Monday, November 23, 2015

The Gift-A-Long is here!

The annual Indie Design Gift-A-Long has begun! Come and join us in the Ravelry group for a knitting/crocheting party, and get some handmade gifts sorted. To kick things off, the participating designers (all 335 of us) are having a 25%-off sale on some of our designs. The sale lasts until Friday 27th of November, but the Gift-A-Long runs until the end of the year with games and prizes to be won.

My on-sale patterns are collected here!

For my first Gift-A-Long post, I'd like to highlight a few patterns by fellow Downunder designers. I can vouch for the Scott Base Socks as an excellent and practical sock pattern, as I made a pair for myself last year. :)

The following beauties are all by NZ or Australian designers, and all are in the 25%-off sale this week. Click the links to see more.

Nardoo by Ambah O'Brien

Awhitu by Kelly Brooker, photo © Briony Singleton

Koru by Libby Jonson

Spirit of Ahuriri by Brenda Green

Daybreak by Nim Teasdale

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

New pattern: Deco City

I'm back in Melbourne, and hiding indoors from the heat! A mini-heatwave has arrived to welcome me back. It always takes me a little while to readjust to the time difference too, even though it's only two hours.

One good thing about being back from holiday (other than hanging out with Willie and Ju again) is finally getting my hands on Pom Pom Quarterly's Winter issue and seeing my name in print for the first time as a designer. It's a pretty amazing feeling!

My shawl is called 'Deco City' after New Zealand's capital of Art Deco, Napier. My newly-wed brother lives there with his family, and it's a cool place to visit! I particularly love the art gallery by the waterfront:

Photo by Dad

Deco City is a crescent-shaped shawl with an all-over lace pattern inspired by Art Deco design. It's quite simple to knit, with purled ‘rest’ rows on every wrong-side row and stitch markers to indicate where the middle section begins and ends.

  • curved crescent shape with elegant drape
  • all-over geometric lace pattern
  • top-down construction, beginning with a garter tab cast-on
  • two sizes, photos show larger size
  • requires 318 - 477 yards of sport-weight yarn
  • suitable for solid or semi-solid colourways
  • written pattern only (for greater simplicity in this case)

The lovely deep blue yarn I used is Road to China Light from The Fibre Company, a very soft blend of baby alpaca, silk, cashmere, and camel. I used three skeins for the larger size, but for the smaller you only need two.

Photo by Pom Pom Quarterly

You can buy a digital copy of the magazine (and see all the other designs!)
on Ravelry or on Pom Pom Quarterly's site, and you can buy a print copy directly from Pom Pom or from their retailers.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Craft holiday

My stay in Whakatane is drawing to an end, and on Saturday I'll be flying back to Melbourne. As always, I've done a lot of crafting while hanging out with Mum & Dad, sitting in my favourite knitting spot in the sun-room or bent over the sewing machine.

As part of my getting-ready-for-summer project, I sewed a couple of lightweight cotton skirts. I used the Purl Bee's tutorial Gathered Skirt for All Ages, and adapted it for a longer length and no pockets. My skirts are super comfy to wear, and were quite straightforward to make for a semi-beginner like me. Each one took me two days of tinkering. :)

I also want to finish sewing my ill-fated silk cowl, which will hopefully work out this time around! 

Last week I finished knitting a hat-and-mitts set, tweaked their patterns, and had a photoshoot with Dad behind the camera (which is always fun). I'm planning to release the patterns in December, so I don't want to give too much away just yet. Here's a tiny peek...

Finally, here are a few photos from Mum and Dad's garden. Yesterday I played around with Dad's smaller camera - it's never hard to find interesting things to photograph in a garden...

A rose called 'Greensleeves'

A fern frond unfurling

Plenty of thyme

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dyeing with eucalyptus II

We had a wonderful time in Napier! The food was amazing, the weather was pleasant, and the hotel was great. And so was the main event! Congrats Jeff and Colleen, it was a lovely wedding. I'm so glad Willie and I were able to be there. <3

The day after the wedding, hordes of friends and family descended on the Grays' place for lunch. The best part for me was watching their (very bouncy) dog play with their three goats. We've been hassling Jeff to take a video to put online, because it's ridiculously entertaining...

Between the goat paddock and the beehives were some eucalyptus trees with blue-green leaves. I've been on the lookout for some accessible blue-green eucalypts to dye fabric with, ever since I read in India Flint's Eco Colour that these are the ones which give orange or red dye. I asked nicely, and picked a few good-sized twigs to experiment with back in Whakatane.

On Tuesday I had a go at Flint's 'eco-print' technique, scattering pieces of eucalyptus twigs between the folds of a plain silk scarf, rolling it around a stick, and tying the bundle tightly with string.

I tossed the bundle and some leftover leaves and twigs into a pot with enough water to cover it all, and boiled it all for 45 minutes. Then the hard part began - waiting until the next day to unroll the bundle and see what colours I had!

And... it worked! The scarf has areas of apricot-orange where the leaves were pressed tightly against the fabric, and paler areas in between. I didn't achieve strongly defined leaf prints, but I'm happy with my first attempt. I imagine tighter rolling and tying of the bundle would produce clearer prints.

If you click and enlarge this last photo, you can see stripes in the upper left corner from the string around the bundle. Pretty cool! It's amazing what just leaves + fabric + water + heat can do.