Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Paper piecing

On Sunday afternoon, after posting bunny pics and feeling quite proud of myself, I had two choices. I could work OR I could work through the Carol Doak paper piecing tutorial and attempt to make my first unsupervised* square.

I opted for the latter.

I have to say, I'm SERIOUSLY impressed with how easy (well by easy I mean there were only about three moments where I burst into swearing fits) this was. Though I think that perhaps the bits in the middle needed to be a neutral pattern and clearly have some work to do in terms of learning to work with colours. But overall I was very happy with how it turned out. I almost (by almost, I mean a fleeting thought that was very quickly disregarded with a resounding inner voice that said "Are you completely insane!!!!") thought I would do a whole bundle of these and turn it into a full quilt. However, I'm sticking with the cushion option for now. Dark green borders and backing yet to be done.

* by unsupervised, I mean my Mother (capital M..currently grey nomading.. not impressed!)

Sunday, August 19, 2012


Just a quick post to show the finished bunny, She's so cute, I'm not sure I want to hand her over!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Art of Quilting Blocks

Well today was Art of Quilting day.  I finished Blocks 2 and 3.  Despite cutting out ever so carefully I've somehow managed to wind up with short bits! It's tricky, because they really don't give you much material to play with. Too bad if you cut it out incorrectly. Anyway, with a bit of luck it will all work out when I add the borders.

I then did blocks 1 - 3 in pink for the upcoming birth of the grand-godchild (if there is such a thing!). The mother to be loves pink, so pink it is. I'm using some fat squares that I got from Lincraft, as it is just easier for me at this stage. And I had those birthday vouchers to pay for it!  I was much happier with how these turned out. Practice practice practice....

While I'm waiting for week 4 I think I'll work on the paper piecing cushions that I cut out when Mum was giving me lessons. Too bad she's not here to help! ....yes, I'm looking at you mother ;-)

Now back to knitting the bunny which is just about finished. I wish weekends were longer!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

July / August

July and August thus far have been a bit of a blur. But on the craft front these are a couple of the things I've been working on.

There's the little pink baby babettte. I've set out a grid in excel to make it easier to fit the pieces together. Still working on it but it isn't taking that long.  And I've been colour coding the Krista - that's for Steph if I ever get it finished! Not far now but work seems to have taken over so projects are verrryyyyyyy slow going!
And of course my next project for which wool is sitting in waiting in the cupboard!

Then there's the dreaded thesis! Can you make sense out of this????? Unfortunately I'm not sure I can either, but it made sense when I drew it all up. Hrrmmm............maybe I need some butcher paper! And more coloured pens!

My favourite, though,  is the bunny. Sorry, she's topless! But you get the overall idea. I got the pattern from Mary Jane's Tearoom - excellent Etsy seller if you're keen! The pattern, however, called for a pompom tail which I wasn't keen on since this will be with a small child. So I just crocheted a ball for the tail. Seems to work ok.

 The challenge for me was the fair isle. I have to get around that for Pingu's dude jumper, and I think I'm getting better at it. I did the one hand, but holding over two fingers technique. I've tried the two handed technique but honestly cannot knit Continental style to save my life. My left hand just cannot coordinate, which is odd given how much I crochet. Or is it because I crochet so much? Anyway, I'm reasonably happy with how this turned out. Won't take me long to finish the jumper, then a small flower for her head and she's done!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A good day

Today was a good day. I feel it is necessary to share this since I shared the ... oh not so good day! One of those rare, rare days when successes outweigh the disasters. I've always had this approach to life that if, on a daily basis, the crosses outnumber the ticks then it is time to move on. Probably explains why I have never been in a job longer than about 3.5 yrs! I think increasingly the workplace - in any environment - is just not a happy place to be. BUT with my current employment I want to stay despite daily threats to quit.   There are a few reasons for that.  I do fundamentally like people I work with (oh ok, yes that includes you PB). I also, every now and then, feel like I've been part of a person's education experience and that it has mattered. And I think if it matters to them, it matters to me. Of course, I'm also just too damn old to keep changing jobs! But this is a positive blog entry so we won't go there.

