Monday, 28 October 2013

"Adventure Time" Finn Costume

You would think in this day and age that the only reason to make a costume at this time of the year would be for Halloween, and in 99.9% of cases that's probably true, but for us an event came along that required a little bit of sewing and a whole lot of reminiscing.  You see, my eldest son finished school last week and one of the final events thrust upon was a "Heroes and Villains" dress up day.  He quickly decided on "Finn" from "AdventureTime" and it really was handy that he could borrow his brother's hat that we'd made some time ago.

This is a really simple hat to make and the instructions and links are all available in our "Fabulous Adventure Time Finn Hat" blog post.

That meant that all we needed for the costume was the Finn backpack, a blue shirt and shorts, plus black shoes and rolled up white socks.  We had everything but the backpack....

I was very fortunate that in my fabric stash, I had some left over green fleece that we'd used to make a Legend of Zelda Link Hat and so it was that in between looking at photos of my eldest when he was first starting school, I took my fabric and the fantastic instructions from "The Local Fat Kid" and got sewing.  It was quick and easy to make and before we knew it, we had our very own Finn backpack...

...together with our very own school leaving Finn

My, doesn't time fly!


Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.
Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too. - See more at:

Friday, 25 October 2013

Loom Knit Shimmery Shrug

In my experience, there is nothing better than making a purchase in a charity/thrift shop and the volunteer behind the counter saying something along the lines of "I wish I'd seen this, I would have put it aside for me" and that is exactly what happened when I gleefully went to pay for a bag of Moda Vera Giselle a few weeks ago.   At a mere $6.00 for four balls of shimmery wool, I had no immediate plans for my purchase, but knew I couldn't leave the store without this new addition to my wool stash.

For me, shimmery, shiny yarn just screams out evening wear and so one night when I was in no way inspired to pick up any of my current WIP's, I took out my straight loom and decided to make  quick shrug.

The instructions couldn't be simpler.  I used one strand of yarn and followed the same instruction as I used in our Charity Knitting blog post.  I cast on using the entire length of the loom and then continued knitting enough rows until the work measured approximately 65cm before casting off.  This size is to fit a petite adult, so I would recommend adding another 10 or so centimetres for a regular adult.  I then folded the shrug in half lengthwise and sewed up from each end along the length approximately 10cm to form the sleeves.

I'm really pleased with how this came together.  Incredibly quick to make and it took less than a 50g ball of my bargain yarn, meaning all up this perfect addition to a sophisticated night out cost less than $1.50!

Oh how I love a bargain!

Happy looming


Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Microwave Dyeing

Spring is in the air and there is a lot happening at the moment.  This week I got engaged which proves you are never too old for a bit of romance.  It's been lovely and we have spent a lot of time drinking champagne, catching up with friends and family and starting to plan a wedding and honeymoon.  It's been a very energetic week and this morning I woke up just itching to channel all this energy into something crafty.  

I thought I would spend the morning dyeing some roving before we went out in the afternoon to look at engagement rings.  A bit of craft and then a bit of romance - quite the perfect day in my opinion.

Lets get started ..  
Soaking the roving
Firstly, I made 6 plaits of roving (I decided on 6 as I have to do the dyeing in my kitchen so it's better to do it in bulk) and put them to soak.  I weigh down the roving with a large dinner plate so it is completely under water.

Preparing to dye the roving
While it is soaking put on a pair of gloves and prepare your dyes.  I don't have too many at this stage but I wanted a few bold plaits and a few more muted ones.  Some of them I wanted a very obvious colour change as I love creating the skein as I spin and others I wanted just one colour.

I have a marble top island bench which is perfect to use.  I cover it in an old tablecloth and then I cover this with cling film.  Make sure that there is a lot of overlap with the cling film as this will stop the dye from leaking out.

Gently squeeze out the excess water from the first plait and lay it along the cling film.  

Soaking up the dye
Add the dyes to the roving in a pre-determined pattern.  When you are happy that the roving has absorbed enough dye (this depends entirely on you ..  If you want to saturate the roving with dye, make sure that you keep easing it in with your hands.  I don't mind the odd bit of roving that does not fully take up the dye as I like the colour variations during the spinning process).

