Archive for July, 2013

Playing along with the Tour de Fleece this year on Ravelry has taught me that I’m really good at spinning every day the real Tour is on (when I’m near my wheel that is), but I’m terrible at taking photos every day and uploading them to all my teams on Ravelry. I think next year I’ll spin along but I won’t join any teams.

So, on to the yarn. The first yarn I spun for the tour was this lovely merino dyed by yours truly.

(In exciting news, you can see my feet at the bottom of the photo out of focus – normal shoes…) I only had 58 grams of this (just over 2 ounces I think) and so opted to keep it as a single.

I love the way the colours have turned out.

The second yarn that was spun up is 100% camel fibre.

I opted to chain-ply this one for a bulkier yarn.

Next I knocked over some Wensleydale.

This is feels quite itchy. It hasn’t had a bath yet, but I think this skein and the other skein I spun last year will probably become a bag.

Speaking of bags. When I was in South Africa, my friend Kerin sent me some sari silk. I looked around for a while for the perfect pattern for it. Eventually I found one, but halfway through the knitting of it I realised I didn’t have enough yarn, so I made up this little bag pattern from the top of my head.

In other news, I have quilting project paralysis. You know when you are eager to start a big project, but also a bit daunted by the prospect? I have chosen a pattern/design I want to use for Gorgeous Girl’s Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt, but the thought of all the maths I will have to do to make it work is kind of holding me in place.

Yesterday I knit a sheep’s hoof twice and pulled it back twice. Both times my fault because I can’t count, not the fault of the pattern. Perhaps tonight I need to start knitting a little earlier…

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Morris now has a body. Legs and tail to follow soon. He has a two-tone body because I didn’t have as much of the dark yarn as I thought I had…

What is that interesting fabric Morris is sitting on? I hear you ask.

Well, today is a public holiday and so Gorgeous Girl had yesterday and today off school (as you do…). Yesterday she decided she’d like to do some sewing. So we put the borders on her little quilt top.

I found the green hippo fabric in an  op-shop (thrift store) in Australia at Christmas time. It’s lime green and is from IKEA. I kept a few bits for myself, but most went into Gorgeous Girl’s stash. These pieces were already cut into strips making it perfect to just add to the quilt. The borders are starting to wave a bit, so I think it’s time to convince Gorgeous Girl that it’s big enough and we should move on to quilting. I’m going to put the walking foot on my old machine (which she now refers to as her sewing machine) and let her go for it.

A very long time ago  I won a prize from Leah. I made the doll pattern pretty much immediately, but the blog roll pattern was tucked away for a time when my sewing skills were better. Last week hunting through the fabric stash I found the pattern and decided it was time (only 4 years later) to give it a whirl. I’ve started the embroidery section.

I only know how to do back-stitch. Really should look up how to do some other stitches…

Finally, admist all the scrapbooking, I took the time to make a simple thank you card.

Fussy cut flower from scrapbook paper and a die from my SMIL. If you look very carefully you can see that I’ve used my new bottle of perfect pearls (thanks Cathi) to edge the flowers.

In other news the camel yarn is plied and just needs to be skeined and washed. (Yeah I know, my life is terribly exciting…).

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Yet more scrapbooking

My mum took this photo of Gorgeous Girl when she was visiting us in PNG last October. It really captures Gorgeous Girl well. She has a real love of the world around her.

These lakes contain very large fish that love to eat bread. On this day they weren’t feeding the fish, just looking. This is just a simple layout.

I was glad to have a layout to finally use these punched frogs on. I’ve been carrying them around for at least 8 years (guess I really shouldn’t say that publicly…) The journalling for the page forms part of the border around the page.

I’m entering this layout in the Frosted Designs Great Outdoors nature challenge.

Products used:

October Afternoon Campfire paper

DCWV Cardstock – neutrals

Forever in time floral embellishments

Words or whatever chipboard butterfly.

Thanks for looking.

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It seems my scrapbooking mojo is still with me, so I’m going to keep taking advantage of this (mainly because I printed off 175 photos while we were in Australia to add to the already large pile waiting to be scrapped).

I’m entering this layout in the Stuck?! July 15th Sketch.

This picture of Gorgeous Girl was taken in the Keukenhof Gardens in 2010, when we were visiting the Netherlands.  I used the wood veneer I won from Cathi.

