price and the lady was happy to accept my pile of change. I was at pains to promise I would make a donation next time, not wanting to seem to be trying to rip off a charity. Whereas she was seriously concerned to make sure I would be ok, having spent all the money in my wallet. It made me aware of the level of privilege I have, knowing I can always get more money from the ATM. I’m probably a little too relaxed about how much is left in my wallet – which is how I even ended up going into the op shop with less than $2 on hand.

I started reading Marge Piercy's 'Woman on the edge of time' straight away and really enjoyed it. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’m better equipped for reading science fiction than I used to be (though I was always attracted to it and did read quite a bit). And I know my brain is increasingly wired for feminism.
last three
A few days later I found a few more at the book fair and I decided I would keep collecting the series. Since then I’ve found a couple more from Lilitu’s books and music - we were at Gold Creek for a wedding on Saturday and had time to kill before moving on to the reception. I’m not even bothering to read the descriptions on the back first – I’m sure I’ll like some and not others, but they go for just a few dollars each and I love a good collecting challenge.

This is the logo inside the front cover of every book in this series.
steaming ahead

My first reaction was that it's hilariously wrong. I couldn't believe that a logo and slogan ("steaming ahead") based on ironing would be chosen for The Women’s Press. Yeah, I was a bit slow to get the pun on the word "press", but still. The women's press was set up in 1978 to publish feminist writing by women. Why would they want to use ironing as a symbol?

But when I showed K, he didn't see anything odd about it, he just thought it was deliberately ironic. Which echoes what founder Stephanie Dowrick says:

"Then, of course, we brought in the jokes too, which centred on the emblem of the Press, our little iron. This was a joke about not being oppressed. Ironing is extremely repetitious and typically women's work and we were asking you, with this little iron, steaming ahead and red hot and all of that, not to be quite so oppressed."

I wonder if my lukewarm reaction is a sign of the times. Even my much-increased interest in feminism in recent years is probably a reaction (I have to be different) to the current mood of conservatism in these matters.

I guess it was expected and even assumed that the audience would totally get the irony. But today in 2010, I think it looks iffy. Is it just me?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Is it an elaborate pendant or a small bib?

black circles
So, I'd been meaning to make another necklace like this one for months. Actually, I'm pretty sure I promised my other sister a black one. Other sister? Let's talk.

And, I keep making felted circles which seem to have all sorts of uses. I've also been wanting to have a go at 'bib' style necklaces using embellished felt.

And finally I had a new outfit which wanted a new necklace, and an event to wear it to. Deadlines can be wonderful - I made this from scratch on Sunday (including felting the circles and drying them quickly on the heater, even though it wasn't really cold enough to have the heater on) because I wanted to wear it on Sunday night.
I haven't been able to correct the colour of the top - it's actually a very dark bright fuschia - but the point is, the necklace sort of works with the shape of the neckline. At least, that was the idea.

If I do this again, I'd like to come up with a slightly more involved beading design. And a simple way to attach a fabric backing - I can tolerate the felted wool (I always find it less scratchy than the same wool before it is felted) but it would be more comfy with something smooth on the back.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I can't remember kissing him goodbye

I've been really lax, not posting these sooner. The Call of the Small is finishing this week. It has been a wonderful exhibition to be part of and I really appreciate having the opportunity to take part.

Context: how small it really is.




Yeah, this one shows my coarse little pods, but more importantly, I think my favourite pieces in the whole show, Robert Boot's acrylic bowls. They are turned on a lathe and you can see how he does it, here.

Granted, my photos have some interesting reflection effects - I particularly like the one above, if you squint it looks like the (mini) gallery has large windows high on the walls, even a ghostly staircase.....(a bit big maybe)

But if you didn't make it to the real thing and want to see it all in nice clear detail, Anna-Maria did a series of posts with excellent photos of the four galleries:

White Knight
Red Hots
Curiously Strong

Very last chance - I think you can still see the show tomorrow, as they extended it by a few days. I'll be going to CraftACT at 6pm for Re-Loved Re-Vamped, the next iteration of a fashion parade focusing on recycling and reusing textiles.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I don't normally sort my washing this finely. But I had a new pair of bright red jeans to wash and I was worried about the colour being shared around.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

If it sits still long enough...

camera case
A new camera case for K's new camera. I managed to make and felt a swatch, and knit and felt the case itself, all in one day. No time to mess around with colourwork or embroidery so I used self striping wool (Cleckheaton Vintage Twist).
case open
It's very simple. I wanted it to be minimalist and streamlined (but wow, check out this very different, very cool camera case). There is no button, the strap just feeds through a hole on the other side to hold it closed. The strap is much longer than I intended - I used garter stitch so that it wouldn't curl, and I didn't realise that the fabric would stretch out before it felted. I don't think this always happens with garter stitch, I think it was because it was very narrow.
case closed

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Something I made yesterday

What are they? First to guess correctly in the comments gets a prize.

