Monday, 30 June 2014

Leafy Garden Rib Socks

Leafy Garden Rib Socks
On of my favourite yarns of all time is Zauberballs 'Floral Garden'.  I started crochetingsome flowers with it and .. well, it was love at first petal.

I have spent quite a bit of time quilting lately but a few days ago the urge to knit something was too powerful (and who am I to resist?) so I reached for the prettiest ball of wool I could find in my stash and set about designing a pair of socks that would do it justice.

The design had to have a 'garden' theme so .. here they are.  Leafy Rib Socks.

This sock is ideal to wear with boots.  The ribbing and the leaves create a really nice thickness.


K - Knit
P - Purl
YO - Yarn Over
Sl2k1P - Slip 2 stitches as if you were about to work a K2tog, Knit 1 then pass both slipped stitches over the knitted stitch
K2tog - Knit 2 stitches together
ssk - slip 1 stitch knitwise, then slip another stitch purlwise, place the LHS needle back through the front of these stitches and then knit them together.


2 x balls/skeins of Zauberball 'Floral Garden'
set of 2.5mm sock knitting DPNs
Pattern Designing


Cast on 80 stitches and divide evenly between 4 needles. (20 on each needle)

Establish a K1 P1 rib and, being careful not to twist, join in the round.

Continue until rib measures 6cm.
Row 1:
K1, P1, YO K1 YO, (P1 K1) twice, P1

Row 2: 
(and every even row) Knit all knit stitches and purl all purl stitches 
Yarn Overs are a knit stitch.

Row 3: 
K1, P1, YO K3 YO, (P1, K1) twice, P1
Taking Shape

Row 5:
K1, P1, YO K5 YO (P1, K1) twice, P1

Row: 7
K1, P1, ssk, K3, K2tog, (P1, K1) twice, P1

Row 9:
K1, P1, ssk, K1, K2tog, (P1, K1) twice,P1

Row 11:
K1, P1, Sl2k1P, (P1, K1) twice, P1

Row 13:
(K1, P1) 3 times, YO K1 YO, P1

Row 15:
(K1, P1) 3 times, YO K3 YO, P1

Row 17:
(K1, P1) 3 times, YO K5 YO, P1

Row 19:
(K1, P1) 3 times, ssk, K3, K2tog, P1

Row 21:
(K1, P1) 3 times, ssk, K1, K2tog, P1

Row 23:
(K1, P1) 3 times, Sl2k1P, P1

Row 24: as row 2

Rows 1-24 form the leaf pattern.

Repeat the pattern 2 more times (3 repeats in total) and then divide the stitches for the heel.

Heel Shaping

Row 1:   Slip 1, Knit 1 to the end of the turned row.
Row 2:   Slip 1 Purlwise, P 39 Stitches, turn

Repeat rows 1 & 2 a further 18 times.

Heel Turning

Row 1: Knit 22, slip 1, K1, PSSO, K1 turn
Row 2: Purl 5, P2tog, P1, turn
Row 3, Knit to the stitch before the 'gap'.  Close the gap by 'slip1, K1, PSSO, K1', turn
Row 4: Purl to the stitch before the gap.  Close the gap by 'P2tog, P1, turn'

Repeat rows 3 & 4 until all the stitches are used, ending on a purl row.


Row 1:  Knit across the stitches that are left from the heel turning and then pick up and knit 20 stitches.     By slipping the first stitch of the heel shaping rows, you will have created a chain edge.  Slip the needle through the chain to pick and knit the stitches.  Continue in the established rib pattern across the instep until you get to the other side of the heel shaping rows.  Using the same method, pick up each chain stitch and knit.  Knit to the end of the row.

Row 2:  Knit until there are 3 stitches left before the rib pattern begins, K2tog, K1.  Continue  the established pattern until you reach the gusset stitches.  K1, SSK, K to the end of the row.

Repeat these 2 rows until you have a total of 80 stitches again.

Continue in the established pattern minus any decreasing until the sock is approximately 6cm shorter than the foot that the sock is designed for.  The pattern should end on a row 11 or 23 to give a neat finish to the pattern and ensure you end up with the correct amount of stitches to start the decreasing for the toe.

Toe Shaping

Row 1: Knit to 3 stitches before the established pattern (last 3 stitches on the needle).  
K2tog, K1, K1, SSK. Knit all stitches across the pattern in plain stitch to the last 3.  The pattern has now ended and its plain stitch to the end. K2tog, K1, K1, SSK.
Row 2: Knit all stitches.

Repeat Rows 1 & 2 until you are left with 16 stitches.

Using the Kitchener Stitch, bind off and secure any loose ends.

Previous posts about socks can be found here.