Products used:

October Afternoon   Campfire paper

Studio Calico   wood veneer

DCWV 2 Matchmakers Cardstock Neutrals

Thanks for looking.

(Morris the sheep now has a very chubby body, just 4 legs to go).

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Or rather, meet Morris’ head. I’ve finished the head on my test knit for Yarn Miracle.

I opted for safety eyes rather than French knots. Only for the simple reason that I recently used safety eyes for the first time and became quite enamoured of them.

I’ve used Elle DK yarn for his face. The head and ears are from rope yarn I spun in the very early days of my spinning career. In fact I think the brown is my first ever three ply and the whiteish grey is my first ever yarn. It’s so badly spun (over spun, over plied – that’s the three ply; underspun, underplied – grey) that I thought I’d never use this yarn, but the pattern encourages the use of odd yarn and so this is perfect for it.

Knitting hides a myriad of spinning sins 😀

I have been spinning every day for the Tour de Fleece, but I’ve been very bad at taking pictures and adding them to my various groups in Ravelry.

I’m still working away on the camel.

I think I’ve spun about half of the fibre.


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I was planning on quilting my brother’s wedding quilt myself. However, it turned out bigger than I expected and I decided that a quilt for a special occasion probably wasn’t the best thing to be doing my second ever Free Motion Quilting on (especially when previous FMQ has been limited to a very small table topper)…

Now, when you live in Papua New Guinea, getting a quilt quilted by a professional requires some logistics. A quick web search of Long-arm quilters near Cairns lead me to Fiona of Quilting by Fiona. It turns out she’s in Townsville, which is a few hours drive from Cairns, so we didn’t get to meet in person. I have to say  that she was a pleasure to work with. I posted her the quilt when I arrived in Cairns and she quilted it. Since we were returning to PNG and I was worried about the quilt getting back to Cairns in time I asked Fiona to send the quilt to my Mum in Perth. She did this and then sent me some pictures so I could see what she had done.

I have permission to share her photos with you.

As you can see she very kindly squared up the quilt and made and added the binding for me also. It’s ready to be sewn down when I get to Perth in a few months time. She also makes custom labels and ours has turned out really well. I’m not showing you that one since it’s got everyone’s last names on it 😛

A close-up.

We decided on stylized hearts for the quilting.

I cannot wait to see this in person!

I overheard Gorgeous Girl having a conversation with my knitted sheep’s head this morning (it’s just a disembodied head at this stage). I’m hoping this means the finished object will be a success. Apparently the sheep thinks the ears I’ve knitted for him (but not sewn on yet) are too big…

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In August I will have been blogging for 7 years. Over that time I’ve been blessed to meet people from all over the world and some of my blog readers have become true friends.

When we got back from Cairns there was a pile of post waiting for us in the mail room (all of our post gets sent to Gorgeous Man’s work). Three of the parcels were for me (the rest was magazines for Gorgeous Man and some books from Grandma for Gorgeous Girl, but I digress).

I’ve known Kate  as an online friend since I started blogging. Recently she had a destash/clean out of some of her paper crafting stash and thought of Gorgeous Girl and put together a little package for us, lots of odds and ends for Gorgeous Girl to use in her paper crafting. (This is appreciated more than you would know as crafting supplies are hard to come by here and I usually have to plan and purchase for a few months at a time when we visit Australia).

There was also a few goodies for me. I kept the maps and the text (I now have some french text to add to my pages – it will make a change from the Chinese history book I’m deconstructing!) She also included some fabric scraps. Most of these have gone straight into my strip bin to be added to my current strip quilt in process. Thank you Kate!

Recently I won a prize on Cathi’s lovely blog. I’ve been reading her blog since 2006 and we’ve become friends, though we also haven’t managed to meet in person yet. We decided to risk sending the prize to PNG and test the postal waters. Cathi, the package had been opened and resealed, but the contents seem to be intact. I can’t wait to find some time to play with these lovely things.

Doilies, wood veneers and perfect pearls! None of which I’ve had the opportunity of playing with before. Thank you so much. Cathi also quilts and so she also few in a few scraps of black and white fabric for me (I’m slowly collecting black and white prints for a scrappy log cabin quilt I have in mind) which was greatly appreciated.

Last, but not least, a new Ravelry friend recently sent me some camel fibre to try.

