Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Well Earned Treat

Yesterday this got delivered to our house.
That is 4 m3 of pine sitting in a pile at the end of our drive making it pretty near impossible to get the car out of the garage.  So this morning we set about stacking it and by morning tea time we had it all put away and the general mess cleaned up, woohoo.  Many hands make light work and with all of us pitching in (even the cat came to inspect the handiwork) it was done a lot quicker than expected.
As a special treat to ourselves for doing so well we decided to give Miss M an early sleep and head to one of our favorite local cafe's for lunch out.  We don't eat out all that often so it was just lovely.
Miss M and Daddy enjoyed a nice warming growl of French Onion Soup, although I'm not sure Daddy actually got very much of it.

Mr A had a 'very yummy' sandwich.
And I had a super scrummy Vol Auvent
And best of all check out the awesome dragon picture they put on my coffee :-)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

FO: Katniss (and a top)

I have been really lucky lately to have the chance to test knit a few patterns for a very talented designer and friend, Julia Stanfield.  One of these tests is a super cooper secret squirrel affair that I will reveal later when I am able, one is still on the needles, and the third is this super cute wee tunic with cable detailing.  When I saw Julia's prototype of this design I fell in love with it and I am so pleased I have had the chance to knit one up for Miss M.  Tunics are all 'in' this winter and this is so cute and girly without being over the top.
So here is my version of Katniss.
The tunic is top down and seamless with pockets knitted sideways at the end and stitched on.  I love the way the cable detail is carried through from the hood and raglan to the edge of the pockets.
Miss M is currently about 19.5 inches in the chest and I knit the 20 inch size which is perfect on her with a long sleeved top underneath.  The tunic is A-lined which is perfect for wee ones with cloth bums to fit underneath it and as you can see here even with jeans underneath there are no weird bumps and bulges anywhere :-)
I went a bit mad getting photos of this because I love it so much but here goes.
Now I really mustn't forget to absolutely gush about the yarn that this is knitted in.  It is Olive & Emma hand dyed yarn which I had customer dyed specifically for this project in a colourway that Emma named 'Roses for Meg'.  Isn't it just fabulous and it is oh so soft and scrummy too.  I got the 20 inch size out of 200g of 8ply as well so now I have an extra skein to decide what to do with :-)

And while I am here I will just quickly add that I made the wee white top Miss M is wearing under the tunic as well.  I actually sewed this a few weeks ago but never got around to putting the snap at the back of the neck (typical for me really).  Once again it is an ottobre pattern (4/2007, design 6) and is a simple wee long sleeved tee with binding at the neck and sleeve edges,  a keyhole at the back and snap closure.  I made this out of some nice thick white cotton lycra I had in stash.
Here are a couple of fairly rubbish shots where you can actually see the top.
I'm not 100% happy with the way it sits at the back of the neck, I should have crossed the snap over a little more but it seems warm and comfy which is the main thing.  Now I just need to find time to make more.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

It is Mother's day today in our part of the world and I have had a really special day thanks to my fabulous wee family.
First of all I was given a new mug for work and a card that Miss M made at daycare.  I do already have one of these photo mugs but it has a photo on if from when Mr A was only about 7 months old so it was certainly time for an updated version.
For the last 2 weeks Mr A has been coming home from school telling me that he is making me a surprise at school and he's not going to tell me what it is, only that it is for Mother's day.  This has also been accompanied by lots of asking "how many days until Mother's day Mummy", I really think he was more excited about my surprise than I was.  He was so proud that he had made this all himself and I know they spent a lot of time working on them in class and in my opinion it was all worth it.  Check it out for yourself but I think it is a very special gift.
This is what I was given a fabulous card and present in a box.
Inside the card is a poem and some sentences he had written about me as part of his writing work in class.
I have just blanked out the names on this picture.
He drew a picture of a truck on the back of the card.
The box was decorated with flowers, one of them 'red like a rose because you like roses Mummy', and had a picture of the rock on the top.