Happy Sock Knitting,

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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Lone Star

Finished Lone Star Quilt using 'Josephine' Jelly roll.
I am well and truly hooked on quilting (and knitting and spinning - the list goes on) but I am struggling with just how hard it is to achieve a good quilt.  I gave up on perfection - my temper is too short - but I just can't seem to achieve an all round good quilt.  Either the piecing is OK and I mess up the quilting or the quilting is OK but the piecing wasn't so good.  It can be frustrating!  I'm sure I'm not alone there -- am I?  

In times of crisis, I turn to Craftsy and try to gain some knowledge through their courses.  I love them and have learned so much but nothing helps more than hands on practice.

Practicing my perfect points

I did Kimberley Einmos ' Magical Jelly Rolls' and she showed me how to make a lone star. It hardly used up any of the jelly roll (Josephine by Moda Fabrics) so I made 4.

Then I did Leah Day's 'Free Motion Fillers' to help me with the machine quilting.  I think I have mastered stipple stitch - but I can't be too sure.

Getting the hang of stipple stitch
Then I moved onto Jenny Doan's 'Quilting Quickly' and picked up a multitude of good ideas and I am currently watching Ann Peterson's 'Beyond Basic Machine Quilting' .. this is after watching 'Quilting Big Quilts on Small machines'.  

There can be no doubt that I have done my homework.  I just can't remember it being this difficult when Deb and I were quilting 15 or so years ago.  Admittedly, we hand quilted and admittedly I am using a new machine that I am still getting used to. 

Still, I persevere in the quest for a quilt with no puckers, perfect points, straight borders and even quilting.

My Mum was visiting and I dejectedly showed her the progress of my Lone Star quilt and she said it was lovely.  "But look" I said as I pointed out every flaw I had made.  She looked non-plussed and said it still looked lovely and that she would love to have it.     Mums are good like that aren't they?  So I finished it off, much happier with the progress and very pleased that it was going to a good home.

Happy Quilting,

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Monday, 23 June 2014

Summer Colours Crochet Top

Every now and again the extra curriculum days the school puts into the calendar don't quite coincide with my days off from work.  This happened recently when my daughter's school announced a "Correction Day" where no students would be required to attend.   I still haven't quite worked out what a "Correction Day" actually is, but no-one was complaining given it was a day off for students. When the day came, I headed off to work for the morning and left Andie with her older brother who was studying for his university exams.  Knowing she would be quite bored I left behind three balls of wool from my stash and wondered what wonderful creation would be waiting for me upon my return.

The wool is from Bendigo Woollen Mills Classic Range in shades of "Lipstick Rose", "Maize" and "Aster", perfect colours if you're stuck in the middle of a grey Melbourne Winter and are dreaming of warm Summer days and sunshine.

When I came home from work, this is what I found!  The beginnings of a crochet top using Open Checker Stitch (detailed instructions can be found at New Stitch a Day

Andie's pattern is:

Using colour 1, chain 54
*Row 1, Open Checker Stitch
Row 2, Change to colour 2 and continue with Open Checker Stitch
Row 3, Change to colour 3 and continue with Open Checker Stitch*

* to * forms pattern

Continue until desired length is reached.

Back is identical to the front.
To join, sew top edge corners of front and back to form neckline and sew up side seams.

As you can imagine, she's thrilled with the result and can't wait to wear her new top in the coming weeks.  Given it's a tad chilly here at the moment, I imagine it's likely to be worn indoors!

Happy crocheting

Deb and Andie

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Saturday, 21 June 2014

When you are on a roll ...

I spent yesterday afternoon making what is arguably the worlds easiest quilted table runner - you can view the post here.

I had plenty of '12 Days of Christmas' 2.5" strips left over and was still in the mood to sew so I thought I would make another table runner - you can never have too many.. can you?  

This is especially true at Christmas. Every table need to be festooned with something festive.. Right?


32 - 2.5" Strips of Christmas fabric

Backing fabric and batting measuring 21" x 37"

2" strip of border fabric

14 - 2.5" fabric strips for the binding

Cutting Mat

Rotary Cutter

Bobby Pins

Sew strips together


  • Randomly sew 2 of the 2.5" strips of fabric together.  Try to ensure that you have a red with a green or a dark with a light.  Press towards the dark side.

  • Cut the sewn strips in 2.5" sections.  You will get 4 out of each strip.  Press

    Cut in 2.5" lengths
  • Piece them together to form 4-patch squares.  You will need 32.  This is a great job to chain piece.  Press

  • Once you have 32 squares, lay them out in the final design.  I sew the squares in column 1 to the squares in Column 2  and chain piece all the way down.  I then sew the squares in column 3 to the squares in column 4 and chain piece.

  • Press and then sew Column 1 & 2 squares to column 3 & 4 squares.  Press.

Layout 4-patch squares

  • Now it is just a matter of sewing all the rows together.

  • Add the 2" border

  • Layer the top, batting and backing and get it ready to quilt.  

