Saturday, October 31, 2009

For me dressing a doll is a bit like eating icecream - I find it difficult to stop. Fortunately time has set the rules here as dolly had to be ready by this coming week. Here she is with her layette. I was lucky enough to find a piece of knit fabric in our op-shop that will serve as a blanket and bound with some taffeta cut into bias binding strips it looks the part. After all these years I still have trouble getting bias binding right. Note to self: its stretched on the inward curve and eased on the outward curve. I think I've got it at last.
Unless it's especially required, I never bother with fiddly set-in sleeves as I find the maygar style bodice pleases children just as well and is actually easier to put on the doll. So long as it looks pretty children are easy to please - and much though I dislike it I have used Velcro for the closers as press-studs or buttons could present a choking problem for small children. The pink hat is actually a bit big so I am making another a little smaller. The doll is 40cms long so both the bootees and hats are a suitable size for a prem baby - if you're interested in the bootee pattern, here it is:
I knit loosely, so if you don't you may want to use a bigger size of needles but I used size 3.25mm (old size 10) with 3 ply yarn at 15 sts over 5cms.

Cast on 25 stitches - First row: Knit twice into the first stitch, knit 10, knit twice into the next stitch, Knit 1, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 9, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1.
Second and all alternate rows: knit.
Third row: Knit twice into the first stitch, knit 12, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 11, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1.
Fifth row: Knit twice into the first stitch, knit 14, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 13, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1.
Seventh row: Knit twice into the first stitch, knit 16, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 15, knit twice into the next stitch, knit 1. (41 sts. on needle.)
Knit 5 rows garter stitch. (Knit every row)
To turn toe: Knit to the last 18 stitches, knit two together, turn work.
Next row: Slip the first stitch knitways, knit 5, knit two together, turn work.
Repeat the last row until 27 stitches remain. Knit to the end of the row.
Next row: Knit increasing into the first and last stitch to make 29 stitches.
Next row make ribbon holes: Knit 1 (bring yarn forward, knit 2 together), repeat instructions in brackets all along the row.
Finish bootee by knitting rib of l plain, l purl for 2 cms or desired length. 4cms makes a fold down top.
If you don't like rib just knit the same length in garter stitch.
To make up: Sew up back and foot seam (I use over sew to make a flat seam.) If you're making a fold down cuff, reverse the seam for the first 2 cms so that it will not show on the outside.
I crochet a cord about 40cms long using the yarn double and a size 4mm hook, to thread through the ribbon holes but for the doll I just use some narrow elastic.
I hope you have fun making them if you decide to have a try. Bye for now until next time.

Note: I have edited this post since yesterday in the hope of making these instructions easier to follow. Cheers :)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Any Excuse

A friend is collecting together a barrow load of goodies for a fund raising effort that he's running and so I jumped at the chance to dress this baby doll for him. (I never did grow out of dolls) Here she is (yes she's a girl) in her singlet & nappy waiting for the rest of her clothes to be finished. I love to make several pieces of clothing so that the new little owner can change the baby, so there are a couple of dresses, jackets, jammies, bootees & hats coming up. Almost done except for a few finishing touches. I can't knit the jackets for this doll because those fingers will get caught in the knit and drive a poor child into screams of frustration. The best kind of hands for a play doll to have are little fists - so much easier for a child to dress. I wish manufacturers would realise that. Anyway I've made the jackets out of some stretch towelling - courtesy of our lovely op-shop's fabric odments box and I think they'll be satisfactory. Gotta go, hand sewing to be done. Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Visitor

Just as I hoped, there is another baby magpie on the scene. Here he is waiting for Mum or Dad to feed him. If only his parents would come and gather up some of the snails I come across when I weed my garden. I could provide the poshest French cuisine just from my pot plants alone. But no, they dig up my lovely worms - big fat ones - and I wince every time I see another one being dragged from it's comfy hole. I used to make myself late for school when I was little, rescuing drowning worms from rain puddles (you could walk to school in those days) or picking them off hot pavement and popping them into grassy spots. Never mind, little magpies have to eat. Spent the morning weeding the pots (and feeding the mosquitoes) which only showed up how much re-potting I should be doing. Its all go, isn't it?
Must go now, Penny needs a walk. Hope your week- end was a good one. Bye for now, until next time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Some strange washing?

It's not every day you see furniture hanging from a clothes line but this is how the toymakers at our woodworking club cope with the problem of getting our painted toys dry. There's never enough room in the painting shed and many's the time I've backed into wet paint and come off second best. Then someone came up with this bright idea and it works. They're dolls beds and little helicopters hanging up and some doll's cradles in the background. It's all go, at the moment, to get all the toys finished for the end-of-year giveaway event. Back at home I've still got to get the flower decorations on the doll's prams. Really must get my act together.
Bye for now, until next time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Finished at last.

