Saturday, 9 April 2016

Stitched together

The last few weeks has got me thinking. Thinking about the knitting/crochet/general fibre craft community. As I mentioned last post I've been watching and listening to a ton of podcasts related to mostly knitting, and I've been struck by how overwhelmingly supportive and positive this community is. Podcasters recommending each other, yarn dyers telling you to check out another dyers wares, without a hint of competitiveness between them. Designers showing off someone else's design they're knitting, and encouraging and complimenting each other.

I see the same generosity and support in my own day to day knitting. I just got back from meeting up with a wonderful woman who I consider my knitting mentor and more importantly my friend. On the face of it, it may be slightly unlikely that we'd be friends. I am a 37 year old library assistant, mum of two boys and rather a homebody. She is a retiree, a grandmother and one of our patrons at the library.

 Three years ago, during Knit In Public week, the library I work at decided to celebrate and asked for knitters to come and join me for a one off, 3 day knit in public event. We had such a fabulous and successful week that we decided to create a once a week knitting group that would meet in the library. Suffice to say we are still going strong, and the group has grown and strengthened over the years.

Every Thursday those that can make it meet in the library, I take cuppa orders and usually one of them brings some home made goodies. They are all so different in their abilities and interests but all share the love of the craft.
There's sharing of tips, patterns, and new wool discoveries.
Passer-by's stop and talk, and sometime join in.
There's encouragement and support, not only in knitting but our lives as well.
It has become an important day in our calendars.

Thanks to those ladies, I knitted my first shawl, the Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West, I've learnt to knit socks, and gained confidence in my abilities.

My friend has been there from the start and has been a huge encourager and mentor.

The beginnings of my Spring Festival Shawl

A few days ago, I hit a snag in my new shawl project, the Spring Festival Shawl, and sent an S.O.S to her via Ravelry. She wrote back with a few suggestions and agreed to meet for coffee if I needed....
and I did need it!
We sat and drank hot drinks, chatted and knitted and she managed to trouble shoot my knitting and encouraged me to trust myself. I left with a bit more knitted, and a lot more confidence.

 We may be so very different but the shared passion and love of our craft has made for a surprising friendship. And I'm so very grateful.

Jo xx

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Wooly things...

I have disappeared down a rabbit warren of wooly distractions lately. Podcasts of both the audio and video variety have been taking up an inordinate amount of my time. What an amazing resource and a brilliant way to share the love of all things fibre and knitting! I feel like I'm not alone in my all encompassing love of wool, knitting and general wooly love.
Merlin joining me/distracting me as I knit another pair of socks!
If you are at all interested you should definitely check out LegacyKnitz  video podcast. This is a podcast hosted by a mum and daughter (Sue and Chelsea) team who are just ridiculously adorable, talented and entertaining. So much gorgeous wool and patterns shared and I'm always in a better mood after watching!
Another fabulous video podcast is Inside Number 23
Katie the host is another sunshiny personality who shares her love of knitting, yarn and sewing in an entertaining and inspiring way. She has a fabulous vintage aesthetic and a hilarious sidekick pug who sometimes steals the show!
Audio podcasts that I love and am inspired by include:
Woolful- This is Ashley's podcast and I cant speak highly enough of it! Here she interviews knitters, designers, farmers, dyers, shop owners and others that are involved in the fibre community. I am constantly inspired by everyone's stories of hard work, fibre love and passion for the art and craft of making.
Truly Myrtle is Libby from New Zealand, a knitter, designer, sewer and a generally inspiring woman. Listening to her has triggered a long held desire to start making my own handmade wardrobe. This is the year for me to get sewing, knitting and making...even more!
There's a whole lot more out there, like I said, it's a rabbit warren of podcasts, one mentions another and before you know it you're sitting down to listen to a new one! Dangerous if you want to get anything else achieved!


I've been loving knitting socks, and recently made a teensy pair for my new little niece. A gorgeous pair of socks to match my bigger pair, and made from left over wool. I have enough left over for the next baby in our family, due any day! I got the pattern off Sue of LegacyKnitz. She has it up on Ravelry, in the LegacyKnitz podcast forum. She has been using the pattern to make mini socks for an Advent garland, but I thought some tiny toes would look adorable in them.
Deliciously teensy socks to match Aunty Jo's.

Imperfect but delightful.

I recently popped in to my local fabric and wool shop and in the process of buying some thick bright wool for my nieces 7th birthday I also discovered some amazingly soft and scrumptious 100% Alpaca yarn. I hadn't heard of it before but the colours and the feel of it was just too tempting. It's called Bella Storia Royal Alpaca, is a 2ply and is heavenly to work with. After a bit of searching I found a pattern for a cowl I liked and using Patons Embrace in matching colours knitted double. I have to say this is the most delightful and enjoyable thing I've knitted in ages. It's so soft and luxurious, I just can not wait to finish and have some chilly days so I can snuggle in to it!
It's as soft as the bottom of a newborns foot!!
 The pattern is Typha cowl by Kirsten Kapur. Its a paid for pattern, and is the first time I've knitted anything slightly lacy, but the pattern is easy to follow and I'm feeling a real sense of joy as I knit it!


