Friday, July 29, 2016


My recent making of baby things has been for Little Sprouts - a New Zealand charity that works with various organisations to give "vulnerable" families everything they need for their new baby.
In making a contribution I've also challenged myself to use only fabric and wool from my stash and to not buy any supplies. It has been challenging to resist buying but it's also pushed my creativity a bit. Who knew you could make a blanket from a metre of woolen fabric just by squaring it up and binding the edges. It's also gratifying to know that stuff that I have that I will probably never use or need can be put to good use by someone else. Plus I've loved the making, of course.

For any interested makers:
the blankets were inspired by this tutorial at Purl Soho
the blue merino wrap by this tutorial
the side-buttoned cardigan is a free pattern available here
and a similar pattern for the tiny "prem" beanies can be found here.

Enjoy your weekend. 

Friday, July 22, 2016


I'm so pleased to show you this little piece of knitting. It's the first thing I've knitted "top down" and the first time I've used a circular needle. It's the very popular "puerperium" cardigan designed by Kelly Brooker. The pattern is available here - free - in new-born size. The two great things about this cardigan is that it knits up quickly and it has no seams. So nothing to sew up and so comfortable for baby. The downside though is that those tiny sleeves are knitted in the round either on a set of double-pointed needles or using the "magic loop method" with a circular needle. I did the magic loop and, like much of knitting, it is magical. I followed this excellent youtube tutorial.

It's mid winter here so not much is happening in the garden. But I think moss is interesting and I love the earthy mustard and green colours of it so here are some mossy (or lichen covered) twigs photographed on a recent walk on a cold and blustery day.

Reading: Just kids by Patti Smith (biography about when she lived In New York City with Robert Mapplethorpe) and Everywhere I look by Helen Garner (a collection of essays).

Friday, July 15, 2016


Don't you love it when everything just comes together? I was thinking about how I could sort out my button collection that lives in a jumble in a shoe box. I seem to spend ages looking for the right buttons to finish a cardigan. Usually I find three of the 'perfect' button when I need five. I decided it would save me so much time if I were an organised person and I had them sorted into sets on cards or in little zipper bags. And while procrastinating over this enormous task I found an old (1985) gardening book, The A-Z of gardening in New Zealand, in a local book exchange. The book is full of lovely, slightly faded photographs that I thought I could use to make cards to sew my buttons onto. So I cut out some of my favourite photos, glued them onto card and stitched on the buttons using a strong top-stitching thread. I think cards like this would make a nice gift for a sewing or knitting friend.

I've been slowly working my way through my button collection. I seem to have quite a few one-offs (that's just a selection on the plate, above) and I've decided to keep the loveliest anyway as they are so ... well, lovely. So much joy in such little, everyday things.

Have a lovely weekend.

The top photo, by the way, is of Oakura beach, south of New Plymouth, taken a couple of years ago. I have it as my computer desktop so I see it almost every day. I love to see the sea.

Reading: A long way from Verona (1971) by Jane Gardam. Another of the childhood books. I'd forgotten so much of it that it was like reading it for the first time and I loved it. Another coming of age book - and Jane Gardam's first novel -  with a young (thirteen-year-old) fiesty protagonist, Jessica (aka Jessie Carr) Vye. Again set in England but this time during the second world war - rationing and air raids.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016


Right now I'm working to bind some woolen fabric (from my stash) to make cot blankets to donate to Little Sprouts. The mossy brown one is complete and I'm about to start on the grey. It's a pretty simple task that includes some hand stitching - which I quite like. There's a good tutorial here at Purl Soho.

I've been stitching away while watching some of my favourite films - so far, The big Lebowski, Frances Ha and Rear window. Plus the blanket is warm on my lap. We've had a few cold nights here recently.

That top photo was taken last July. It's Lake Waihola near Milton in Otago. We were passing by on our way from Dunedin to Invercargill. It was a really cold day. You can see the frost on the hills and the lake was frozen in shallow parts along the shore.

Reading: Bilgewater (1976) by Jane Gardam. Although I listed this as a childhood favourite, it's not a children's book - more suitable for "teens". I quite liked it but perhaps not as much as when I first read it. It's the coming-of-age story of Marigold Green, the daughter of a schoolmaster at a private boys' school in England. Marigold leads a quiet and solitary life until she reunites with a childhood friend.
The quote: "It must be queer not being able to do mathematics."