Straight out of the mircrowave

Now it is time to COMPLETELY wrap the roving.  Start by folding the ends over and then rolling the whole plait of roving like a sausage.  Once you have done this, coil it around so it fits on a plate.  I have one (It used to be a cheese platter) that has a lip around the edge.  It is great just in case there is a bit of leakage.

Place the plate with the coiled roving on it in the microwave and microwave on high for 5 minutes.  Please be careful.  It is extremely hot when it comes out!

Leave the coils until they have completely cooled.  

Roving drying in the sun

Remove the coil from the cling film and gently rinse until the water runs clear and hang out to dry.

There you have it.  The simplest way to dye roving that I have come across.

This batch is destined for Debs weaving loom and while I wait for it to dry, it's time to search for an engagement ring.

Happy Springtime ..

Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Putting All My Spinning in One Basket

My Growing Pile of Homespun
My spinning and dyeing is coming along nicely.  I am still a long way from where I would like to be but that is always the way when you are impatient to learn a new skill.
Along the way, I have accumulated quite a bit of variously dyed spun yarn in a range of skill levels that left me wondering what on earth I was going to do with it all? 

I am going to take quite a bit over to Melbourne with me for Deb to weave with but I need to make sure that the wool will have the strength to stay together and that the lumpy bits will fit through the weft of the loom.  I'm not sure that my spinning is quite up to that yet .. 

I sat looking at the growing pile for quite some time until I worked out what I was going to do with it.  I wanted something that knits (or crochets) very quickly as I did not want to spend evening after evening working on something that may not give me the end results that I desired.

Getting all the wool ready for stripes.
I found my Pinspiration from Pinterest.  A beautiful basketweave blanket using scrap wool.  Perfect!  It comes from a lovely blog "Keeping it Stepford" and I loved all the colours.    Maria uses up a lot of her wool by using 3 different yarns at once.  I tried just 2 yarns but that was still too thick even using a 10.00mm crochet hook. More evidence that my spinning has a long way to go.  So, I decided to make a stripy  scrap blanket with all my homespun plus a few balls of yarn from my stash to help it along.

I found a great tutorial for the basketweave stitch at All Free Crochet.  As knitting is my first love, I am always a bit unsure when it comes to new crochet stitches but this one is very easy.  I am sure it will crochet up in next to no time.  My son has put his hand up to have it once it's finished - we'll see how that goes.  He doesn't strike me as a 'scrap blanket' type of person, but you never know.  
I am happy that my homespun will become something functional and practical.  Fingers crossed for pretty as well.

Happy Crocheting,

Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook ,Pinterest and Ravelry too.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Halloween Mummy Cakes

I generally try and avoid the Post-Christmas Sales, but last year I came across a gingerbread shaped silicon cooking tray at one of my little local shops and couldn't resist.  It's been sitting in my cupboard, waiting patiently for the festive season, or at least that was until I was inspired by some Mummy cookies I saw on Pinterest.  It was time for my tray to come out of hiding and get some use.

I confess, that on a busy Saturday morning I chose to use a packet cake mix rather than my standard Vanilla Cake, but my kids still thought they were pretty delicious even though they weren't made from scratch.  

I simply made the cake mix as directed, filled the little gingerbread moulds to approximately half full and then proceeded to put them in the oven at a temperature that was ever so slightly too hot...oops!  I would have preferred the edges to be slightly less brown, but you live and you learn. 

As our little gingerbread shaped treats had risen unevenly in the oven, when they were sufficiently cooled, I sliced the backs off of them so that they were completely flat.  The icing is made using icing sugar and the directions on the packet and while I had my icing bag and tips at the ready, in the end I just used a spoon to drizzle the bandage like effect.

The eyes are "Smarties", but if you're not in a part of the world that sells them, M&M's will certainly do.

...and there you have it.  Our little gingerbread type people have been completely transformed.