And inside the box was my very own 'pet rock' decorated like an Easter egg.

I hope all the lovely Mummies out there who read this also feel like they have been spoilt today, I know you all deserve it :-)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

FO Roar!

A couple of months ago a lovely lady who I work with had a gorgeous wee boy.  At the time I wanted to make something for this precious new addition to her family but time got away with me.  Finally I found myself in the odd position of having empty needles (well apart from all those long hibernating WIPs).  I had finished a cardy for Miss M and had a few days to fill in before starting a test knit so I decided to whip up a wee vest for Master C.
The pattern I chose was the ever popular Milo by Georgie Hallam.  This pattern is a 'go-to' vest pattern for so many people I know and surprisingly for me this is the third time I have knit this pattern.  Given that I guess it is a little strange that neither of my munchkins have ever owned a Milo vest, possibly because it is so popular and for some reason if I see a pattern popping up all over the place for some reason I am less likely to knit it.  Anyway I digress as usual.
Here are the two Milo's I have knit previously, both as baby gifts for new baby boys.
Both these ones were knitted in Utiku 8ply from The Wool Company and I was happy enough with the result in both cases.  I think the thing that draws so many people to this pattern is the versatility of it as it comes with various different cable options, can be knit with no cable and  then embellished or even have colourwork incorporated into the body.  The other thing about this pattern is it is super quick.  Although my knitting time each day is very limited I got all three of these vests knitted up in just a couple of days each.
As I cast this on in the 'spur of the moment' I had to go stash diving for yarn and I came up with a single lonely ball of Magic Garden Classic Prints in white/pale blue/navy, and I did a size 3m.  Due to how busy the yarn looked knitted up I opted to leave off the cable and add a embellishment later instead.
Initially I had grand plans to add a plane to the front but as usual I left the actual finishing to just a couple of days before we were meeting Master C for morning tea so in the end I went with a cute wee dinosaur that I already had the appliqué pattern for and scraps of felt I found in the cupboard.  The pattern I bought some time ago to use for tops for Miss M and Mr A and is called Cute Critters Applique Designs by Precious Patterns.  The photos of the FO aren't the best because they were taken in the night light but I didn't have time to get any better ones.
This was my first time doing felt appliqué on a knitted item and I can see many more in the future.


Lately Miss M has been spending lots of time playing with good old fashioned wooden blocks.  She loves to build 'houses' and 'towers' and does very well by herself, although she does occasionally ask "Mummy help".
While Mr A was at school the other day Miss M and I spent a long time playing and enjoying the sun streaming into the lounge.
And of course after all that hard work what is more fun than this...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Farewell Moley

It is hard to write this, today has been a very hard day for us all here.  One month ago yesterday we had to take a dearly loved fur baby to the vet and came home thinking he would be fine.  Unfortunately more tests and scans proved that wasn't the case and today we had to say goodbye to our dear Molesworth (Moley).
We got Moley as a rescue kitten from Cats Protection League when we first moved back to NZ.
That little ball of grey fluff grew into a long lanky and slightly daft cat.
He was really DPs cat and spent most nights sitting on his knee 'helping' him play computer games or do some computer programming or whatever was on the agenda for that night.  He had the bad habit of jumping up on our kitchen bench, and used to dribble when he purred.  Even so I'd give anything to be telling him off for getting on the bench right now.
He liked to sleep in daft positions....
but his favorite of all was snuggle dup with his dear friend Maya
We all miss you so much The Mole and we will never forget you.  RIP Moley Nov 2004 - May 2012.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Firewood Time

It's that time of year again when quite suddenly we seem to be waking up to cold mornings and are needing to light the fire in the evenings.  As usual this means our thoughts turn to getting more firewood to get us through the coming winter. We will be ordering some soon, but since we are never going to pass up an opportunity of cheap/free wood yesterdays Mr A and Daddy went to Daddy's work and broke up a couple of wooden pallets there that were destined for the skip and brought them home.
Once home there was a lot of unloading of the car, then sawing the wood up and cutting it into kindling.  Mr A got involved in every aspect (apart from the one involving the axe, and here he is helping saw up some wood.

