Friday, July 31, 2009

Wolf at the Door.

From today Foxs Lane goodies are available for sale at Daylesford's newest and most gorgeous shop Wolf at the Door.

Thank you so much to my beautiful sister Meg for sitting in the car with me outside the shop for ten minutes debating the pros and cons of selling my craft.

It has been more than six months since I have had my work in a shop and although I have been doing the odd market here and there I'm still a bit unsure about the sale thing.

Making, sewing and crocheting is something I do to relax and to express myself. It is never going to support my family or probably even pay me for the hours I put into it.

But there is something about that feeling you get when somebody else loves what you make enough to pay for it and take it home. Meg, a writer, compared it to getting your book published by a publisher rather than publishing it yourself.

I am a prolific crafter and there are only so many brooches, hair clips, granny square pencil cases and bowls that my family and friends will ever use or want.

It would also be great for my craft supplies addiction to be able to pay for itself.

Magali (below) and her partner Jason, have put together the most beautiful shop. It is filled with amazing handmade objects and art and feels more like a gallery than a shop.

If you are ever in Daylesford, take the ten minute drive to Hepburn Springs. It is situated between the Palais and Red Star Cafe.

And there you will find my flowers, but hopefully not for long.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Heart My Apple.

When was the last time you made something you really, really loved?

When was the last time you squealed when you completed a project and saw it finished for the first time?

When was the last time you had to sleep with your new finished thing on your bedside table so you would be able to see it as soon as you opened your eyes in the morning?

When was the last time you had to carry your new baby around with you all day so you could see what it looked like in different places and different situations?

I don't know about you but I usually see faults in everything I make.
There's always something not quite right about the size, the shape, the pattern, the tension or the colour.

But for some reason this little apple really got me excited. I love the cartoonish shape, the red and the green, the teeny weeny size and the fact that it ended up almost exactly how I had planned it.

This feeling is extremely rare for me, I have a box full of not quite right creations under my desk to prove it.

But his time I'm happy and I love it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Home Alone.

I've got the house to myself until I have to get the girls from school.

The cupcake pattern in from here, I haven't quite worked out how to sew sprinkles on yet.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Little Stitches.

How things have changed.

The other day I was in Ballarat to pick up supplies when I pulled up in front of this shop.  Only 6 months ago that sign would have made my heart beat a bit faster.  I would have raced inside and grabbed arm loads of those awkward, long bolts of fabric, dragged them through the aisles and to the counter where the checkout chicky would have gritted her teeth at my request for a meter of each. 

I would have chosen spots, stripes, plains and florals because I might need them one day.

Like I said, things have changed.

I now know I have plenty of fabric at home and unless I start making women's wear I am set for a long time to come. 

This time I was looking for yarn.
These delicious colours in cotton, wool and bamboo.
These small balls are what makes my pulse race now and they are so much more convenient to carry around the shop in a little basket while I make my decisions.

While hunting the internet for crochet washer patterns I have come across some cute teacup patterns which I haven't been able to resist. 

The pink one is from here and the purple from here.

As far as I can understand from my small amount of research amigurami is the Japanese art of crocheting little, cute objects. It uses cotton and fine crochet hooks.

After making 2 and a half cups and saucers I have learnt that amigurami single crochet (sc) stitches go through both loops of the previous stitch and that it is best to mark the start of each row, I used a safety pin.

There have been lots of form versus function debates raging through my head while I have been crocheting these mini stitches. After crocheting washers and dishcloths these don't seem so practical or useful but there are some very thirsty dollies about to wake up in their cradles who would love a tea party, I'm sure.

I hope you have a great weekend wherever you are.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fire Blossom.

Not a huge amount of crafting going on at Foxs Lane this week.
The youngest member of the family has barely been sleeping which has led to us wandering around in the same type of fog as when she was first born.

I have finally slowed down on the washer making although I still haven't figured out which one to use for the swap

The one above surprised me though as usually I can't stand the colour orange. It runs so deep that I barely even eat orange food.

I made my first internet purchase this week.

To be honest, I'm not entirely thrilled with how the labels turned out.
When I had ordered and paid for them, a woman called to let me know that the font I had chosen didn't come in double lines.
I might be paranoid, but once they had my bank details I felt like I couldn't cancel the order.

So I have 50 of these schoolish looking labels that are far less contemporary looking than I had in mind, but they do make my work look a bit more professional.

The pattern for this Fire Blossom Dishcloth comes from here. I added more stitches to make it a bit three dimentional.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


We do a lot of baking in our house, so it surprised me when Bren and the girls came home from doing the shopping last week with a bag of freshly baked Yoyos.

Not to be outdone, we baked our own this morning.

I read about eight recipes on the computer and then combined them to make our own.

They were probably the easiest thing we have ever baked.
Great for baking with your kids.

Here is the recipe;

Cream 185 grams of butter and 1/3 cup icing sugar.
Add 1 and a 1/2 cups of plain flour and 1/3 cup custard powder to the mixer and mix well.

Make them into balls and then slightly flatten them using the back of a fork.

Bake in a moderate oven on baking paper for about fifteen minutes.