(Too easy?)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

never find a better prize

These mittens were a special request for a dear family member. Special thanks to K for his help with the embroidery - I didn't want to try to make the motifs identical, and they came out a bit too similar, looking like I had just messed one up a bit. Time was short and I was loathe to start again. The solution was so simple I didn't see it myself - just add another swirl so they were more obviously different.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Warm blue

Oh August. Cold and miserable, windy and wet. I'm over it. It's amazing how there is quite enough of winter left to go for it to seem interminable, yet not enough time to knit the warm cabled jumper I hoped I would be wearing this winter. I swatched for it last year, but haven't started the knitting yet.
long fetching_2
This is mostly what I was knitting while in Thredbo the week before last. Good old Fetching. I have knit this pattern twice before and knew that they could do with being a bit longer in the wrist and over the fingers, for maximum warmth. The wool is Naturally Me, a delightful merino and cashmere blend.
long fetching
If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I often knit the same patterns more than once. It's nice to know what you're doing and that it will work!

They weren't for me, but a little surprise for someone who has knit a lot for me as well as sending me much wool too.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pear brooch

brooch front
I mentioned before that making pears small enough for 1/12 scale was a challenge. With some practice I was able to gauge just the right amount of wool to roll into the right-sized bead; but to get to that point I first made a few pear-shaped beads that were a bit too big.
brooch angle
These three were all about the same size so I gave them the finishing touches and made them into a brooch to wear to the opening. I sliced part of their backs off so there would be a good flat surface there, and used my new hot glue gun to stick them to the backing (a piece of plastic cut from an ice cream container, covered in black fabric).
pear broochbrooch bottom

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

opening tomorrow....

The Call of the Small exhibition opens tomorrow night at Craft ACT, along with two other exhibitions. Curator Anna-Maria Sviatko had the brilliant idea of using the unusual Crucible showcase to create a craft exhibition in miniature. (if you're curious there is a picture of the crucible space - basically two large window spaces - here.)

Many of the artists and artisans invited to participate had not worked in 1/12 scale before. It was a challenge for me, and I'm happy with what I came up with, though of course I also wish I could have done more, and better, and smaller and finer, and...well, you never can be completely satisfied with your work. It will be fantastic to see the whole thing come together, having seen a few hints over here.
mini pods callmini pears call of the small

Saturday, August 07, 2010

one perfect moment

I really try not to take it for granted. I'm lucky to be able to afford the money and time to come here, and stay right in Thredbo village (no driving to and from the skifields each day) the right clothing to be comfortable, the lessons I've taken to be able to ski better. More than anything though I love to just stop sometimes, forget about whether my legs are doing a good job or not on that particular run, and just be, on a mountain, surrounded by white, and trees, and rocks.

Last day tomorrow, and I will be happy to go home.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Bright blue skies today

It was bright and sunny today - in itself not a surprise - but also so much warmer than yesterday. We had to reduce the layers we were wearing!

The snow was melting and dripping off roofs everywhere, but there is still a lot of snow in the village and it looks really pretty. Spoken like someone for whom snow is a holiday luxury, not a daily grind nuisance, I know.

It's amazing how much the temperature, and the snow conditions, can change. There are supposed to be more snow showers through the week, and we're hoping for colder days to keep the snow around longer.

Monday, August 02, 2010

So glad to be wrong.

After bitching all week about how there was not much snow, that it had been raining, and too warm for snowmaking - that we had wasted our money booking this trip.....
heavy tree
It snowed yesterday (making the last part of our drive up here just a little bit hair-raising). And all day today. It has stopped now but the temperature is low and we now have snow! snow! snow! Might even snow again later in the week.