Friday, May 4, 2012

One Of My Favourite Things

Anyone who has ready anything on my blog with know that I love all things crafty.  Others who don't understand this love may not share my joy of arriving home to a parcel knowing that there is new fabric or yarn inside, but lets face it everyone has some vice.  There is always something that they are truly excited about receiving in the mail, buying online and downloading or going to get from the shops.  I know that sounds very materialistic, when in fact I'm not really a 'things' person, but who doesn't love getting parcels really?
Upon our return from the school drop off yesterday morning I found not one but two courier parcels on my doorstep.  Instantly I realized there were two lots of yarn I had ordered recently and got pretty super-dooper excited.  Opening up these parcels I was in no way disappointed :-)
The first parcel I opened was from Featherbrush Yarns, a recently established indie-dyer who has some amazing colourways.  I finally succumbed last week when she did a special stocking in honor of ANZAC day.  It was 10 years this year since I spent the night camped out on the grass on the Gallipoli Peninsula to attend the dawn service there and ever since then I think ANZAC day has had a really special meaning to me.  I am hoping to use this yarn to make something a little bit special for me, something that will make me think of the ANZAC troops and the time I spent at Gallipoli each time I wear it.
And inside some fabulous 10ply yarn in colourway Poppy
The light really wasn't great yesterday and these photos in no way do justice to the depth of color and true gorgeousness of this yarn.

The second parcel I received I was even more excited about because it was a custom order I had placed with another recently established indie-dyer Olive and Emma.  I have 'known' Emma for a wee while now through a couple of online forums and have often admired the fabulous hand-dyed yarn she produced so you can imagine that I was pretty excited when I found out she was starting a business.  Then as if I needed any encouragement she teamed up with another good friend who I am currently testing a pattern for (more on that later) with a special offer on custom dying.  After much deliberation and many complete changes of tack in my thought process I finally asked Emma to dye me a nice dusky rose pink for Miss M.
First of all here is the parcel.  Isn't that just the cutest, I mean everyone knows that your favorite things come in brown paper packages tied up with string :-)
And here is what I found inside.  three 100g skeins of the most gorgeous 8ply super wash yarn in colourway "Roses for Meg".
I wound this and cast it on straightaway for the test knit so once it is done I will blog even more about it :-)

FO A New Winter Top

Winter seems to have suddenly arrived and as usual I have left sorting the kids clothes for winter way too late.  Luckily this time round the change in temperature has coincided with me having a couple of weeks off work AND the arrival of my new machine to play with.  Unfortunately there hasn't been as much sewing time as it sounds like there should be as I enjoyed the company of my niece for the first week (and some great girly shopping days) and the school day is way too short!
My first workout for the new machine was to make a couple of tops for Miss M.  I have enough fabric here to sink a small ship so the thought of going out and buying she tops for winter seemed just wrong.  After some stash diving and some pattern perusing I cut out a few things and sewed up a couple.  One is still awaiting a snap so I don't have any pics yet but the other is finished.
The pattern is of course from an ottobre mag, 1/2010 design 2, "Kamomilla" T-shirt and I made a size 80cm.  There are two variations on this top, one has binding round the bottom of cropped sleeves and the other has wide cuffs on full length sleeves.  I wasn't too sure about the wide cuffs but definitely wanted full length sleeves so decided to give it a crack.  The fabric I used is some gorgeous thick cotton lycra that I was given by a friend (and have about 5 metros of) and although I wasn't sure about the sagey color of Miss M I am loving it now.  That is probably just as well because I have enough of the fabric to make her winter tops for the next 6 years or so :-)
The top
I actually really like the girly touches of the gathered neckline and the gathering of the wide sleeves into the cuffs.
And a few quick action shots taken as she was about to head out the door to daycare.
I am really pleased with the fit, the neck is nice and stretchy and easy to get on and there is still plenty of room for growth so she should get all this winter out of this no problem.