Happy Halloween


Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook ,Pinterest and Ravelry too.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Homespun Beret

Trying to come up with something to knit using my homespun is quite tricky.  A lot of it I am using in a blanket but every now and again, a batch comes through that is quite good and I am a bit reluctant to use.  

I ordered some 19.0 micron roving online and it is gorgeously soft.  After dyeing it and spinning it, I kept marveling at just how soft it was - there just wasn't a lot of it.  Certainly not enough for a cowl (which I tried first but had to undo).  

Then, as luck would have it, I received the Knitting Daily email and there was a list of hats to knit.  Surely, I would have enough .. and I chose the 'One Day Beret Recipe' by Kristin Kapur.

This pattern assumes that you know something about the construction of a hat and it is super easy and just the right pattern for my homespun.

I like the way that the beret is knitted from the top down which means that you can size it very easily - however, I was still very nervous about running out of wool and I knitted until I virtually had nothing left.  I used the crochet cast off to conserve wool and in the end, every last ounce of homespun went into the hat.

It has a 'slouchy - lived in' feel as though I have had it for years.  

I have a skein of 'circus' that I have dyed and I have a funny feeling that my hat collection is going to get a little larger over the coming months.

Happy Knitting,

Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Crystal Painting

My niece Hayley has her own business selling cross stitch supplies (you can see her fabulous website at X Squared Cross Stitch ) and she's recently added some Crystal Painting Kits to purchase.  One of the joys of family is that sometimes little parcels arrive in the post and on one such occasion a large envelope was delivered containing one of her new kits.

The timing was perfect.  Imagine if you will hundreds, if not thousands of tiny crystals, a sticky sheet of canvas on which they are to be placed, a fortnight of school holidays where the weather was awful at best, all combined with a slightly bored tween.

Our tween spent hours with her tweezers carefully placing each crystal.  For a brief moment I had a turn too and it was very relaxing indeed, but the tween was the most enthusiastic and so I left it for her and oh-so -slowly the picture is beginning to take shape.


The Crystal Painting has turned out to be a great in between project.  It's quite time consuming, but in a good "I'm glad I got a bit more done today" kind of way and makes a pleasant change from using yarn and threads to create masterpieces.  Our tween is certainly enjoying herself!

Happy Crystal Painting 


Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Halloween Spiders Web

Halloween really isn't a big affair in Australia.  It's actually quite rare if we have any trick or treaters knock on our door, but that doesn't stop me from having a little basket of treats at the ready just in case.  We don't really decorate our houses, but this year I thought it might be cute to put a few spiders webs around the house and garden to get into the spirit of things.

I used a crochet cotton, size 3  crochet hook and based my design on the free pattern from Snowcatcher.  It's simple and incredibly effective.  It really is very much like making a crochet snowflake (you can see my attempts here), but on a larger scale.  I deliberately made my webs so they weren't entirely symmetrical so that they fitted in a little better with the existing, very natural,  spiders webs around my front porch!

I know I'm going to run out of time this year, but I would love to cover our front fence with these webs.  They look very real from a distance and if I added a couple of amigurumi spiders, I just about might manage to creep out the whole neighbourhood.

Happy Halloween


Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Mildly Liquorice Socks (Part 2 of the Sock Commission)

The second pair of socks for my sock commission (you can read about it here) are a pair of very simple cabled socks.  Actually, they were meant to be the first pair but I caught a dose of 'second sock syndrome' and ended up finishing the other pair first.

When I first started knitting with the wool, the self striping colours were quite pastel but then, every now again, came a hit of black and it reminded me of a liquorice allsort - albeit not as brightly coloured as the candy.

If you are new to sock knitting and would like some detailed instructions on how it is done, we have put together a free 'how to' leaflet that walks you through how to knit your first pair of socks.


100g ball of sock wool
5 x 2.75mm sock knitting needles/dpns

C4F - Place 2 stitches on a cable needle and hold at the front of your work.  K2, then K2 from cable needle.

