Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Patches galore.

Today I'm singing the praises of the Pakenham Patchworkers & Quilters. These are the talented and generous women who dress the dolls beds & cradles that we woodworkers give away each year. Please pardon me if my hero worship is showing but I am always overawed by the work they do. This year they gave us 100 beautifully worked patchwork quilts, some of which I have pictured here, as well as little mattresses and pillows to go with them. If that isn't enough to keep their busy fingers going they also gave 56 full size quilts to a local welfare group that rehouses the homeless, many of whom are fleeing from abusive relationships. Then there are the 110 quilts for the newborn section of one of our big hospitals. And to add to that lot there was a whole swag of knitted blankets, dresses, jackets, bootees and hats for the newborns plus 60 little teddies. Small wonder I am staggered by their industry. I wonder how they find time to make quilts for their own families' pleasure, but they do that too. Well done ladies.
Today is the first day of Summer in my corner of the world; we're being threatened with a wet one which will be a novelty after about 13 years of drought. It's also perilously close to another birthday for me. I'm reversing the numbers this year - they sound better that way.
I'm off now to finish some sewing I started yesterday, then some baking I think.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Clever Denis

Denis, one of the woodworkers, has made a train. Not one of the usual type of toy trains that we toy makers make, but something much more elaborate. Have a look for yourself. This one is about 14 inches or 36 cms long, has all the bells & whistles (well, not whistles exactly, but it does have a bell) of a real model train. I really like model train sets. I can't resist the little tunnels, miniature houses with lights, pretend people, ducks on ponds, cars and vans, you know the thing. Denis has one of those too, with which he and his grandson play. Lucky grandson. I'm a bit blown away by this one because it's all cut from wood and fitted together so that all the parts work. Now I enjoy the challenge of a complicated knitting or crochet pattern, but, as I said, Denis's train blows me away. There is an awful lot of little pieces to put together and Denis tells me that it isn't finished yet. Clever Denis.
Next Sunday is our big day at Woodworkers. We have about 600 toys to give away and the representatives of the local community welfare groups that are to receive them will join us at a social gathering where we will hand the toys over. There will be the local Children's Choir to sing for us too. It's always a lovely afternoon. Like Santa, we've checked everything twice. All we need now is nice weather. Here's hoping.
Gotta go now; catch up with you again later. Bye for now until next time.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Just in time

I've been knitting like mad to get this baby blanket finished in time for a special charity event. My arthritic thumb complains but I employ the 'use it or lose it' philosophy and stick at it, holding the work in a different position to prevent aggravating the joint. The problem thumb is one of the reasons that I knit garter stitch so often as, for me, it uses less movement than the purl stitch. Fortunately I really like garter stitch.
I tried several edging stitches in both knitting and crochet but, in the end, I like the picot best. I knit the squares by picking up the stitches along the edge of the previously done one, and join them to the next one with a slip stitch as I go. It's no secret that I dislike 'sewing up' and dodge it as often as I can.
Next effort is to be a fair isle jumper (sweater) for a child. Done on a circular needle I can avoid the purl stitch for most of it. I'm not brave enough to tackle steeks.
My lovely dentist fixed my tooth today - bless him. You can bet I'll be really careful with almonds in future.
The man of the house has been baking and I can't bear to sit here any longer while those tantalising smells drift my way. I'm off for a cuppa and one of his coconut bikkies (that's cookies for our US and Canadian friends)
By for now until next time

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Surfacing to bake

Putting the newsletter together for the woodworkers, has, as usual, kept me out of blogging action for the past week. At last it's out of the way and I can concentrate on other things. Of course it's time to bake the Christmas cake that my family will share at Christmas time. Being the lazy thing that I am I'd happily go out and buy one; the Lions cake that is baked for charity would be my choice, but our grandson has a nut alergy and I daren't. He really enjoys fruit cake and so I roll up my sleeves and do the proper Granny thing and make one that I know he can eat. This cake is just a Dundee fruit cake which, after keeping for the weeks that remain until Christmas, should be delicious. I removed the nuts from the recipe and substituted chopped, dried apricots of the same weight. It is usually successful.
I use my dear old scales that my Nana gave us for a wedding present 49 years ago. They're still doing the job and they have the lovely advantage of being marked out in both metric and imperial measurements, so I don't have problems with recipes using either. Of course I'd like a nice new set of fancy digital scales but I couldn't bear to part with Nana's gift.
Hope you had a lovely weekend. It rained buckets here - typical Melbourne Spring but the heat will get here soon enough and then I'll really have something to moan about.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I don't mean to put you off your breakfast, but I was enjoying mine on Saturday morning when it became obvious that something was not quite as it should be. Investigation revealed that I had broken a tooth. My teeth have been around for a long time and I suppose they're getting a bit tired of the things I ask them to chomp on. This time it was a few raw almonds - really good for me, but not for my tired teeth. Fortunately the damage has not resulted in toothache as it is really difficult to get in to see my dentist even for an emergency. Goodness knows how I'd get on if I were rolling about the floor in agony. Well I'm not so I'll just have to put up with the jagged edge for a couple of weeks until I can keep the appointment to have it fixed.
Meantime I am enjoying the child's sweater I have finished. Stripes are a good way to use up a quantity of wool that is insufficient for a garment but this time I thought I'd turn the stripes into fair isle. I made the design small in order to avoid long floaters at the back of the work, and wove them in after each 2 stitches. I'm quite pleased with it. It's destined for a charity that I knit for so I'll never see it on its wearer - half the fun of knitting I think. Anyway just the knowledge that it will keep some small person warm is a pleasant thought.
My lovely bloke has just brought me a cup of tea so I'll say bye for now until next time.