So, after having what I would have to say was a pretty fine work day, I came home to an Art of Knitting bundle (yes I do have a problem!). The gods are smiling upon me! And so,I must now go knit.  But thanks for reading!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Outburst over

Well now that I've managed to get over my momentary vent at cyberland, I'll share the more pleasant aspects of my week :)  Well actually the week was really ordinary, as has been the last month or so. But yesterday I simply refused to acknowledge the ever-mounting pile of work (which I have to say I'm not enjoying one little bit!) and took the day off. I had the most luxurious sleep in that I've had in .. oh forever!! Then set about cleaning the craft projects up so that I could tackle my first Art of Quilting block.  I subscribed to the magazine because I really would like to learn how to quilt. I've managed a cushion so far with much learned assistance of my mother (see my much earlier post) but hadn't got back to it. I feel quite inspired now and the block by block approach works well for me. So here's the first block!

It's not perfect (and yes, I have managed to get some of those pattern fabric pieces upside down) but I'm really happy with the result. And most importantly, I had so much fun! I have some lovely pink bits of material to make a baby cot cover quilt and think that I'll use this pattern. It's simple and effective. And most importantly It's a pattern I can manage! I think I'm going to enjoy learning how to quilt.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

World.. I hate you!

And I can say this because no-one reads this blog.  I am all messed up. My husband says so. He wants to leave the room rather than read this but pfft he can just take it on the chin!!

Anyway. That's the end of this post!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Turning 50

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to....

Well ok, I'm not crying. But it IS my birthday and I think turning 50 deserves a blog entry. I think the misery of turning 50 is that you realise time has just slipped by, and you've not really achieved any of the things you set out to achieve.  I mean, I'm not a famous author. I don't even write. Hell I'm flat out reading most of the time!!  I haven't finished my Phd.  I haven't managed to save enough money to even contemplate retirement, let alone retirement in the near future. And I didn't lose weight. It's all so hopeless, and I've run out of time. Like so many of my deadlines just plain not met.

However, I am blessed with a wonderful husband, and a loving family, and a roof over my head, and life is pretty good. Plus the real upside to turning 50 is that the clock really can start over again. I can do all those things by the time I'm 60 - thus giving myself another 10 yrs up my sleeve. 

So this is as good a place to set the direction.. state my goals to I can stick to them.. share with the world so that they cannot be broken.. And so my goals for the next 10 years are:



OH who needs goals anyway! Stupid things. Life never really goes to plan anyway. So I say "no" to goals! There! I feel much better now :)

Monday, March 12, 2012


Well it's been a busy weekend! Pingu and I took the camper van for our first road trip and found ourselves a nice quiet spot under the mountains to test our camping skills*.

After some fiddling, and a few frantic ph calls to Dad (which was quite lucky as the signal completely dropped out about an hour after we'd finished!) we found ourselves with a nice little home for the weekend.

And Pingu got to settle in while I took the 'evidence' pictures :)

And we had lovely open space and trees and mountains to look at ...

....while just sitting around and 'being' (well apart from the odd flicking off of blow flies here and there, that is!)

All in all, a successful trip was had!

On the craft front, I received a lovely book from Pingu and think that I will make one of these for the step-daughter's easter bundle. Not a traditional present, but something I think she'd love. I had a more traditional bunny in mind but might make that for the daughter and/or son.

And I also received my very first bundle of swap squares! Most exciting event.

Now, I must return to the exciting task of unpacking Dworkin's theory of equality! Doesn't get better than that.... (ok well maybe it does!).  Happy Monday-itis!

* skills might be stretching it a bit!