I have also been sorely tempted by the joy that is Etsy, and hand dyed yarns! As it's my birthday next week, I allowed myself a little indulgence and purchased two skeins of the most scrumptious and beautiful hand dyed yarns. I was excited to find one of the dyers lives not too far from me, approximately an hour away, so I felt good about supporting local as well as my habit! 
So soft and squishy!
 This is a beautiful green yarn from Toomuc Valley Yarns. The colour is even more beautiful in real life and so soft! She has lots of gorgeous yarns and I think I'll have to indulge again soon!
The next skein I'm hoping to use in a project with my Toomuc Valley wool as they look stunning together.
Beautiful speckly wool.
This is from Pickle and Co Fibres also on Etsy. Whilst it's not technically local, being in Queensland and the other end of Australia to me, it's still Australian wool and an Australian dyer so I'm happy with that!
This is just a skein of heaven and I keep getting it out and fondling it, just to enjoy it's fabulousness! I can not wait to find the perfect project for these babies!
Now all this talk of wool and knitting has my fingers itching to play, so I'm off to grab a moment with my wool!
I hope you get a chance this weekend to indulge in your favourite pastime! I know I will be!
Jo xx

Saturday, 7 November 2015

A return..

I have been so neglectful of this space, I've been working, mothering and just trying to keep afloat!
I've been a little unsure of what I want to do with this blog.  What am I aiming for, who am I talking to and why am I doing it. I have asked myself all of these questions before of course. I think I will visit occasionally, put up some craftiness that I've been up to, and not expect anything.
And so to it...

Above is a delicious and huge skein of the most divine Corriedale wool. My sister in laws aunt and uncle farm Corriedale sheep, and have won prizes worldwide for their fleeces. I was gifted this heavenly wool, and am a little overwhelmed at the possibilities when I look at it. I'm yet to decide what I'm going to make with it, just hoping that I can do it justice.
My W.I.P
At the moment I am crocheting this Puff Stitch Cowl by Stephanie Jessica Lau.
It is an easy, meditative stitch and a fabulous project to bring along to kids sports, or doctors waiting rooms. I don't have to think, I can just hook away.
I'm using Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash in Midnight Heather. I got this in a yarn club I was in run by Jellywares on Marshall. I've participated in two of her yarn clubs and I'm really hoping she does another, as it's just the best receiving a little box with a surprise ball of yarn, sometimes some delicious tea and a newsletter with pattern recommendation.
Finished Projects
This may look like an innocent pair of socks, but they represent a world of firsts for me. First time knitting in the round, first time at knitting socks, turning a heel and grafting toes. I'm super proud of them, and although they took longer than I care to admit to finish, and are far from perfect, I love them to bits!!  I had so much help from some amazing knitters that meet once a week in the library where I work. One knitter in particular was so patient and generous with her time, I wouldn't have been able to do these without her!!
 I was so excited and proud of my first socks that I immediately cast on a second pair! I smashed through these in no time, due to staying up way past my bedtime a few nights in a row. I just couldn't help myself, I'd start knitting and before I knew it, it was 1 o'clock in the morning! Time really does fly when you're having fun!

My perfectly mismatched and super soft comfy socks. I love them! These ones I managed to knit entirely on my own, no assistance required!!
Just have to decide on some wool then I'll be casting on some more I think!
Now I'm off to pull out my stash, and settle on some projects for Christmas! I'm a little giddy at the thought of all I have to do, in a small amount of time. Me thinks there's some more late nights in my future!
Jo xx

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Hundreds and Thousands...

The other day I got my hot little hands on my first copy of the gorgeous handmade magazine Hundreds and Thousands. I'm kicking myself that I didn't hear about it when Issue 1 was out, but I'm not too late to the party, and I'll be a regular from now on!
It has cute crafty ideas, yummy recipes, gardening and a dash of Nana love...perfect! I snatched a moment with a cuppa, my knitting and nestled down to have a read..

A little moment of bliss

And I loved every moment!
So if you can, get your hands on a copy, you can thank me later!!
Jo x

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Easter catch up..

It's been a long time since I've been here. Life has taken over, children, work, stuff.
I have so many ideas floating in my brain, things I'd love to do. To sit and create, uninterrupted, for as long as I choose. To start a project and work on it till its finished. To not have to steal moments when I can, or wait all day until the whirlwind of a boy I have is finally asleep to be able to get my crafty fingers working. 

