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Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Beautiful International Scarf Exchange Scarf

A little late, but no less beautiful, this is my International Scarf Exchange Scarf from Tina. Tina has no blog or website and barely posted to the ISE blog, so I know almost nothing about her, but she sure knows how to pick the most beautiful colours. This is a gorgeous thick and thin yarn, fairly coarse but I just adore the way the colours meld into each other. I have emailed her to thank her and to ask what the yarn is, but I haven't heard back. Whatever it is, I just love it! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

G is for Green

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G is for Green

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G is for Green

Green is one of my all time favorite colours! (The others being pink, blue and purple - in no particular order). Green is the colour of nature and it soothes me and makes me feel at peace. I've made a collage of sundry green images that I liked and I feel good just looking at it. Most of the plants are in my garden; the skeins of yarn are from Lorna's Laces and will become lacey scarves or shawls one day; and the tub full of yarn is my Green box and it is overflowing! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

Sirius says that her collar is in honour of Project Spectrum this month!! Notice her pink nose and lips - Pharoah hounds blush when they are happy!Posted by Picasa

School Holidays

We are slowly reaching the end of these unseasonably early school holidays here at Chez Sheep Rustler. They were brought forward by four weeks to coincide with the Commonwealth Games. This meant that first term was a headlong, breathless rush, and everyone has to cope with a 12 week term starting next week. Easter will at least give us a long weekend soonish, but we think we may take the kids out of school for a couple of days mid term and give them another long weekend, just so that they can make it to the end of term!

Wombat came down with an ear infection three days before the end of last term and so started his holidays earlier than I really wanted him to. It meant I had to miss my TAFE Classes on the last Friday as George was in Sydney. George's mum did offer to come down but as I have to leave at 8.30am she would have had to have caught a train at 6.30am and that would have been just too cruel! Besides which she then got caught up in a real family drama which has resulted in her having to hare off to Broken Hill for a month to care for her sister-in-law.

Poor Wombat took a good ten days to get over the ear problem, including three visits to the doctor, antibiotic eardrops, oral antibiotics and an ear washing out session. It left him very clingy and I am, I;m afraid, looking forward to some time without him following me from room to room all day. Yes, he gets plenty of attention from me, but it would be nice not to have to be in the same room as him all the time.

Baby Bear usually spends a week in Moe during school holidays, but that hasn't been able to happen this time. So she and Wombat have been at each other's throats half the time. And because she is used to having that week of one-on-one attention during the holidays, which I just can't give her with Wombat around, she is getting clingy too and I have trouble getting any time to myself at all. All of this plus the fact that George, despite repeated promises to sort things out and stop doing it, is still going up to Sydney at least every second week and the people in the Sydney office are now treating him as a Sydney employee who should be there whenever they say Jump. (Not that they have given him an office, or a desk, or a computer, or a phone line...) And whenever I complain he says he will talk to such-and-such and it will stop - and they have the conversation and he tells me that it will stop, then nothing happens and he tells me I don't understand the politics of it. What I do understand is that it is wearing him out to the extent that I am afraid he is going to have a heart attack, and driving me into a depression that eventually I won't be able to climb out of.

Despite all this we have had some nice times over the holidays. George took a day off on Monday and we went into the city and went to the Museum to see the props used during the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony. Only unfortunately instead of going to see them straight away (it being the supposed reason for out visit) George insisted on us going round most of the Museum first, until Wombat was on a verge of a wobbly, and then we had to race around the exhibition in five minutes flat. It;s a great museum (I hadn't been to it since it moved into the new building) and I really enjoyed it, but I think we should have done things the other way round. We took three boys who are friends of ours and it worked really well, as everyone had someone to keep them company without fighting. The alarming thing is that these kids (they have a little sister too, who we didn't take as the car only has seven seats) and our kids look sufficiently alike to pass for siblings, and the various heights (more so than the actual ages) made them look as though they could just be all the one family. Scary thought!!

Knittingwise - I am three quarters of the way through a second sock; I have been working on my Project Spectrum project for March, the pink Kid Silk Haze Trinket scarf; the Diamond Patch jumper has not been touched for about four weeks; I am making a hat for Beyond Blue, or rather the Blue Hat Project, which is an exhibition and then charity auction for our deperession charity; and I have made a turquoise curly whirly for Baby Bear which i must photograph. I probably won't finish Trinket by the end of March because we are having a late burst of hot weather and KSH is horrible to use in hot weather - and I can't even use it sitting in front of a fan because it is so featherweight that it blows around and annoys me!! But I have vowed to start and mostly work on a project for each month of Project Spectrum in the relevant colour/s.

And now to get the pizza dough out of the breadmaker and make pizza!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Use What You Have

OK, this is going to be a hard one. Inspired by Simple Sparrow and Whip Up (see my side bar for URLs) I am going to endeavour to use the month of April to Use What I Have. No craft purchases FOR A WHOLE MONTH and to use things that I already have to make something. I will only buy stuff if I absolutely need it for the course (every week we are given a list of things to bring for next week, some of which I have and some of which I don't). I was momentarily worried about Project Spectrum for April, which is Yellow and Orange, becasue they are colours I don't normally use. But I will take photos of appropriate things around the place, and I do have some mostly orange sock wool that I was planning to use anyway.

What a challenge!!!

