21 August 2015

little hints of spring

Sparkly river with bonus sun flare

Icy at my place this morning

Pale pink cousins to the red ones from earlier in the week

I never tire of waking up to this

Hints of spring

winter is here

Gumnut babies

Betsy likes a freshly lit wood stove. Well for the first ten toasty minutes anyway until it gets too hot.

After a cold cold winter, I'm ready for some warmth.

19 August 2015

handmade update

Poor neglected (ten year old!) blog. I really should feed and water it occasionally.

Ok. Here are some pics of my handmade achievements over the past couple of months.

Reclaiming my fondness for pink with two Hemlock Woven Tees
A couple of woven Hemlock tees. Quick, easy, PINK.

Stylish Dress Book 2, dress G #handmadewardrobe #craftcampjune2015
An apron dress from Stylish Dress Book 2 (dress G), in black stretch linen. This has been a huge success - I'd wear it every single day if I could get away with it. I already have another cut out in indigo dyed lightweight linen, and tentative plans for one in oatmeal-coloured linen for summer.

Fun with the indigo vat #dyeing #indigo #shibori
Lots of shibori indigo dyed napkins, tea towels and scarves. Slightly addicted.

Never ending cardigan is ended. Blue bits done in the indigo vat!
A 'caramel' cardigan (free pattern on Ravelry) made entirely from charity shop 8ply. I had some grey and a separate amount of lemon yellow, neither big enough to knit an entire jumper or cardi, so I skeined up the yellow balls and dyed them in the indigo vat. Half of them went in twice. See addicted comment above.

sock progress
Socks with yarn from Ixchel Bunny, purchased on my annual weekend away to the Bendigo Wool Show.

Kindle cosy!
A quick diversionary project away from the bigger knitting projects, this little two-evening's-worth-of-crocheting Kindle cosy pleases me enormously. Crocheted with scraps of odd sock yarns, held doubled.

Lila - still needs blocking but as you can tell by the arm creases has already been worn.
A 'Lila' jumper. It is ridiculously cropped and blocking hasn't assisted much with length, but it's warm, cosy and the perfect green. You might remember I knitted the mister a jumper from the same Cascade 220 yarn some years ago (he kindly modelled it while steering a horse). I'll definitely knit this pattern again but I'll make it longer and probably skip the front hem shaping.

I made a #dottieangelfrock
And a dottie angel dress. I am hanging out for some warmer weather so I can actually wear this. I have another cut out in Nani Iro fabric and I'd like to make a couple in less folksy fabric so I can wear them to work. The neckline is crazy wide on me and the back neck needs raising so I need to make a few tweaks, but it's a good all rounder type pattern - easy, comfortable and fast.

It's good to put all my recent handmades in one place like this. I feel like so much of my time is spent at work or at the clothesline or in the supermarket that I don't get "enough time" to make, but seeing them lined up like this is evidence that grabbing those little pockets of time here and there is worthwhile as they do add up.

All the woolly projects are on my Ravelry page if you need pattern or yarn specs.

30 April 2015

retreat | recreate

So, the exciting news? I am hosting a women's creative [textile] arts retreat in beautiful Ubud, Bali.

Bali Wellness Retreat (8)

Details are at retreat|recreate if you would like to take a look!

Yoga Resort in Ubud (13)

20 April 2015


I told you I am doing a pottery course, right? It's a ten week beginner course, and then you can just pay for another ten sessions and keep turning up to the studio. It's kind of addictive and oh so satisfying EATING OFF YOUR OWN HANDMADE PLATE.

Breakfast on a handmade plate

Let the long Easter weekend commence! Shop-bought hot cross bun on a homemade plate.

Here's another slab plate, ready to glaze. I ended up glazing this in a simple white with a sparkle effect. I have no idea what it will look like (classy? naff?) as it takes a few weeks for the teacher to fill the [enormous] kiln and fire all our pieces.

Slab plate ready for glazing

This little pear was made on day one when we learnt to make pinch pots. Or in our case, pinch pears. That crackle glaze is a lot of fun. The bottom part of the pear is matte black, but the proportions aren't quite right - I wish I'd made the black just a skerrick higher.

Pinch pear with crackle glaze from pottery class no 1. Looks more accomplished with a b&w filter.

And finally, my first wheel-thrown pots. (Embrace the wonk is my mantra). These are little tumblers which have since been underglazed with mismatching pale blue bands. Again, they are yet to be fired so I'm not sure how they'll turn out, but that's half the fun.

First wheel thrown pots!

Continuing my year of doing stuff that's fun, on the weekend I went to a fantastic indigo and shibori workshop. Photos to come when I am home in daylight hours to take some decent shots, but in the meantime here's a little instagram photo of some of our sample pieces laid out on the table.

Shibori on indigo with @bekindtextiles at @handmakersfactory

I have some exciting news to share. Some of you may have already seen it on Instagram or facebook, but it needs its own post rather than being plonked here. Sorry to be such a tease! I'll be back with a big announcement soon.

2 April 2015

dyeing experiments

Natural dye workshop with strawberries #naturaldyeing

Some years ago I was a member of the Natural Dye Group at the Plant Craft Cottage (at Melbourne's Botanic Gardens). I think I talked about it here on the blog although I can't find it. Since then I've done a smattering of natural dyeing at home, plus a whole shipload of acid dyeing, Kool Aid dyeing (thank you American dealers friends) and food colouring dyeing. My most popular post still is this one - it continues to get hundreds of hits from people keen to learn how to dye yarn safely with small people milling around.

