Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Mainly fine...

At the risk of this turning completely into a whingey weather obsessed blog....

We here in our air conditioned, black balloon producing 19th floor office are obsessed with checking the Bureau of Meteorology site for both the current observations and the forecast.

Here is the latest forecast issued at 4.45pm AEDT.

Forecast for Wednesday evening:
Humid with a few showers and local thunderstorms about the outer north and east,clearing tonight. The chance of heavy rainfall, large hail and damaging winds with the thunderstorms at first. Light to moderate southerly winds.
Precis: Mainly fine.

See that last line? "Mainly fine" - after warning of the chance of large hail and damaging winds.

The mind boggles.

Birthday presents

Mum liked her quilt:
Plain Spoken presentation

Secret sock knitting: (Pattern is Basic Cabled Socks)
t2 socks detail

The result of secret sock knitting. T2 modelled his birthday socks (well - one of them - it was too hot to make him wear both):
t2 socks modelled

Monday, 19 February 2007

I am weak...

ripple01, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

Must..... ripple.

Cannot resist the temptation to..... ripple.

Jane and Alicia have much to answer for.

I found my ripple pattern in my copy of The Great Afghan Book.

Sunday, 18 February 2007

Fabric stash enhancement

nepalese fabrics, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

My parents have been staying with me this week (this afternoon is the big birthday bash) and on Thursday we caught up with a friend of mum's who does a lot of travelling in Asia. Nepal is her most recent destination. She's got involved in fundraising to help a local school there and so she has made several trips there recently.

She said she had a wonderful time choosing these fabrics. Apparently the first and third from the left are particularly Nepalese and these prints are seen a lot in that area. There's about a metre of each fabric, so there's plenty of options for making a project.

Today (and yesterday) is stinking hot - 38 C. I'm hoping the party which is up in the mountains (although they're not a patch on the Himalayas) might be a little bit cooler. Roll on the cool change. Roll on autumn.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

Recently noticed....

Keep Calm and Carry On prints. Spotted at Apartment Therapy. I've got myself one from here.

Crumpler Bags - These are very popular here in Melbourne - I don't know about anywhere else. I love that they show how many beer bottles or six-packs fit in a bag to give an indication of its size.

Crocheted Ripple Blankets - Jane (and a another one here) and Alicia are leading the way. These look like such fun. I especially like Alicia's couch potato story which goes with her rippling.

Monday, 12 February 2007

Mariner's Compass Bag

Mariners bag front 02, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I blogged about this bag when it was in progress. Now it is finished and I can remove another long time squatter from the WIP list. Click through to my Flickr stream to see a couple of different angles.
Looking at this photo, it looks to need a good iron. Perhaps when it's full of stuff (like any bag should be) it won't look so forlorn. I made this into a shoulder bag with one long strap that I can sling on across my body. I have slopey shoulders that bags (and bra straps) always seem to fall off if I just try and carry them loose on one shoulder.
The lining is pieced from scraps leftover from the Mossy Variation piecing. The colours clash quite considerably with the outside, but I think that adds to the fun of the piece.
A big thank you to Weeks Ringle from the Whip Up team who provided the initial suggestions for how I could make use of this Mariner's Compass block which had looked destined for a half life as a white elephant in my sewing box.

Saturday, 10 February 2007


cuff 04, originally uploaded by Paisley Womble.

I remember noticing these when Lisa over at Bird in the Hand posted a whole series of these on Flickr about six months ago. You can find her lovely work here:
Today I got a bee in my bonnet about these and made a couple for myself. Mine ended up a bit narrower so I've only used one button. They were very quick and surprisingly satisfying although I would need to make a lot if I were to make a real dent in the tiny-fabric-scraps stash.
I've also finished the Mariner's Compass Bag today but Flickr is having a little fit of apoplexy and is taking forever to load the photos, so will have to blog that one later.

Monday, 5 February 2007

Hands up who's sick of summer...

SouleMama wrote a post a couple of days ago about the February Funk. Although our hemispheres are reversed, I can identify with her sentiments.

February is our last official month of Summer and can generally be relied on to have it's fair share of stinkers when it's just too hot to do anything - even just sit outside.

The idea of some cooler weather is very enticing. The summer wardrobe is getting pretty boring. Some winter layering is sounding so much more interesting. Some bulky winter knitting seems like fun. Snuggling under the doona with a hot water bottle is just a dream at the moment. Even the cricket is getting pretty boring (Australia have won all but one of their international matches this summer).

