Thursday, June 29, 2017

hats and mittens

It may look like I've had a very industrious week knitting three hats and a pair of mittens but two of those hats - the pink and yellow - were knitted quite some time ago using this free pattern. I finally sewed up their seams and got them finished. The grey hat was a way to use up yarn left over from the mittens. And for that I used this pattern from Adorable baby knits by Jody Long.

My granddaughter asked me to make her some mittens. It hasn't been a particularly cold winter (yet) so I'm not sure how much wear they'll get but she seems to enjoy trying them on and showing them to everyone. And I enjoyed making them. I used an old Kaiapoi pattern. Mittens are deceptively easy to knit on two needles and don't take too long if you're knitting for little hands. There's a free pattern here for "the world's simplest mittens" that goes from toddler to large adult size and doesn't require any grafting. Apparently mittens are warmer than gloves - something to do with trapping body heat because your fingers are all snuggled up together. Cosy. ☺

Reading: The woman in cabin 10 by Ruth Ware. This is a mystery/crime novel about a woman being thrown overboard from a cruise ship except all crew and passengers remain accounted for. So far, a page turner and the protagonist isn't even on the ship yet.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Three completed hankies. I make these for myself whenever I find the "right" fabric - a nice light cotton, usually voile. I cut a 12 inch square and narrow hem by hand using slip stitch. I tried to master the rolled hem but I couldn't get the knack of it so I just iron a small hem about 1/4-3/8 inches and double fold as I sew. I try to "embrace the wonky" and not be overly fussy - no fancy mitred corners. The floral fabric I found in my stash, the stripe was a bargain from Spotlight and the spots from fabric-a-brac. Speaking of which, the next fabric-a-brac in Auckland is September 2nd. It's always worth a visit plus the proceeds go to Mercy Hospice.

And the work in progress is another "puerperium" cardigan designed by Kelly Brooker. This is a free pattern available here. So far this little cardigan is going very well - probably because this my second top-down knit and I now know how it works. Top-down is a bit of a mystery first time round.

I like to have a few projects going on at the same time these days. I used to like to start and finish a project before starting something new. Now I prefer things a bit mixed up and go from one thing to another. And, strangely, it seems easier. I think doing many things at once takes the focus off completion and puts it instead on the process. And for me it's really all about the process. I make things because I like the making. How does it work for you? Are you a multi tasker or a starter-finisher?

Reading: Mrs D is going within by Lotta Dann. NZ writer's sort of sequel to Mrs D is going without - her memoir which tells the story of how she quit alcohol (which I haven't read). This second book is about developing coping strategies (other than alcohol) for dealing better with life.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

small change

Three little re-makes because it's the little things that count.

A new succulent - a stapeliad, I think - bought from the Tauranga farmers' market in its newly painted sleepy head pot. I don't know why but I'm thrilled with this. Possibly because I think about projects for such a long time - about how to do it and what could go wrong - so that when I do make the thing and it works out ok it's a huge relief to me.

I wasn't happy with the pyramid lavender bag that I made last week so it's now a regular old rectangle. But it was doing such a wonderful job that I added a ribbon to another bag so that I could hang two bags in the wardrobe to intensify that fantastic lavender smell. I made the embroidered bag ages ago from a salvaged moth eaten tablecloth that belonged to my mother. It's lovely to have some little part of her in my home.

And, finally, this is the tea cosy that used to be covered in tiny flowers but I tired of them a few years ago and chopped them all off - even though they took me ages to make and to sew on. So for a while the yellow teapot wore a sad looking beanie/cosy thing until yesterday when I realised that what it needed was a bright orange pompom.

Reading: We have always lived in the castle (1962) by Shirley Jackson - described as "gothic horror" this is certainly a bit of a creepy thriller

Watching: The handmaid's tale - haunting, engrossing and shocking tv series based on Margaret Atwood's novel of the same name and starring Elizabeth Moss

Friday, June 9, 2017


On a weekend road trip a couple of weeks ago we stopped at the excellent farmers market in Tauranga where I bought a bag of dried lavender to refill my lavender bags. It turned out to be a bigger task than I thought it would be but so worth the effort as the new lavender smells so amazing.
With the leftover lavender I made a new bag using this embroidered linen backed with the blue floral cotton voile. I'm so pleased with it. Embroidered lavender bags would make nice gifts - a set of three tied together with a ribbon.

I also wanted a lavender bag to hang in my wardrobe so had a go at one of these pyramid bags. These are easier to make than they appear but they're a bit of an odd shape for a lavender bag, I think - not something you can easily tuck in between the sheets in the linen cupboard. Cute, though.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

linen and a vase

Linen napkins - I bought the linen as a bundle labelled "place mats" at an op shop last summer. Hardly used, colours still bright. I'm particularly keen on the mustard. I cut them down to simple everyday napkin size and then hand stitched them with narrow hems. I decided this was easier than winding bobbins for the six different colours and mitering corners. Plus, as you know, I like hand stitching. It's quiet, relaxing and can be done almost anywhere.

Doodle stitching on some of the left over napkin linen. I don't know where this is heading but it's another pleasant thing to do.

And something new for the kitchen window sill - a lotus pod vase by Auckland potter, Ann O'Sullivan purchased from my new favourite local florist, Here among the wild. I like that it's handmade and can hold just one stem or many - especially at this time of year when there's not much happening flower-wise in the garden.

The flower workshop : lessons in arranging blooms, branches, fruits, and foraged materials by Ariella Chezar with Julie Michaels
Styling nature : a masterful approach to floral arrangements by Lewis Miller
Bringing nature home : floral arrangements inspired by nature by Ngoc Minh Ngo