For the filling combine 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 tablespoons butter, 2 teaspoons custard powder and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

When they are cool and you are ready to eat them put some filling on one biscuit and squash another one on top. Apparently they go soggy if you join them and leave them for a while. I don't think that is going to be a problem here though.

Before I go here's a washer I made last night.

This one is called The Bushy Stitch Dishcloth and the pattern is here.
It is probably the easiest washer I have made to date as it only has two lines of pattern.

I love the edging and the feel of it is lovely.

I'm not sure if those larger spaces are places where it has stretched or perhaps I got a bit too absorbed in the dvd we were watching last night and replaced a few sc's with dc's.

I hope you are having a great weekend.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

No Show.

I was planning to go to The Bendigo Sheep and Wool Show yesterday but my baby had an awful cold. Instead she flopped on my lap and I crocheted behind her back for most of the day.

I made the flowers above for Indi as part of her costume for a Christmas in July party.

I made the flower below to experiment with the effects of painted wool.

And of course I made some washers.
Made and pulled apart many a time.
Hooking new patterns with a sick child on your lap is not ideal.

I loved making this Spring Fling washer.
I got the pattern from here.

And I had another go at the Scalloped Washcloth.
This time I used a smaller hook (3mm) and doubled the size.
The scallops look neater than last time but the edges are still a bit dodgy.

I am finding crochet patterns that start in the center and work outwards easier than those that work from side to side. I think I must have difficulty working out where the last stitch in the row is because the sides never end up straight.

This morning I made The Flower For Spring Dishcloth.
I'd like to make this one again at some stage with some matt cotton.
And although I hooked them and pulled them apart many times, the edges didn't turn out evenly.

So although I didn't get to the show to research my new passion for yarn, and have a bit of retail therapy of course, I did get quite a bit done. Luckily you can't see the state of my house though.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Squares and Washers.

I have been making crochet squares.

I am really enjoying playing with colours and new techniques.

I love the wool over and through action of crochet.

I love that the stitches are relatively limited so working out new effects is doable even for a beginner like me.

I have joined a washer swap organised by Jellywares.
It is my first blog swap and my first attempt at a washer.

Each swapper has to make a washer and send it and a five dollar bar of soap to their swap partner within the next month.

I love this whole new world of craft and swaps that Foxs Lane is opening up to me.

I love the idea of making a washer.

Until now all the washers in this house were shop bought and machine made but not any more.

Apparently in years gone by girls used to make washers in home economics at school and members of families each had their own.

Obviously I have some practicing to do.
None of the washers I have made so far have ended up as wide as they should and there's something a bit strange going on with the holes in the right side of the one below.

Perhaps I am using the wrong size hook or the wrong ply cotton.

But the best thing of all for me is the practicing.
I just can't stop.

The patterns for the top three squares are from 200 Crochet Blocks by Jan Eaton.
This book was a gift from my Mother-in-law to her Mother-in-law a few years ago. After her Mother-in-law died, she gave the book to me, her Daughter-in-law.

The Daisy Fancy Dishcloth pattern came from here.

The Scalloped Washcloth pattern came from here via here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday Softies.

It began as a rainy Saturday lesson in finger knitting for the five year old and hand knitting for the eight year old. 

They mastered the techniques pretty quickly and soon there was ropes of the stuff.

It took me back to being a kid and finger knitting for hours but not having anything to do with the product.

So I suggested making some dolls and each of them knew exactly what they wanted.

Jazzy drew me a picture of hers.
I then made the doll which she stuffed and drew the face on.
I made the dress to her specifications and sewed on the hair.

It makes me giggle that my obsession with all things crochet has spilled over onto my girls and now even their dolls have to have flower hair accessories.

This was Jazzy's first ever attempt at sewing on a button.
I am so proud.

Then of course the doll needed it's own handbag with a pocket.
I was only too happy to oblige.

Indi, my owl lover, was also very decisive.
She cut out all the pieces, turned it inside out, stuffed it and was very specific about where I sew each bit.

It was only at the very end that we realised that spotty owl didn't have anywhere but his ear to tie his scarf.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Building The Stash.

I've been sewing for many years now so my stash is quite substantial.

I've picked up bits and pieces all over the place. 

I know the sort of sewer I am that I need to be prepared for when inspiration hits and what particular materials I will need for my next project.

So I have plenty of fabric of all different weights, some printed, some plain, some new, some vintage.

I have lots of different coloured cottons.

Zillions of zips of different lengths, colours and weights.

Bias binding,

And elastic.

Then there are the desk drawers full of bits and bobs.

See what I mean?
I'm well set up for whatever new sewing project takes my fancy.

So the question I'm asking is; how does one build a wool stash?

I have a few bits of balls of wool left over from Jazzy's blanket. Bren's Mum gave me some of her leftovers and there's some unidentified bits and pieces rolling around.

But when I'm sitting in front of the fire at night and I pull out my hook to get started, there's not the materials needed to complete anything substantial.

When I read a tutorial for a groovy beanie, scarf or vest I'm unprepared.

So tell me you yarn lovers out there, is it something organic that just happens or are there some necessities that every stash should have? What is the fat quarter of the yarn world?

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