Both of my grandsons have grown past the stage of wearing Nana's knits. Though they'd never say so they are much too cool for knitted sweaters. Even their woolly caps are a special kind. The last time I made a jumper for them, one had Thomas the Tank Engine on it and the other a teddy bear flying an aeroplane. (they were 3 yrs old) So these days I spend my time knitting blankets for whichever needy cause is most prominent at the time. I must say I enjoy making blankets as they don't require much mental effort - shaping etc. and as I'm probably the most lazy knitter I know, I dodge sewing up too. I usually pick up stitches along the edge of one square and knit the end of each row into the adjacent square as I go. Sometimes I do the diagonal decrease in the centre of each alternate row that turns straight knitting into a square. I'm lucky to have a really good op-shop near home where I am able to pick up odments of wool at good prices. I try to use wool wherever possible as some countries cook on open fires and wool is the safer option. I've learned to recognise wool in two ways - one is the smell when the yarn is washed (quite distinctive) and the other is to pass the end of a strand of the yarn through the flame of a candle, quickly extinguishing the burning end and allowing it to cool. Burnt wool will crumble to ash and leave the yarn clean whereas acrylic or nylon will form a hard blob where it was burnt.
Anyway, this one's finished at last and I think I might start on some baby knitteds next, one of our neighbours is to have a baby in a few weeks. Also I have another doll to knit for. Better get cracking. Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Penny's visit

Since our dear, much loved Kelpie cross died many years ago we haven't had the heart to own another dog but I get my doggy fix every now and again by dog-sitting Penny & Pepper. Pepper you've already met, Penny is a border collie that is owned by a friend of ours who is off for a week on the South coast of NSW. Penny is very patient with me - puts up with all my soppy doggy talk and hugs and allows me to throw a ball around the back garden for her. She's a funny thing, I can't take her for a walk on my own, she gets very distressed if the man of the house doesn't come too. Once, after her repeated attempts to turn back for home, I actually had to take her right back into the house so that she could see for herself that the man of the house was not there. She was OK after that. Penny is very obedient and well behaved, she just has this thing about leaving one of us at home. She won't go without me either and keeps checking to make sure we're all together when we take her for a walk. Pepper, on the other hand, couldn't care two hoots, so long as he gets his walk. Just like humans, they're all different.
Anyway it's time for that walk so off we go. Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Baby

The baby magpie has come to visit at last. All round and fluffy and gripping the branch in a very wobbly fashion. He doesn't know I won't hurt him so without a better camera I can't get any closer than this. That's him - that little blob of grey and white up there among the leaves. There will be another along soon as I can still hear squeaking from the nest and they usually produce more than one baby per season. Without interference he/she can be expected to live for about 20 years.
All the crocheting that is happening at present has got me inspired. Ferreting about in my old books today I have found a pattern from the seventies for a granny square hat. (I love my mess) I think I'll try it out. Watch this space.
Bye for now until next time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Weeping buckets

Not the buckets weeping - me. Well actually just a surreptitious little tear now and again. You see, we have a niece who is a trauma nurse and she, along with several other Intensive Care nurses have put together a book, compiled and edited by Tilda Shalof, of essays describing a day in the lives of each of them. Our niece sent us a copy and I have been reading, enthralled. The battle they face to save the life of each patient defies my understanding. I don't know how they can do the work they do but I'm awfully glad they do it. Sometimes they win and, of course, sometimes the battle is lost and they feel each defeat keenly. Aren't they wonderful? May whatever Supreme Power it is that guides them continue to do so with the richest of blessings.
Raining buckets today - Oo it is luvly - our tanks are overflowing.
Bye for now until next time.

Special Anniversary

We've just arrived back from East Gippsland where we were visiting old friends. Lovely to see the area looking so green and lots of dams full, water laying in lots of hollows in the paddocks. Not a very special look for our more Northerly Aussies as they have had flooding earlier in the year but for we parched Victorians every little drop of rain is precious.
The special Anniversary? The man of the house has been in Australia for 50 years yesterday it slipped by without us even noticing. The anniversary of the most important day of my life.
Bye for now until next time

Monday, October 12, 2009

Isn't this pretty? Joe, one of the woodworkers at the Woodworker's Club that the man of the house and I belong to, made this little wheelbarrow using a scroll saw machine. Joe has an exceptionally delicate touch and turns out lots of beautiful work. I've got to tell you that every one of those lacey holes is cut by removing the saw blade from the machine, threading it up through a drilled hole in the work, re-fixing the blade in place, cutting the hole then doing the same thing over and over until the lacework is done. You can go mad doing that sort of thing and you need a lot of patience. And I should also tell you that the whole thing is only about 20cms long by about 12cms high. Beautiful job, Joe.
Our daughter took us out to lunch today to celebrate the birthday of the man of the house. Lovely grub and no dishes to wash so I enjoyed his birthday too, lucky me.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Just For Fun

