Saturday, October 30, 2010

A sword of a different kind.

Bob the woodworker has made another of his replicas. This one is a sword and sheath and is actually full size (about one metre long). The sheath is lined with velvet to prevent damage to the sword as it is withdrawn and the whole set is decorated with little silver stickers which don't show up very well here. I had to stand on a chair in order to get a complete picture and you can see the grubby marks on the clubroom carpet where someone has spilled something. They're a loveable but messy bunch, these blokes, and a messy carpet is the least of their worries - however, if we run out of milk at morning tea time a riot is pretty well guaranteed to ensue. You've got to get your priorities right, I'm told.
We Victorians have just had our wettest October since 1975 and for the most part we are very thankful, except for Penny, the border collie that we are dog-sitting, who made her protests known at 1.30 am this morning. She's a dear old lady is Penny, very well behaved and uncomplaining so when she started, everso politely, to yap at the aforementioned indecent hour I thought I'd better investigate. She had, of course, been out in the rain, which worries her not, until she decided to go back to bed in her kennel and take her soaking coat with her, then the thought of the warm, dry indoors was just too much for her good mannered self. So, after a good towelling off (well what else did I have to do at that hour of the morning?) she spent the rest of the night in our laundry room. If the rain continues tonight I won't even bother to put her out in her enclosure. You're a Mum forever, you know, even if it's only to an arthritic old dog.
The sun's peeping through at the moment - that'll be nice for a while.
Bye for now until next time.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Clever fingers

Some people are so clever it's breathtaking. This beautiful rug was created somewhere back in the 70s or 80s by a brilliant craftswoman called Mary Strecker. This picture was published in the McCall's Book of Aphgans in 1980. I've had a look on Google and found that you can only get hold of these out-of-print magazines through dealers. I am so glad to have this little treasure.
I love the way the colours have been used to create the pattern although the stitch seems to be fairly simple - single crochet and double crochet (American terms). The rug measures 42" x 64" that's a little over a metre by about one-and-a-half. The quantity of yarn is, in total, 12 four ounce balls of 4 ply (American) Since I'm mathmatically challenged I'll leave you to work that one out but I think it's a bit over one-and-a-quarter kilos. It sufficeth to say that it's a heck of a lot of yarn and must have taken forever to work. The cushion takes only one ball of each colour. I must say I'm considerably daunted by the enormity of the task but if I were to try my hand at it the cushion would probably be my limit.
I'd better be off now; sunshine and a whole lot of weeds waiting to be pulled from my garden beckon.
Hope a great weekend is coming your way. Bye for now until next time.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Over the years I've collected an awful lot of craft books and magazines that I just can't bear to throw out. Sometimes I get really good, look at the things in some of the mags and say "Nah. I'm never going to make that." and employing great strength of will, send the mag to the op-shop. Not often enough, which means my stash of mags and books far outweighs the time it would take for me to make even half of the things I would like.
Anyway, thumbing through some of the said mags yesterday I turned up this picture and thought some of our crocheting bloggers might like to see it. Just a cute idea for a granny square. It's from a McCall's craft magazine published in 1980. Maybe I'll get time to try this one out before Christmas.
Gotta go now, we're dog-sitting Penny the border collie again and it's time for her dinner. Bye for now until next time. P.S. I'll post another picture as soon as I get a chance.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A bear's tale.

Once there was a lovely, sunny golden, woolly sweater that had seen too many trips to the wash tub and had become a little thickened. The sweater's owner decided to take it to the op-shop where it ended up in a basket of woollies suitable for dog's bedding. Then along came a woman who just loves to work embroidery on thickened woollies and turn them into something else: hot water bottle covers, cushions, tote bags, pin cushions, the list goes on. This time the woman looked at the sweater and thought, "That would make a lovely teddy bear." and so the sweater went home with her. Sorry doggies, the next sweater can be for you.
The bear was made up with the wrong side outside as the fabric looked better that way. He was cut out using a paper pattern and sewn up on a sewing machine with polyester thread because that has some stretch and won't snap easily. He is stuffed with fibre fill which the woman just happened to pick up at the op-shop on a previous trip. His eyes are safety eyes but could just as easily be embroidered on as is his nose and mouth. The pattern is one that was put out by Tonia Todman several years ago.
There was enough of the sweater left to make another teddy plus a couple of pin cushions, which the woman is going to enjoy embroidering with flowers, and a pot-holder for the kitchen. The remaining scraps can be used to stuff the pincushions. Wool is really good for pincushions as steel needles & pins inserted in it won't rust.
It's a magnificent day here in Melbourne today. Hope you are enjoying yours wherever you are. Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