F is for Fabric

Over the years I have accumulated quite a lot of fabric of one sort and another. I used to make most of my own clothes. I don't really now, because I have branched off in other directions and found that I was resenting the time it took me to do dressmaking. So now I buy most of my clothes and have pretty much decided to have a holiday from dressmaking.

I used to dabble in patchwork. I have a goodly accumulation of patchwork fabrics. But I discovered that I hate, and am not good at, quilting, so I gave up on patchwork. That fabric won't be wasted though, there are lots of smaller projects that don't need proper quilting that I plan to do in good time.

And lots of that fabric can find other uses, too. I am now constantly on the lookout for interesting background fabrics for embroidery - which is what this lot of four is for.

The funny thing is, when I started the Studio Stitch course I went in there not really wanting to do embroidery - I wanted to use scrumbling as much as possible. But I have rapidly become quite obsessed with embroidery and keep reading books about it and even dreaming of projects I could do. Posted by Picasa

F is for Fleece

I have lots of greasy wool fleece stuffed away in the shed. My MIL has lots and lots and LOTS more greasy fleece waiting for me to use. I adore dyeing my own yarn. My spinning is not great but I like to use the results in scrumbling, whre it doesn't matter if they are even or perfect.

This is the first dyed fleece that I have bought. I dom't know if I will spin it or use it for other things. I also bought a couple of needlefelting needles at the same time. I would like to try needlefelting, both to make 3D objects and to try putting down stuff on fabric to embroider over. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

I've decided that for each month of Project Spectrum I am going to take photos of things in the appropriate colours - as already posted - as I have found this to be a great way of starting to look at the things around me. (The course is starting to make me look at EVERYTHING differently!!)

But I am also going to do at least one project per month that also corresponds with the relevant colour/s. This is Trinket by Kim Hargreaves, which is going to be so beautiful when it is finished! I lashed out and bought the kit, which is the only way you can get the pattern. I will probably use other yarns to knit it again and again as it is so pretty. It's easy to knit, too, and once you have memorised the pattern (quite quickly!) it is perfect TV knitting, but it looks so clever because it is on the diagonal! However, I have a confession to make. After lusting after Rowan Kid Silk Haze for the past couple of years, and taking out a second mortgage to buy this lot plus another three balls of a different colour, I am forced to admit that I don't think it is worth the money!! It is very nice, certainly, but when I put it against my neck it itches. A bit of a disadvantage with a scarf! But I can wear scarves so that they don't touch the skin on my neck (it doesn't get cold enough here to really need them wrapped tightly around for warmth). It is a sweet yarn and comes in delectable colours and looks cute knitted up - but I don't think I will be buying it again. I can just see this pattern knitted up in a lovely laceweight that doesn't have mohair in it. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that I just can't wear mohair against my skin, no matter how expensive and desirable it is!! Posted by Picasa

Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Project Spectrum - March - Red/Pink

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Friday, March 10, 2006

My I Cord So-Called Scarf

I am feeling a bit embarrassed about my ISE scarf. After being so late in sending it off, I'm not even sure that the lovely recipient likes it! I suppose it was a bit left of centre. It was an experiment and I don't personally think it was a very successful one. I didn't even take a photo of it myself, as I had taken so long to organise to send it off, and at the last minute the camera battery was flat and I didn't dare miss the posting opportunity.

Just in case anyone else wants to reproduce my experiement and maybe make a better fist of it than me:

My I Cord So-Called Scarf

Choose a selection of yarns in a colour scheme that you like. I put ten I cords into this, each one in a different yarn. They can be all the colours of the rainbow, or harmonising, or complementary, or clashing - I made it a good mixture of colours and textures but some people (including, I fear, poor Marji!) would find it too busy that way.

Choose an approximate length for your scarf, erring on the generous side. You could make a short one, of course, buyt you won't be able to do as much with it afterwards.

Make ten I cords in approximately this length. Don't have them all identical. I used 5mm dpns (US size 8) and six stitches for each one, and as the yarns were not uniform this gave different thicknesses of I cord. You could use an I cord machine but I think they only take fine yarns - which would be lovely, too!

When you are done, lay them out flat on a large flat surface like a bed. Play with them, arrange them, intertwine them, until you like the arrangement. Then catch them together carefully in quite a lot of places with a few stitches using sewing thread, and make some of those intersections with beads or buttons, if you like. You want it to hold together, but to have plenty of gaps left over.

Now you can wear it as you will. Wrap it around, pull one end through a hole, pull the other end through another hole, wrap it around your head - decorate it more, scrumble all over it, whatever!

I am going to be making myself one, so when that is done I will take photos and demonstrate some of the ways it can be worn. In the meantime, look at Marji's picture and imagine!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Playing with Picasa 2

This is the four photos that went into the spooky montage.

I feel a desire to play with photo software coming on!!! Posted by Picasa

Playing with Picasa 1

I thought I would experiment a bit with Picasa's collage functions. I really like this result, it looks a bit spooky! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

E is for Embroidery

This is the first stitched piece I did for my course, a couple of weeks ago. It is the first time I have ever done this type of embroidery - I have done squillions of cross stitch and woolwork pieces, and know how to do most embroidery stitches, but I had never done this sort of 'free' embroidery before. I am actually quite pleased with it and I'm glad to say that my tutor was too! We are now doing a stitched piece every week - the next one is appliqued, as is the one I have to finish off this week. And I think the next assignment is an applique too. Can you tell I am having fun!!! Posted by Picasa