But then I remember how lucky I am to have little ones to interrupt me. How I'll miss these days when they have fled the nest. So I'm trying to be present, not wish these days away. 

Easter here was wonderful. All my brothers and sisters ( there's 6 of us!) were together at mums for the first time in a long time and we talked, laughed and ate our way through the weekend. Autumn walks on the beach, visits to the farmers market and, did I mention we ate!?

I had my first market in a long time, and after a slow start, I sold stuff! I had people look at what I'd made, love it and spend their hard earned dollars on it. What a great feeling. And even if they didn't buy, the feedback was wonderful. Quite the ego boost!
My corner of the market stall
I shared the stall with my little brothers girlfriend, and I perched my little table full of wares down and spent the day knitting and chatting, to her and to market goers. And it was great.

That night I had to prepare some goodies for my Mr 3's dairy free Easter. Not so hard, I just got some dairy free chocolate that he loves and using some Easter moulds I'd managed to find at the op shop, I made some marshmallow, and 100's and 1000's covered goodies. And of course I didn't manage to get any photos!
He also got a ceramic bunny to paint, and some colouring books. Fun!

And then the next morning an Easter miracle occurred! Well I may be exaggerating just a tad. 
I made a ginger cake to take to our family lunch, using my great great grandmothers recipe. I sprinkled a bit of icing sugar over, using a rabbit template to decorate, and wonders of wonders, a crack in the cake managed to form the cutest and most perfectly placed bunny eye!

The miraculous ginger cake!
I didn't say it was an impressive miracle...maybe I need to get out more!

 Anyway, I hope everyone else had a wonderful Easter, and managed to witness a miracle or two, no matter how big or small!

Jo x

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Getting cosy...

Last year I entered some of my crafty woolly work in my first ever event. It was for the Fish Creek Tea Cosy Festival. Fish Creek is a small country town about half an hour from where I live, primarily a farming town, it has a arty edge. Last year was the first ever tea cosy festival, and I fluffed around with some wool, some tea pots and some ideas, and eventually come up with 2 tea cosies that I was happy to put my name to.

My finished pair of cosies.

Being the first time I'd entered any of my work I wasn't expecting much, and while I didn't place in the tea cosy contest, I was flabbergasted to sell both my pieces. And if I'm honest, I felt a little bit sad to see them go. I'd spent so long playing with stitches, different wools and ideas, that I'd become quite attached to them.
But the day I got my first ever crafty related cheque in the mail, I must admit, mid crazy happy jig at the mail box, I did feel better about letting them go!

Butterfly Garden Cosy

I often wonder who bought them, who parted with their hard earned cash, in exchange for something that I made. I hope they are keeping many a pot of tea warm, that they are part of someone's loving kitchen, sitting in between a family at breakfast, friends having a heart to heart. And I hope they bring a smile to someone's face now and then.

Rainbow Fish Cosy

And now, to this year... I have a basketful of wool and a head full of ideas, now to just find the time to put the two together!

How about you? Are you a lover of all things cosy and tea related?

Jo x

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Growing up, growing old and growing wise....hopefully.

My eldest boy started his adventure into high school last week, and my youngest little man had his 3 year old introductory interview. On the same day. Small things in the scheme of things, but they felt huge! Markers of how fast time is flying by.
Mr 12 is going to my old school. My old stomping ground. He'll even have some of the same teachers, although that may concern them more than me!
As I watched him drive off on his first of many bus rides to school, I reflected on how I felt at that age.  I felt so grown up, but so unsure. Unsure of how to act, how to look, who to be. I worried about others opinions a bit too much. I was never interested in sports, which was a big deal in our country town. That and farming.

I loved my horse,our animals, my books and my imagination. I would spend hours in the old magnolia tree, curled up in the crook of a branch, reading book after book. The bark of the tree was polished to a waxy sheen from where I sat. 
Or I would climb to the top of the hay shed and make a nest from the loose hay, flop myself down and escape into other worlds, be anyone I wanted to be.

And now I live in town. Admittedly a small town still, but there is something magic about growing up on a farm. There is always something to do, and somewhere to escape to.
I worry that my big boy spends way too much time in his room on his DS. He wants me to cave and let him have a T.V in his room ( I won't!) I worry that my youngest spends to much time in front of the T.V with dad while I'm at work.

My kids are growing up in a beautiful place though. We live by the sea. We have 2 dogs and 4 chooks.
We go to the beach, dig holes big enough to trap a man, and return home, tired, salty and leaving a trail of sand wherever we go.  I hope they look back with fondness on this time.
I look back at my childhood, and wish I'd had more confidence. Wish I'd known that if I wanted I really could do anything I wanted. 
But I'm happy, And I think my boys are happy too. I am growing older, watching them grow up and I aim to grow wiser along side.

 Jo x