the quilty cowgirls

I’ve had this fabric for AGES.  Been promising it to Abigail for AGES.  Done nothing with it for AGES.  Oy, I’m slack.

This is something I really am working on at the moment.  My head runneth over with ideas for all things stitchy and, as one who struggles keeping anything to herself, I’m always talking about doing this and doing that.  Then what was a great idea is swamped by the next round and things don’t eventuate.

I need to focus on what’s in front of me – enjoy the process of creation, let it come together at it’s own pace and stay in that moment.  Maybe I need a journal – Sue Spargo recommended that – somewhere to draw and note and explore.  Somewhere to order my thoughts and slow them down.  Hmmm … well, back to today’s sweet project.


This is the beginning of Abby’s quilty cowgirls … a quilted pillowcase.


with linen band … the colours in this project are really pretty – all soft and gentle and … pretty. I especially like the cocoa-y brown with the pink.


embroidered name … I love “writing” with my needle – and I love embroidering using the crochet cotton I found in Mum’s sewing cupboard.  My ball is getting smaller and smaller … I’ll have to find some more.


and dandelions …. I’m very inspired by Beth Krommes’ beautiful snowflakes in Grandmother Winter.  Wonderful opportunities for Christmas decorations.


and gorgeous cowgirls.


Aren’t they something!  Makes me want to watch Cat Ballou – I haven’t seen that in years.  I remember loving it as an older child – around Abby’s age.  Oh I laughed so hard it made me wheezy.  And I thought it was so romantic.  When we’re finished stitching cowgirls, perhaps Abby and I will curl up on the sofa with them, and we’ll watch Cat Ballou together.  Of course, she mightn’t laugh – she seems more sophisticated than I was as a child :-)

sitting in the sun jeans

Brisbane doesn’t really do winter.  We have cool mornings (14 – 16 degrees), cool nights (usually below 10) but by the middle of the day, it’s not uncommon for the thermometer to hit 23 – 24, but usually it’s around 20!  Nor does Brisbane do autumn and it doesn’t do much spring either.  Our autumn and spring kind of happen during each winter day. (Of course, at this moment you may be asking, well what’s with all the knitting!  Just call me permanently romantic/hopeful)


Since being sick, I’ve been doing a lot of sitting around in the winter sun – and it’s been very pleasant indeed.  So pleasant, it got me thinking about comfy clothes for sitting in the sun.  Enough coverage to cope with cool mornings and cool evenings (throw on a shawl or cardie) but a wee bit of “bare” so as to not steam in the midday sun.


And so we have “sitting in the sun jeans”.  Also perfect for wearing for beach picnics – easy to fold up and paddle.  Ideal for muddy strolls out to little King Island – easy to fold up and trudge.  And cheerful for school deliveries, shopping, stitching with friends, chores – I guess they could even add an element of delight to vacuuming.  Nah!  That’s too optimstic.


Like so many of our quilts, these sitting in the sun jeans will speak to me of all the things I’ve made – I just have to look down and I can see quilts, receiving blankets, pillowcases, pyjamas, bunting, birthday bags, curtain trims … this makes me happy.

Let me know if you would like to make some sitting in the sun jeans and I will do a little tutorial (I promise – remember, I’m recovering from my procrastination habit).  They are super easy and not too time consuming.  I made mine this morning before I visited Carolann for lunch.  Yes, I know, I was late.  But that was because it was a learning project.  I’m all learnt now and so can pass this onto any sitting in the sun hopefuls :-)

cast on – bind off

I’ve been eyeing this off for a while – I mean truly, how could anyone resist such a wonderfully huge hank of wool!  So I brought some home.  And put it to good use – Berroco’s Nimbus .


So, this morning, after Mum and Abby left for school, and the dishes were done, the beds made, … but I have to confess, I didn’t make it to the shower – I decided to just knit up the garter stitch band …


and that was such fun, I decided to do some of the stockinette body … and that was so fun, I decided to knit up to the armhole …


and then, I love decreasing, so I thought I would do just the decreasing rows … and once that was done, well – there were only 40 stitches left so it only took an hour to knit 8 inches up to the shoulder shaping …


… time to bind off!  And admire the pretty canisters that arrived in the mail today – aren’t they sweet!  They’re aluminium and the little knobs on top are bakelite.