Some rain might be nice as well.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

Plain Spoken

My mum and my aunt were born 10 years and 5 days apart. This February sees them celebrate their 60th and 70th birthdays respectively and the family is having a big birthday bash. Aunty M's quilt is a surprise for her, but Mum made it clear that she wanted a quilt and gave me some ideas of what she wanted. (link to old post on taking orders).
Plain Spoken is the result.
Plain Spoken 01

The pattern is from The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr with the following modification. Mum wanted the quilt to fit their big new bed so I was faced with making a big queen sized quilt. The original finished block sizes were 1" x 7" and 3" x 7". I felt that in a really big quilt, blocks this size would look a bit too busy for the effect that I was trying to create. So I set my block sizes to be 3" x 12" and 6" x 12".
Plain Spoken 03

I knew I wanted to hand-quilt the project but I was also aware that I had a deadline so I thought about hand-quilting techniques that would be quicker than my usual quilting style. I had seen some almost naif style running stitch hand-quilting done by Kaffe Fassett on one his quilts and I thought that technique might suit my purposes. In order to test this before commencing on the full quilt, I made a couple of cushions which would match.
Plain Spoken cushion 01Plain Spoken cushion 02

The quilting is done with stranded embroidery thread. Two strands together in a running stitch. The design is random straight lines running at a 45 degree angle to the piecing.
Plain Spoken 02

Vital Statistics:
Dimensions - 84" x 90" (213cm x 228cm)
Machine Pieced
Hand-quilted (wool blend batting)
Completed January 2007

Mossy Variation

A quick correction to the previous post - my head was saying Gumnut, but the pattern in the magazine is actually the Gumleaf Lace Shawl. I think I will still call it the gumnut shawl - I think that the little motif is more gumnutty than gumleafy so I'm sticking with the nut.

A similar confusion developed with Aunty M's Birthday quilt which I can now present in its completed state.
Mossy Variation 01

I first spotted this pattern on Kaffe Fassett's web site which showed a photo of the Mossy Radiation quilt (from his book Quilt Road) and offered kits for sale. Somewhere along the line I remembered the quilt title as Mossy Variation instead and the title has stuck for this piece. Especially since it is my own variation.
Mossy Variation 02

I'm not really one for making quilts from pre-packaged kits as I think choosing your own fabric is an important part of making the quilt your own. Based on the photo, I drafted a rough diagram, with a few modifications (such as changing the central panel from a four patch to a nine patch) and started going through my fabric stash to decide on colours. I knew that greens were going to play a major part, but decided that I also wanted to incorporate some of the pinky/purpley fabrics from my stash.
I have no recollection of where the border fabric came from. I can't imagine that it was a fabric I would have bought myself, so I guess that it was salvaged or gifted from someone. I had quite a generous quantity of it and it seemed to tie the quilt together quite effectively.
Mossy Variation 03

The decision to make the quilt octagonal came when I getting ready to cut the fabrics for the third round of strip-pieced triangles. It was a practical decision as much as anything else. Very few of the pieces from my stash were going to be long enough to make the strip piece wide enough for the triangles. That was when the thought occurred to me that I could slash off the corners and make the quilt octagonal. Then it really would be a variation.
Mossy Variation backing

Vital Statistics:
Dimensions: 59" x 59" (150cm x 150cm)
Machine pieced.
Hand-quilted (wool blend batting)
Completed: November 2006

Woodland Gumnuts

I told myself that I would try lace knitting (knitted lace? I know there's a difference, but can't remember which is which) this year as a new challenge. (NB: not a resolution - a challenge...) So when I saw that Purl Yarns had got in a new shipment of Handmaiden yarns, including what sounded like the deliciously soft Seasilk, I grabbed me a skein in the Woodland colourway.
seasilk skein

A tangle-free play with my ball winder confirmed that this yarn feels heavenly and so soft next to the skin.
seasilk ball

And I've made a start on the Gumnut Shawl pattern from the most recent issue of Yarn Magazine.

gumnut begins

The pattern repeat is pretty easy to memorize and I haven't had to frog back anything yet. I think this pattern was probably a good choice for a starter-shawl - a bit of lacework for interest, but not too many things to remember. The repeat is only 6 rows and half of them are plain knitting. Within each row, the pattern repeats over 6 stitches so that's pretty simple too. As an added bonus, I get to use some of my stitch markers that I made from when I was knitting Clapotis.
gumnut detail

Speaking of which, I'm toying with the idea of making another Clapotis. For some strange reason, I made my first clap in this lurid jade green colour in a yarn that is so slippery that wearing the clap as a wrap (on the odd occasion that the jade colour doesn't completely clash with my outfit) is pretty much impossible. So I'm contemplating perhaps just making the scarf version with a more considered colour choice. I'm a lot more au fait with the alternative yarn options out there now than I was two years ago when the blog was just a twinkle in my eye.