One of the fun things about reaching my senior years is the fact that I can do nutty things and get away with it. In fact its almost expected of one. So here is one of my nutty things. Being a knittaholic I accumulate an awful lot of wool ends. Sure I use them to stuff cushions and soft toys but just for fun I decided to join them all together (the pieces of about 30cms and over) and knit them up into a blanket. I push the knots to one side of the fabric leaving one side smooth the other fluffy and there it is, a nice cosy rug. I knit it on big needles and in strips of about 45 cms wide then sew them together when they get to about 180cms long. I left about 25cms of the seam unsewn in the centre of the first two strips that I put together so that It can be worn as a poncho while I watch telly though the man of the house usually grabs it for that. I don't care if anyone thinks I'm nuts because its fun and its warm and I'm using up waste wool. Daughter & grandsons visiting today so I gotta go. Bye until next time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day of Surprises.

No pics today. Have spent the morning tidying (long overdue). The man of the house calls me a "messy pup" which, considering the age bracket I fit into, is very kind of him. So the silence of the morning has been punctuated from time to time with shouts of "Ahah! So that's where that got to." Untidy people live a very exciting life as we're always coming across pleasant surprises in the form of something we were sure we had lost. I keep meaning to improve but I never have. "Turn Over A New Leaf" was the term my second grade schoolteacher used to use. That one kept me in a quandary for some years as I never could work out where the leaf was that I had to turn over or what it had to do with my mess.
Anyway, a cup of coffee and then back to work I think. Wonder what I'll find next? Bye for now until next time.

One good turn.

Wouldn't you know I'd get it wrong. Yesterday's blog was supposed to start with the waving hand at the top but I forgot that you have to load the pictures backwards. Note to self: write things down so you don't forget them and keep trying.
Anyway, I'm spinning today - not the kind that makes you giddy but the spinning wheel kind. I promised my sister that I'd spin the combings from her little pomeranian dog's coat into knitting yarn. Now before you start advising the man of the house that he should book a nice padded cell for me I must warn you that I've done it before - spinning dog hair that is. Some dogs, (the spitz variety) have a double coat that consists of long outer hair and a softer fuzz close to the skin that keeps them warm in Winter and sheds in the Summer. The fuzz is good to spin and makes a lovely soft, washable yarn. Once its washed there is no doggy smell and its incredibly warm. Our daughter's beautiful Samoyed, unimaginatively named Sam, comes under the spitz heading and sheds great bags full of fuzz everytime he is brushed. Here's one of the scarves that I have make from the yarn that his fur makes. If you can stand mohair and angora you could tolerate doggy yarn as it has pretty much the same sneeze value. Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not waving, drowning.

Drowning in a sea of weeds, menaced by marauding mosquitoes (cue theme music for Jaws - Da dum, da dum, da dum.) Fighting a losing battle with all the aches and pains to prove it. There are some compensations, however; daisies put on a show no matter how I neglect them. Even the poor orchid valiantly defies the slugs. Oh well, onwards and upwards. I'll get at the weeds again tomorrow. Bye for now until next time.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Potato Boston Bun

This is especially for the man of the house - its one of his favourites - no butter in it you see, that means he can eat more of it. (his reasoning not mine). I usually make it with left over mashed potato (no onion or pepper) but if you want to start from scratch I find that one good sized potato is plenty. I cook the potato in the microwave for about 4 minutes then mash it with a potato masher. Here's the recipe if you'd like it:

1/2 cup each of mashed potato, caster sugar, milk, dried fruit (I use sultanas)
1 cup of self raising flour. (I mix wholemeal & white)
Beat the sugar & potato together until they are creamy (I use an electric beater)
Stir in the remaining ingredients until well combined.
Pour mixture into a 7 inch (18cms) sandwich pan and bake at 180 for 35 to 40 mins. Test with a skewer as for a normal cake.
I ice it with vanilla flavoured icing and sprinkle the top with coconut. I put about a teaspoon of melted butter in the icing as I find it holds its shape better, but of course that's optional.
It's yummy spread with butter but nice without if you're watching your colesterol.
You can bake it in a loaf pan for probably the same length of time but I've never done that so I can't say how long it takes.
After two hours pulling weeds yesterday you can't even see where I've been so I'll be back at it today. Ah Spring. Bye for now until next time.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The man of the house has been working at his wood-lathe and here is the result. At first he said it was a cake stand for someone who is on a diet but then he decided to make this teensy bird for it, so now it is a bird bath for very tiny birds. It was made from a couple of nice little pieces of wood that he didn't want to throw away. Woodworkers can be quite miserly with their bits of wood; every little scrap must be looked at twice before it goes into the fire to keep us warm. It can be quite embarrassing to go walking with them as you never know what they will pick up and bring home with them - old, discarded fence posts, builders offcuts - its all fair game.
It's not raining at present so I'm off to the garden to pull some knee high weeds. Bye for now, until next time.