I was going to use them to store stitching notions, but they’re too lovely to hide in the sewing cupboard, so into the kitchen they go.


shaving yaks

And there I was thinking I was winding blue bottle tails.


Good thing Julian was here to redirect me.


See, in a burst of post-pneumonia energy, I tidied the bedroom floor.  That’s right.  Not the chest, or drawers, or dresser, or the corner between the wardrobe and drawers that is piled as high as head.  Just the floor.  And guess what!  There was a rug under it.  And floor space.


Not that the fabric and bits and bobs was ON the floor.  Nope – it was in all three laundry baskets and a couple of shoe boxes.  That’s why I had to tidy.  Everybody else was tired of balancing wet washing in their arms whilst hanging it out.  I suppose that’s reasonable.


At the bottom of one of the laundry baskets was a skein of hand spun, hand dyed wool I bought ages ago at the Stitches and Craft Fair.  It had turned into a giant tangle and was in dire need of rescue – and the tidying couldn’t be finished until the wool was tidy so …


Julian says that’s what is called “shaving the yak”.  So be it. :-)  And these are post-tidy muffins.  More of the reward yourself when you’ve done what you’ve been procrastinating over for months.  It’s still working well.


The cold that turned into a chest and sinus infection has turned into pneumonia.  What a fun three weeks I’ve had.  So many tissues, so many antibiotics, so many sleepless nights, so much COUGHING!


So, for the past three days, I’ve been sitting quietly in the sun, napping on the sofa, wishing for energy.  And when I have a little, I’ve been doodling on some linen …


it’s a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that Abby and I read the other morning over breakfast and are challenging each other to memorise.


I was hoping that slowly stitching its words and rays each day would give me a distinct advantage.  But no, she still has to set me off for verse two.  Why is that?


And for when I’m to blah to stitch, I have these lovely new treasures to read …


oh my goodness, I think I shall start a swatch book, just so I can knit all these lovely patterns!  Wouldn’t that be fun – it could be something that accumulates slowly, year after year.


And this – ahhhh …. I’m truly smitten by Krommes beautiful art work.  I spend hours poring over the illustrations – so much detail.  And the poem is so peaceful.


And this – this is what a sick lily gets when she sends her man out for thread – isn’t he a dear one.  Now I want to stitch samplers as well as swatches.

Oh and I have just finished a wonderful novel – The Coroner’s Lunch by Colin Cotteril – oh my goodness what a fabulous read.  It is set in Laos in 1975 and is about Dr. Siri – the only coroner in Laos – it’s a mystery series.  Talk about atmospheric, wonderful character development, witty writing and fascinating detail.  I have other novels beside my bed but all I want is to head back to Vientiane, Laos.  Maybe Julian will indulge me tomorrow :-)

check the sky – there must be pigs flying

Abby is at a sleepover birthday part tonight – and guess what.  The party started at 4pm and the birthday present – a mushroom sprite pod – was finished at 11.30am.  Check that dear reader.  11.30am.  Four and a half hours before the party commenced.  :-0


This is a first for me – truly!  I am the QUEEN of the last minute rush.  I have seriously sent Abby to a birthday party with Julian and showed up an hour later with the present.  It’s almost an illness.   But now, Julian bought this book about procrastination – why we do it, what forms it takes, how to work around it.  I haven’t read it – I’m procrastinating on that – but Julian has and he has not only left it by the bed to seep into my subconscious thought whilst I sleep, but has passed the odd snippet on.


And one of them was to fully recongise the disability and use tools to trick yourself into getting around it.  So instead of saying, I’m going to knit for a few hours in the morning sun with a few cups of tea and then I’ll get stuck into the bag; I said, I’m going to make the bag and then reward myself all afternoon by doing what I want.  And I’ll feel good!


And it worked!  I sat down first thing at the sewing table.  Drew, cut, stitched, and voila.  Finished at 11.30am.  Then I got to knit, to embroider, to work on a quilted pillowcase for Abby, chat with my sister in Canada, chat with Carolann (we’ve both been so unwell we haven’t seen each other for over a WEEK!)  and there were no feelings of guilt, or panic or despair.