    Finished quilt top
  • I started in the top left hand corner and followed the diagonal line through the blocks to the edge of the quilt.  I then changed direction and continued quilting in a diagonal manner to the edge of the quilt and continued until I had crosshatched the entire quilt.

  • I then quilted 2 lines in a quarter inch from the border.

  • Sew 14 strips of fabric together (endwise) to form a long binding.  I chose just two designs.  One was red and one was green.  They were both the same design, just a different colour way and this gave a festive, stripey feel to the border.  
Quilting diagonally

  • Attach the binding in the usual manner (sew to the front of the quilt with ride sides facing) and hand-sew the binding at the back of the quilt.
Now I am on a roll - I still have half of my layer cake.  Might be time to make another one .. or two.

Happy Quilting,

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Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Space Invaders

Happy Quilting
Setting up a craft space is quite exciting. About a year ago when my daughter moved out, I was able to convert her room to a lovely craft room .. albeit that I have had to share it with Peter.  He uses it as his study.  I have noticed though, that throughout the course of the year, he has been using it more and more often as his hours of online University lecturing and marking have increased.  This means that my craft room is really only a craft storage room.  This is fine when it comes to knitting.. it's a portable craft and doesn't take up much space.

Quilting, on the other hand, certainly does.  I had resorted to using the dining room table which meant a quick rearrangement of everything when it came time to eat (and always being eagle-eyed looking for any sign of spillage) and then moving everything back when we had finished.  The dining room always looked a mess and, as we have a large, open plan living space, this meant that the whole house always looked a mess.

The space I have to work with
We looked at moving my craft room upstairs but this room is so unbelievably hot in summer that candles melt.  Wood dries out and warps in this room so I was concerned about what it would do to my machine.  I did however, mull over the feasibility of Bikram quilting - but I couldn't really see it working.

The only other option we had was to bring in another table and set it up next to the dining room.  I initially balked at this.  Nowhere, in any design magazine, does it say to put 2 dining room tables together and it will look good.  I was reluctant to 'spoil' the look of the living room. 
 However, if I wanted to quilt (which I do), I was left with very little choice so this morning, we took the beautiful old oregon table that has been sitting outside and sanded it.

Finally - a bit of TLC
This table has nearly been sold on many occasions as it seemed such a waste to have it outside so I am very pleased that it finally has a use.  It is huge - 6ft - and there are not many spaces that could easily accommodate 2 large dining tables.

Extra 6ft table?  No problems.

I am very surprised at just how easily a very large table fitted into this space and whilst it won't win any design awards, I can now quilt in the knowledge that dinner time spills will not be such a disaster.

Happy Quilting,

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Saturday, 14 June 2014

Moss Stitch Homespun Capelet

One of the fabulous things about having a sister who can spin is that every now and then some of the homespun makes its way into my yarn stash. Admittedly, the homespun was passed onto me to weave with, but so far has come no where near my loom and everywhere near my knitting needles.  My last project with Louise's yarn was a bright and colourful cowl and this time, once again I looked at the yarn and couldn't help but think it would prefer to be knitted rather than woven.

Moss stitch, or seed stitch as it is also known, is very simple and this little capelet is really just a  rectangle of knitting so there is absolutely no shaping involved.  In other words, it's the perfect pattern for beginners.

Using 12mm needles and thick homespun or purchased yarn of your choice, 

Moss stitch pattern
Row one:  Knit 1, Purl 1 continue to end of row
Repeat this row for pattern

Petite Adult
Cast on 25 stitches
Work 110 rows Moss St (or until work measures approx 92cm/36 inches)
Cast off

Small - Medium Adult

Cast on 29 stitches
Work 120 rows Moss St (or until work measure approx 102cm/40 inches)
Cast off

The capelet is finished off in this instance with an antique style diamonte brooch, however depending on your choice of yarn this style would be equally at home with a wooden or ceramic style brooch.

Happy Knitting


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Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Fat Rascals

Our ongoing attempts to declutter have reached a new level recently as we've been going through old packing boxes that haven't been touched since we moved to Melbourne seven years ago.  We've got a pile of junk collectibles that we'll be taking to the local auction house soon to see if we can send them onwards to a new home that will love them more than we will.  One loved item we found amidst the boxes was our Fat Rascal plates and cups that we'd purchased in Yorkshire when we lived in the UK.  Anyone who has spent time in that region will no doubt have lined up outside Bettys Tearooms to then partake in a delightful morning or afternoon tea...we certainly did!

One of their most popular items is a traditional Yorkshire Fat Rascal and once the plates and cups were unwrapped I couldn't help myself and went about the afternoon making a batch of these treats.  I had a quick look online for the original Bettys recipe, but had no cream to hand, so I went instead for a recipe I had written down while still in the UK. 