Monday, March 5, 2012

My instructions for block 3

I created the following instructions for making Block 3 because it's causing some grief. It took forever to get on facebook so I've copied it here so that I don't have to put myself through that effort again!

Round 1 – making the front of the flower bud
Start with a circle that has 12 tr in it. This is the front of your flower bud.

Round 2 – making the back of the flower bud
Start to work decreased half trebles (“dec 2htr”) which will fold into a circle at the back of this one. This is the bud of the flower. To work the decreased half treble – take the yarn around your hook, put the needle through the next tr and pick up one loop. Repeat this on the next tr. You should have 5 loops on your hook. Take the yarn around you hook and then pull that loop through all 5 loops on your hook.

Continue this way until you have worked the beginning decreased half treble (“2ch, 1htr in next st”) and the “5 dec 2htr” repeats. You will have 6 stitches in total. Note how your circle has folded back on itself to form a closed circle at the back. This is the back of your flower bud.

At this stage the front of your flower bud should look like this if you turn your work over.

The decreased half trebles are at the back. In the next round, you will work from the back to create the loops for petals.

Round 3 – making the loops for the base of the petal
With the back of the flower facing you, create the 2 ch loops that you will use to form the base of each petal. In each half treble stitch at the back work a double crochet and then a 2 ch loop between stitches. You will have 6 double crochet and 2 ch loops. You will be making the petal into these loops.

Round 4 – making the first round of petals
With the front of the flower facing you, work a series of “1dc, 1htr, 3tr, 1htr, 1dc” into each of the 2 ch loops. Note how you create the petal at the back of the flower bud this way.
The pattern then tells you to do “1ch, sl st around bp of st in row below” on the very last stitch of round 4. See Round 5 below for how to do this.
From the front your flower should look like this:

Round 5 – creating the next round of loops (3 ch) for the second round of petals
In this round you will be creating another set of loops at the back of your flower. Have a look at it now from the flower now and note how there is a small “bar” created in Round 3 by the double crochet between each 2 ch loop (see where the hook is pointing in the pic below).

This is the back post (“bp”) that the pattern is referring to. Turn your work over now so that you can create the loops at the back of the flower.
With the back of the pattern facing you, you need to take your hook and push it under the double crochet stitch – from the back, to the front, then to the back again as follows:

From here you take the yarn around your hook and pull through to create a double crochet. (On the first stitch, the instructions have you working a slip stitch first to “anchor” the stitches). Work 3 ch and then repeat the double crochet through the back of the next “back post” (ie the next double crochet bar created from round 3).
From the back, your ch loops should start to look a bit like this (there are two loops at the side of this flower):

This round of double crochet and 3 ch loops forms the base of the second round of petals. However, it also creates the next set of “back posts” for round 7. And so on.

Rounds 6 to 9 – continue making petals and loops
Turn you work around so that the front is facing you for the petals, and the back is facing you for the loops. Repeat the process from Rounds 4 and 5 until you have completed 3 sets of petals and created one further set of loops (round 9). This final set of 5 ch loops will give you the base for round 10 – where you start to work normal rounds of treble.

Rounds 10 to 13
Follow the pattern from here on to create several rounds of treble, with 2 tr, 2 ch, 2 tr in each corner.  Finish with the usual round of dc.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Week 3 and other things

So here's my Block 3.

As I said, very pretty but a bit fiddly. I tend not to have the patience for too many of these!

I've been busy with the other blocks (ie for the swap) and having a lot of fun trying out different patterns, and finished Mum's scarf (which ironically is the same pattern as Block 2 - I just didn't notice it!).

And I got myself organised....

And in between all that I managed to clean the fish tank. Was so excited about it that I had to buy more fish (as you do...)

Ooh and am very excited to report that I have made not one, but two (yes, TWO!) lots of baby African Violets. So my friend Eve's plant will never die now. Well maybe it will die, but it will take a lot more effort on my part to kill it!

And of course there was the arrival of the book.