‘Cause that present was done and wrapped.  Very cool.  And the sprite pod – it’s super cute.  I love this pattern.

mrs. weasley pretty


I took your kind advice today, found a warm place in the sun, snuggled up under the dandelion stole, and let the day potter by quietly and peacefully whilst I worked at finishing my replacement shawl (the first one ended up around Nanny’s shoulders).


It’s a combination of Laura Chau’s Simple yet Effective Shawl – I really enjoyed knitting this shawl so followed her instructions for the increasing – and Orlane’s Recipe for a Textured Shawl.  I just love the stitch she uses in this shawl – and then added some more texture on top.


Some textured stocking stitch, and two bands of a very wide basket weave which I then popped buttons on.  The button idea was inspired by the cape in here (check out the back cover!).  And then I added a Cinnarbar edge to the Malabrigo kettle dyed worsted … oh dear!  I don’t know what shade of pink it is!  I threw away all the tags!  Is it Pagoda, Damask or Dusty?  Hmph.


This is glorious wool – it has an almost felted quality and a lovely subtle variegation to the the colour and texture.  Oh and the pink in the fringe is a Debbie Bliss Tweed.  So pretty. So delicate.


And the Mrs. Weasley bit  – w-e-e-e-e-ll – I have to confess, I secretly love Mrs. Weasley’s sense of style and home decorating.  I adore layers of colour and pattern and clutter and prettiness and eccentricity.  I would love to live in the Burrow and have my needles knitting away in the corner.  :-)

And if I cannot be Mrs. Weasley, I would be happy to take up Professor Sybil Trelawney‘s position!  I even went dressed as her to the last Harry Potter Book Launch – teacup and all – and even got to read our esteemed Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd’s, tea leaves.  All very funny!  Of course, the funniest bit is, I didn’t have to buy anything new or visit the thrift store for my costume – much to my mother’s dismay, my own everyday clothes were just perfect! :-)


So now I have a bona-fide Mrs. Weasley shawl.  Only someone else is wearing it.


She says she will return it when her poncho is done.  Huh!  I’ll just wait till she goes to bed.

what to do with sweet lions

Thanks for all the garden quilt love!  It makes my morning when I get up and my mail box is full of your lovely comments and wishes.  :-)


I bought a dear little 30cm of fabric from Amite when they visited Brisbane a few months ago for the Quilters’ Show.  As with other story telling pieces of fabric, I have spent many weeks looking at it, pulling it out from the stash, wondering what to do with it, and then putting it away again because I don’t want to chop it up and lose its sweetness.


Today, I finally jumped in.  Adding the rich, bright fabrics that are still on the table following Sunday’s garden quilt, I cut the lion fabric into 3 1/2 inch squares so as not to waste a millimitre and stitched them into very simple little blocks.


There were not enough sweet lions to “fill” the 7 x 7 square, but that’s okay.  I just added some lovely French blue and Momo’s Wonderland for the corners.


I’m almost out of the orange Wee Play.  I did have over 3 metres to start with – there’s now only 40cm left!  I’m always a bit wistful when I use up all of a fabric I love, but fortunately, there’s always a new fabric to take its place.  And it’s not usually a “new” fabric, but one that has sat quietly on the shelf, smiling shyly each time I pass it, until one day I realise how wonderful it is – and then it comes home to take its place as the “must-use-in-every-quilt-I-stitch” fabric!  Obsessive or loyal?  :-)

I just love how the colourful borders form little paths and corners and appreciate the clean lift the white floral West Hill provides.  Very crisp and what a hand to that fabric – so beautiful to touch.


I think I shall machine quilt it – haven’t yet decided between stippling, of which I’ve done none for ages so it would be a good opportunity to practice, or a concentric square.  Hmmmm … I think the concentric square could be too much – it would probably be so strident that the gentleness of the paths and corners would be swallowed up.  Stippling it is.