Anyway then I went back to work full time and blah blah blah everything fell to pot. Except my bank balance, so you know, swings and roundabouts.

Well this year I kind of made the resolution that this will be my year of doing more stuff I love. Including dyeing and dancing and learning new things (more of that next post. I have POTTERY to show you, people. POTTERY).

So, I took a natural dye class a couple of months ago to refresh myself and give me a kickstart back into it.

Strawberry natural dyeing. Clockwise from top: copper iron aluminium solar #naturaldyeing
Natural dye class with I Am Alchemy.

Since then I've been going crazy. Mostly solar dyeing with the occasional foray into the kitchen for stovetop dyeing. Solar dyeing is the perfect methodology for dyeing if you work full time. (I sound like an advertisement. Dyeing for busy mothers and career women!) You whack a few things into a jar on the weekend and leave it in the garden for a few weeks. Easy.

Solar dyeing coming along nicely one week later. Tumeric, ivy, raspberry, tea. Not shown (in steel pot) - strawberry.
Tumeric, ivy, raspberry, tea. Mordanted with vinegar.

Solar dyeing results: tumeric, raspberry, ivy, red cabbage, strawberry.
Tumeric, raspberry, ivy, red cabbage, strawberry.

Blueberry, raspberry, red cabbage #solardyeing #naturaldyes #naturaldyeing #dyeing #yarn
Blueberry, raspberry, red cabbage.

Solar dyeing: red cabbage, tea, raspberry.
Red cabbage, tea, raspberry.

Solar dyeing: blueberry, logwood, madder.
Blueberry, logwood, madder. Mordanted with vinegar.

Red cabbage dyed wool yarn: left = solar dyed, right = stovetop dyed. Both mordanted with vinegar.
Red cabbage. Left solar dyed, right stove top. Both mordanted with vinegar.

Madder, logwood, blueberry.
Madder, logwood, blueberry.

Tending three new dyepots this morning before work
This week's experiments: Black bean, logwood exhaust, carrot tops. All pre-mordanted with alum

Three skeins of hand dyed sock yarn. Nailed the variegated soft pink I was after.
Kool Aid dyeing! Fingering weight yarn which is on its way to becoming a cardigan for me after the woman who expressed interest in me dyeing it for her decided $25 per skein is waaay too expensive. Ahem, take a look at etsy, ma'am, you'll see many hand dyed skeins for $32 per a skein

My collection of naturally dyed yarns grows
The beginnings of a beautiful naturally dyed collection, hooray!.

What to do with lots of little 50g balls of dyed yarn? Dig out your loom and get weaving of course.

10 February 2015

2014 book list

Good morning

Betsy says good morning I am feeling much better thank you please feed me.

I updated my reading list for 2014. It's over there on the left under "not just cookbooks", or if you're reading via a reader, here's a direct link.


That's not my house.

15 January 2015

closing and opening

Queensland sky II

Christmas and new year took on a different shape this year - this first year without my dad. While we were all gathered in Queensland we took the opportunity to farewell Dad with friends and extended family, nibbles and lots of champagne. It was tough and lovely at the same time, but it felt right. The ritual of a wake or funeral or in our case a champagne celebration at Mum's house, really brings comfort and closure doesn't it?

Hello beach.

While in Queensland we also took the opportunity to visit our favourite beach, and trot up to Brisbane to GOMA to catch the latest exhibition and hang out with the cousins who we see only once a year.


We helped Mum with more sorting and made a couple of trips to the op shop. I also wrangled her sewing machine to make a new clothespeg bag as two years of nagging her to make herself a new one seemed to have failed.

I wrangled Mum's sewing machine and made her a new clothes peg bag.

We're now back home in our messy house with the luscious brown beasties and back at work. Sigh.

Early light on messy house

The wee one (Betsy, the darker brown smudge in the photo below) appears to be recovering from her six months of mystery virus. She is slowly putting on weight, purrs and snuggles again on a regular basis, and positively sprinted through the house the other day which she has not done since she was very young indeed. I am hoping she is on her way back to bouncy shiny good health. She also turned one on the 6th. My own little Epiphany.

Can't make the bed.

The middle child received his year 12 results and now awaits university offers. I'm excited to see what this year holds in store for him.

New beginnings for a new year.

21 December 2014

fourth light of advent

The fourth light of advent It is the light of man.  The light of love, the light of thought To give and understand.

The fourth light of advent
it is the light of man.
The light of love, the light of thought
to give and understand.

17 December 2014

bit o' this, bit o' that

Scout tee

Sewing bling

Little baby Betsy is 11 months and 1 week

At home this morning waiting for a doctor appointment. Middle child has suspected fractured arm.


Some sewing, some gardening, some working. I am firmly in denial that Christmas is a matter of days away.

Terrifying new purchase

A terrifying new purchase has been made. I read the instructions and put the beast back in its box with the excuse that I haven't any threads for it yet anyway.

Fractured elbow = sling for two weeks

The middle child received his Year 12 results and fractured his elbow on the same day. He says it doesn't hurt but I wonder if that's the post-school euphoria and relief speaking. Two weeks in a sling (but luckily no plaster)is the cure apparently. We're all about the denial around here.