All in all, not a bad week or two :)

Friday, March 2, 2012

Week 3 Block

The week 3 block of the week was posted this morning, quite a fiddly block this time - a cute little flower in the middle but not easy to put together if you haven't had some experience at flowers. The link for the block is here.  There are a couple of typos in the pattern, though, which is a bit of a shame as the project will lose momentum if it gets to hard to follow the instructions. However, I've managed a couple of blocks and will post pics tomorrow when not so tired.

The week has been reasonably productive, I have a full chapter outline now that I'm really happy with and a few of those narky, annoying jobs off my desk (I'm ignoring the rest). I've managed a few more squares for the swap too, but will need to get some more done over the weekend or I'll fall behind!*

Last night Pingu and I went to the Comedy Club to see Tommy Dean (you can find him on Twitter here) as Pingu won free tickets again (and didn't even enter into any draw for them this time!). He was very funny, but so was the rest of the show. Quite a different line up to the usual, so we really enjoyed it.  And I managed to get myself to the hairdressers - I've been finding it quite difficult to find a decent one but think I may have succeeded today. I used the random google technique.....it's as useful as anything else I've tried!

So now I'm exhausted, and must go get my beauty sleep - as lord knows I need it!

* Note how quickly I lapsed straight back into crochet... oops!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Well there goes another weekend!

I did, however, have quite a productive and pleasant weekend! First I had to attend to the Friday Block of the Week, so did my four blocks of Week 2.

Then I started the blocks for the group swap I've just joined - loving that as I'm getting to use patterns from the 200 blocks book that Pingu bought me last year. The rules of the swap are 6" blocks, all one colour each, so that means I don't have to fiddle with changing colour and sewing in ends (which I HATE doing). I'm having a lot of fun with the colours too!

In between crocheting blocks, and wishing I was in SA with Mum for her birthday, Pingu and I went out to celebrate the arrival of my text book and his CD. And I had a lovely craft day with Car.
Finished the weekend off by watching "The Fugitive" for the 500th time, which is much better than crying my way through "I Am Sam" (which is what I did last week). And I'm all set to start working my way through Dworkin's theory this week. I will NOT stay glued to the TV listening to politics and/or the Academy Awards, no matter how tempting that may be!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Block of the Week - week 2

The pattern for block 2 is up - and the link is here.  I'm really enjoying having a weekly project that is small enough that I can actually achieve it without detracting from the task at hand (ie unwritten doctorate). And Friday is such a good day to get each new sheet!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Well that wasn't too hard!

Ok who am I kidding, putting those together darn near wrecked me! And I managed to put a hole in the wall. But they're done and the office is sorted. So hopefully study will be a little bit easier to manage!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Today's challenge....

....is to assemble bookshelves for doctorate stuff.

Surely it can't be that difficult!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

First block

Here's the first block of the week! I wound up using a 4.5 hook which made the square smaller than the pattern, but less likely to stretch. And because I want a blanket rather than a throw I worked out that I need 4 of each square to get the right size (ie 10 x 10 squares). This week's pattern was relatively straight forward as it was a basic granny square and I was very enthused. I might not manage to do 4 in one night from here on in haha. Still, lots of fun - I can't wait till next week :)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Spotlight challenge

So... I'm joining my good friend Car (who i cannot hyperlink as I have not mastered that technique yet!) in the Spotlight Krista throw challenge and in honour of that decision am kicking off the blog again so that I make sure I blog at least once a week for a while! The challenge is to make one block a week, a total of 25 different blocks. The first block can be found here. More details are on the Spotlight Facebook page.

I'm making mine in a range of colours so that I have something to throw over the lounge in winter. I really like the idea of having something that you get a new part to each week.

Here's what I'll be using ....


Well I have not been a good blogger of late - but I promise to try harder. This is what I have been working on this week. First time I've been able to manage those circular needles! Well proud of myself :)

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