This is an ideal project to knit the cables without the use of a cable needle.  I find that using a cable needle when you are already using 5 just doesn't feel comfortable.
If you would like to learn how to knit without using a cable needle here is a link to a little picture tutorial that we put together to show you how it is done.  For these socks, it is just a case of using 4 stitches instead of the 6 in the tutorial.


Right Foot
Cast on 64 stitches and divide evenly onto 4 needles.
Join in the round ensuring that the knitting is not twisted.

1st row:  K2, P2 to end
rpt until ribbing measures 4cm.


1st row: P2, C4F, P2, Knit to end
2nd row: P2, K4, P2, Knit to end
3rd row: as 2nd
4th row: as 2nd
5th row: as 2nd
6th row: as Row 1.

Continue in established pattern until the sock is 18cm long.

Divide for heel

Continue in pattern for 32 stitches.

Place the remaining 32 stitches on 1 needles and continue as follows:-

1st row: slip one, (K1, slip one as if to purl), rpt to end
2nd row: Slip one, Purl to end
Repeat rows 1 & 2 a further 15 times.

Turning the heel

K18, Slip 1, K1, psso, K1, turn

Slip 1, P5, P2tog, P1, turn
Knit across to the stitch before the gap (this is where you turned your row) Slip the first stitch before the gap, Knit the stitch on the other side of the gap, psso, K1, turn
Slip 1, Purl to the stitch before the gap, P2tog (the stitches either side of the gap), P1, turn

Continue in the manner until all the heel stitches have been used up, finishing with P2 on the wrong side.

Picking up stitches for the gusset.

Turn the knitting to the right side, knit across all heel flap stitches, then pick up and knit 16 stitches (to avoid any loose stitches, knit into the back of each stitch), continue along the top of the foot keeping the cable pattern correct, pick up and knit 16 stitches.

Arrange the stitches on your needles in the following way, Half of the heel stitches (9) and the 1st lot of picked up stitches (16) on needle 1 - 25 stitches in total.  The remaining half of the heel stitches and the second lot of picked up stitches on needle 2 - 25 stitches.  The middle of the heel flap now becomes the start of each row.  Place the remaining 32 stitches on one needle. (needle 3).  This makes at total of 82 stitches.

Decreasing the gusset.

The aim is to decrease along the gusset until you have 64 stitches.

Row 1:  Knit all stitches

Row 2:  knit to 3 stitches before needle 3, K2tog, K1, Knit across needle 3 keeping cable pattern correct, K1, Slip 1, K1, psso, Knit.
Row 3:  Knit all stitches
Row 4:  As row 2.

Continue until needles 2 & 3 contain 16 stitches each.

Continue knitting until the foot measures 3cm from the end of the toes (approx 7cm for a small/medium ladies size).

Decreasing for the toes

Knit one round plain.  (the cable pattern has now finished)

Decrease round:

Needle 2—K to 3 sts from end  K2tog, K1. 

Needle 3—K first stitch, Sl1, psso, knit to 3 sts from end  K2tog, K1. 

Needle 1—K1, Sl1, psso, K to end.

Second row: Knit to end

Continue until 16 stitches remain.  8 on needle 2, and 4 on needles 1 & 3.

Combine needles 1 & 3 so you have 8 stitches on each needle and cast off using kitchener stitch.

If you have never tried kitchener stitch, it's a great way to finish a sock.  It's nice and neat and strong.

Here is a great link for learning how to do it.  Kitchener Stitch Instructions.

Left Foot
Cast on 64 stitches and divide evenly onto 4 needles.
Join in the round ensuring that the knitting is not twisted.

1st row:  K2, P2 to end
rpt until ribbing measures 4cm.


1st row: K24, P2, C4F, P2, Knit to end
2nd row: K24, P2, K4, P2,  knit to end
3rd row: as 2nd row
4th row: as 2nd row
5th row: as 2nd row
6th row: as Row 1.

Continue as for Right foot.

Happy sock knitting,

Thanks so much for visiting.  We'd love to have you join us on Facebook , Pinterest  & Ravelry too.

Drop Stitch Cowl

We were at a yarn market a couple of weeks ago and after speaking to some pretty fabulous yarn people all day long, I was struck with the...