225g plain flour (sifted)
pinch of salt
100g butter, softened
40g caster sugar
50g currants
50-75 ml milk
sprinkle of caster sugar to finish
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
Line a baking tray with baking paper
Mix flour and salt together, rub in butter
Add sugar and currants and mix
Add enough milk to make a firm dough
On a floured kitchen bench, roll out dough to a thickness of 1cm
Cut out circles using a 7.5cm scone cutter and sprinkle with caster sugar
Bake in oven for 20-25 min
Cool on wire rack

Now that's about as Yorkshire as you can get for an afternoon tea...except perhaps for the accompanying cup of Milo - you definitely won't find that at Bettys!

Happy Baking


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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Christmas Table Runner

This table runner came together very, very quickly and  I am pleased because it means I can make them as little gifts at Christmas without having to stress (too much).   It is made using 16  2.5 "x 10" strips.

I have a '12 days of Christmas' Layer Cake by Kate McRostie from Windham Fabrics and you can make this runner using only 4 pieces of fabric if you wished.  I used the full selection.


  • 16 x 2.5" x 10" strips in Christmas colours
  • 11 Further 2.5" strips to make the binding
  • 14" x 36" piece of backing fabric and the same size batting
  • Small quantity of scrap fabric for the boarder
  • Cutting Mat
  • Rotary Cutter
  • Bobby pins (to hold binding in place - they are less painful than pins)

Finished Size

12.5" x 33"


Laying out the cut strips (this is for 2 runners)
  • Cut each piece of layer cake into 4 x 2.5" strips.

  • Arrange the pieces

  • Chain piece the strips together.  ie: sew strips 1 & 2 together and without taking the fabric out or cutting the thread, sew strips 3 & 4 together until all the strips have been joined.

  • Press the seams and then join each of the double strips together.

    Adding the border
  • Continue in this manner until you have one large piece of the strips of fabric.

  • Add the border fabric - (2" strip)

  • Join the top of the quilt to the batting and backing fabric and quilt.  I quilted a quarter inch in from each seam and twice around the border

    Bobby pins are perfect for holding
     the binding in place
  • The binding was made by joining the eleven 2.5" x 10" strips together to form a continuous piece of colourful christmas fabric.

  • Press the binding fabric in half (wrong sides together) and, with right sides facing, join to the quilt.

  • Hand stitch the binding on the rear of the quilt.

Happy Quilting (still far too early to be wishing anyone a Merry Christmas - it's only June)


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Monday, 2 June 2014

You Can't Argue With Science

I was very lucky on Mother's Day to receive a gift voucher from the divine Morris and Sons, a store filled to the brim with yarns, inspirational projects, tapestry, craft items, fabrics and well just about everything a crafty person could wish for.  After a good hour of wandering around gazing longingly at endless shelves of fabulous yarns, I finally decided on some delightful "Clara" from the fine folk at Manos del Uruguay.  As part of the World Fair Trade Organisation, Manos del Uruguay aims to bring opportunities to women in that country and so I felt fantastic walking out of the store with not only my gorgeous yarn, but also knowing that I was helping a wonderful cause.

Now, one of the great things about Morris and Sons is that on their shop counter sits a wool winder, and it wasn't until a week or so later, when I had decided on a project, that I realised I could have saved a whole lot of bother if I had just asked them to wind the yarn while I was at the store.  I have long lamented my family's lack of enthusiasm when it comes to wool winding and my endless frustration at the ensuing knots.  I was complaining about the whole wool winding debacle prior to starting on this wool when my son mentioned that there really was only one constant when it came to wool winding and that was me.  Surely not!  My long suffering husband quipped, "Well, you can't argue with science" and I was left wondering if indeed I really could be the issue here.

This time wool winding duties fell to my daughter, who protested loudly about the fact that she had homework to do.  It fell on deaf ears of course and so we sat down, her full of dread and me hopeful that I would prove my innocence and be able to continue to blame everybody else for their lack of effort when it was really needed.

Things went well at first, there were a few snags along the way. but we managed to get about halfway through the skein before disaster struck.  By this time my daughter had decided enough was enough and being faced with a big loop of knots was not her idea of a fun afternoon and frankly, it's not mine either.

Luckily though, my husband is pretty good at untangling and so he sat down and with much more patience than I'm able to muster, started untangling - he's pretty awesome like that...although I haven't mentioned to him that there's still a whole other skein to go!

I'm still not totally convinced that I'm the culprit here.  This yarn comes with a label that names the artisan who produced the skein, and while the logical part of my brain clearly understands that the artisan in question would in no way deliberately sabotage my yarn, the non-logical part just can't believe that I would be the problem, even though apparently "You can't argue with science" <sigh>

In other news, my husband has decided he might buy me a yarn swift for our wedding anniversary...

Happy wool winding


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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...