That time of year again

I can't believe our toy making year is almost over again. Everyone at the woodworking club is frantically painting and finishing to get our toys ready for our big give-away day in early December. I keep promising myself I'll take some real lessons in folk-art but each year goes by and I haven't done so. The problem is finding the time for lessons. I know, I know, I have the same amount of hours in a day as DaVinci and Michelangelo, but perhaps they didn't spend most of their time knitting. I've found that I can get away with a few daubs of colour that sort of look like flowers and until someone tells me I'm doing a crummy job I guess that's what I'll continue to do.
That's our breakfast room that's doubling as an art studio. The light's better there and that old table has taken some punishment over the years. Solid as a rock and as heavy as lead (OK I'm exaggerating) it's been a kid's cubby house, sailing boat, dressmaking stand to name a few so a few smears of paint are unlikely to upset it.
There are my cotton reels behind the pram. I finally got round to drilling the holes down their centre today, nails come next and then they'll be ready for action as little knitting Nancies.
Hope your weekend was a good one. Rained like mad here. Filling our state's dams up nicely. Almost 50% full now.
Bye for now until next time.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Burning ambition

We had a talk on pyrography at our Woodworkers Club meeting last week, and I had a try at decorating this little trug using my pyrography kit. The man of the house delights in calling it my 'pyromania'. The trug is only about 30cms (12 inches) long and is actually one of the little kits that we cut out for children to make up (with our help) but it's very useful for holding knitting or crochet paraphanalia so I made one for myself. I copied the floral spray from a book that I have on folk art and it came out surprisingly well. I'm committed now so I'll have to finish it off. I might put a little colour on the design, I haven't decided yet. Imagine - this sort of art used to be accomplished using a poker held in hot coals. It must have been extremely difficult to do. I doubt that I'd have had the patience. It's a good way to decorate a bit of plain wood when you can draw or even if you can't; there's always good old carbon tracing paper which makes an artist out of anyone. You can get some simple designs from all sorts of places: gift wrapping paper, birthday cards, children's colouring books. You can let your imagination run riot because there doesn't seem to be an 'overdone' switch.
Gotta go now, it's newsletter time again. Bye for now until next time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Feral UFOs

The problem with stashes is that they can be difficult to control - or mine is anyway. Yarn purchased because I just can't resist the colour or price gets tucked away until I can find a use for it. Of course the cupboard gets too full so then various boxes and other hidey holes come into play. You need a really good memory for this kind of stashing, or else a very good filing system. Guilty Your Honour; I have neither, so when, inspired by all the lovely work I see when I go blog hopping, I went looking for the baby shawl I started yonks ago, a shameful shock awaited me. UFOs, WIPs, and WWTBS (that last one is 'work waiting to be started) are threatening to take over my place. I spent a good hour, sorting them into some kind of order, but really it was merely an exercise in moving the deckchairs on the Titanic. The iceberg didn't get any smaller. So here are just a few. The patchwork is the present WIP, a baby blanket. The purple and the pale blue are to be cardigans for me one day (they're the WWTBS) and the fair isle is a UFO.
I realised why I didn't finish the latter. It was going to be the sleeve of a child's sweater but all those little loopy bits at the back will get caught in little fingers and drive some poor Mum mad. So it will have to be pulled out and knitted with the loops woven in. Enthusiasm is in short supply for that project just now so it will go back into the cupboard. And since the others will take me at least three months to get through - probably longer at my rate of knitting - I'd better get busy.
So what am I sitting here for? I'll see you next time. Bye for now.
PS. I never did find the shawl .