It went straight onto the wheel as my second Tour de Fleece spin.

It’s told me what it wants to be when it grows up, but I’m going to wait until it’s plied to see if I need to exercise the power of veto or not. Thank you so much Mazz. 

You all should totally check out her blog. She’s in Australia and does amazing things with dyes from native Australian plants.

I’m also in the process of test knitting a sheep for Yarn Miracle. Her designs are really well thought out. I think the big difference with Emily’s designs is that she makes use of directional increases and this produces a more professional look than many of the other patterns out there. This pattern is no exception. I’m hoping to get the head stuffed tonight and then move on to knitting the body. If you don’t for some inexplicable reason  knit Emily specialises in the placement of pre-knitted companion animals. 

This shameless plug helpful information is to make up for the fact that due to being unable to download the pattern while we were away I am two weeks behind the rest of the test knitters (ahem).

I have permission from the long-arm quilter to share the photos she took of my quilt. Guess you’ll be getting a blog post tomorrow as well. Don’t keel over from the shock of regular blogging! 😀

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It’s Tour de Fleece time over at Ravelry (for non-spinners/knitters this is a spin-along that mirrors the Tour de France). I missed the first two weeks due to being away, but I’m making up for lost time now.

This is merino dyed by me way back when I first started spinning. I’ve finished spinning all of the fibre and have decided to leave it as a single, so it just needs to be washed and set.

On the subject of yarn, recently some lovely cotton (not spun or dyed by me) was turned into this.

Another view.

Pattern is Modern Mermaid. The yarn is Vinnis Colours Nikkim.

Before we left for Australia I sat down and made some cards. Here are some that I’m particularly pleased with.

I love how this turned out and it’s made from scraps. The brown came from my friend Kerin and is left over from my Zambia mini-album, the flower decoration came from SMIL and the green is the last remnant of a very old piece of paper. Tag is hand crafted from a tiny scrap I had in the scrapbox. I love it when things come together.

A fair while ago my friend Kerin spent some time punching circles from her scraps for me. She gave me a vast array of patterns and sizes when I visited her and I’ve been slowly using them up.

Card number one.

Circles and hand-drawn elements. Then I took it a step further

and added some hand drawn petals for the second card.

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We’ve just arrived home from two lovely weeks in Cairns. We rented a little unit (under the flight path) not far from the beach, we were mostly disconnected from the internet and had time to just relax and spend time together as a family. I also went shopping for fabric for my hexagon quilt, and backing fabric for my brother’s quilt. I posted the quilt top and backing fabric off to the long-arm quilter. She is mailing it to my Mum in Western Australia, so I don’t get to see it in person until September. The photos she’s sent through look fabulous though.

It’s interesting taking Gorgeous Girl back to Australia for holidays as she gets to do things that children living in Australia take for granted. She was happy to eat MacDonalds and sushi – we even purchased a sushi maker to attempt to recreate her favourites at home. We also took her along to local shopping centres so she could take part in the free school holiday activities on offer.

It’s winter in Cairns at the moment. The first week we had pretty good weather.

But a lot of days were kind of cloudy with some rain (I even got to wear a jacket – very exciting for this person from the tropics 😀 ).

On this cloudy day Gorgeous Girl and Gorgeous Man dug for clams.

Then popped them in a bucket of water and watched them open up. Love having a naturalist in the family.

I also love this photo I snapped of Gorgeous Girl.

Expect to see it scrapbooked at some stage.

One thing that we really miss is public play areas. So I spent a lot of time sitting and watching Gorgeous Girl do things like this,

and this

and this.

Have I mentioned my child is fearless?

Of course sitting in parks meant that there was lots of time for me to work on my hand-pieced hexagon quilt.

I’ve increased my stack quite a bit and now need to start working these into the main body of the quilt. I also finished a lace scarf, but it needs to be be blocked before having it’s blog debut.

One last photo which sums up the holiday.

Me taking photos of Gorgeous Girl while Gorgeous Man confirms his latest bird sighting.

My foot held up pretty well. There was really only one day that I had a lot of pain and that was after spending several hours on my feet at Kuranda. I found some fabulous yarn and fibre in a little market stall up there. Gorgeous Man has purchased some and put it away for my birthday.

While we were away three lovely packages for me arrived, but they deserve a blog post of their own. I also have some cards I made before I left and a knitted scarf to show you.


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