I have 30cm of pirate fabric – not the Johnny Depp look alike stuff – but a really quaint Japanese one – very sweet – it may look good in a similar layout.  Now I’ll just have to get to the store to buy some backing and batting – one day, when I have a sewing room, I shall keep a whole ROLL of each!  Won’t that be indulgent.


But first, I have to lose the chest infection, sinus infection and bout of asthma that have been plaguing me for over a week now – excuse me whilst I go stick my head over yet another steaming bowl of menthol!

the back garden quilt


There’s a new quilt here.


The brown fabric has been beckoning for some time and I wanted to create something that was resolutely cheerful and vibrant, full of energy and sparkle.


Actually, I was greatly inspired by some antique Amish quilts – hence the design – which obviously are never to be found in fabrics of such patterns, but they are often in amazingly rich colour combinations that just take your breath away.


I was thinking this quilt would be for the spare ‘oom, when we get one.  But once I laid it on the grass to show Abby and Mum, it sang out to me that its true calling is as a lovely quilt to cart into the back garden with some pillows, a novel or some stitching, some cookies or fruit, and soak away the afternoon in the wonderful winter sun.


Abby suggested she try it out and look at that.!  Perfect!


Until the living, breathing critters arrived … :-)

to start the day


in the early cool of morning
the soft white light pours down upon me.

smooth my cheeks with your rosiness

add your sparkle to my eyes

let your warmth permeate my voice

and fill me with your strength

so that I may fully live this day.

bit of knitting :: bit of shopping

Ahhh now, I’ll let you in on a secret.  I’m completely besotted with knitting at the moment.  Thanks to the Tangled Yarn and Ravelry, I have been accumulating stash and patterns like there’s no tomorrow.  I have PILES of wool near every comfy sitting spot in the house, and of course, knitting in the take-along bag.  On the needles are crowns and dolls and a sweater for Julian and more handwarmers for Abby and handwarmers for Carolann and lace and a poncho for Abby.  I’m longing to start a cardie for me – but am resisting the pull – and settling instead for this …


… knitted in this, that is.  It’s my first play with kettle dyed Malabrigo merino and it’s so very beautiful and soft.  It’s very hard to photograph my quickly-knitting-up-shawl ’cause it’s on a circular needle and just looks – well, lumpy.  So it will be a few more days.

But I have buttons for it.


See?  The sales assistant was a BIT dismissive about buttons for my shawl.  In fact, she was a tad incredulous and then a tad patronising.  Hmph!  She’s just lacking in imagination.

Or maybe we had ticked her off because Abby had bought just 20cm of a gorgeous Australian mohair.  And I was going to buy some glorious brown wool for a skirt – and then put it back.  I did, however, buy $36 worth of buttons.  I don’t really know how – sounds ridiculous, but I did.

Abby has already put her mohair to good use – some for the ghostly girl …


… and some for her.


And I bought patterns – Vogue patterns on sale for $12 each!  Goodness!  I haven’t bought a Vogue pattern in YEARS ’cause they are so expensive.  I have hopes that there will be some dressmaking on the weekend.  Hopefully.

I also bought this …


… so’s I could adapt this …


… into a sleeping bag.  I have searched and searched and searched – I wanted a sleeping bag that had a lovely simple bag bottom with a plain yoke for buttoning.  Perfect … now I have to head back to the wool store to buy more wool. :-)  And I bought it from Harry – who was singing James Blunt in the back of the store whilst reshelving children’s books and then had a fascinating conversation with me at the counter about babies’ skeletons – do you know, they don’t grow knee caps until they are between 2 and 5 years old.  Harry is studying radiology and he loves babies.  I pointed him out to Abby – discretely of course – I said, “Abby when you are older and searching for a nice fellow to bring home – bring a Harry.  He sings, likes babies, knows about knitting, can recommend a good novel and is studying radiology.”  Honestly, what more could you want :-0

winter days

brisbane style … cool mornings, mild sunny days … and it’s school holidays.


:: hunting earthworms ::


:: tinkering ::


:: trying out fabric and thread ::


:: enjoying our river ::


:: lunching with friends ::


:: gathering the bounty of mum’s pruning ::


:: heading off on adventure ::