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Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 To Do List; or How Much I Actually Got Done

  • Declutter house (underway)
  • Get garden sorted
  • Get to a healthy 60kg by eating sensibly and exercising
  • Knit 12 items minimum
  • Pay off revolving mortgage
  • Reduce screen time for boys
  • Sew 26 items minimum
  • Work on king sized quilt

    So that's the list; some of them we did, other's we didn't.
  • Declutter House:  Got started, then re-cluttered and then restarted
  • Get garden sorted:   Partway there, still a long way to go
  • Get to a healthy 60kg:   This one did not happen yet, now that I'm running it should start to happen.
  • I knit a total of 15 items this year, including my first ever steeked item; so this one I achieved!
  • Revolving credit is currently at nil, but that will change when the next payment for the new garage is due; we will be concentrating on this in the coming year.
  • Screen time is up and down, but I think overall it's reduced a little
  • Hmm, I think it's closer to 11 than 26, but then when I'd planned this I didn't expect it to be so hard to get anything done while the repairs were being done.   I did however get 2 rooms painted which I think is equivalent to several items of clothing, plus a lot of repairs to items and fit adjustments.
  • The king sized quilt has been in the drawer all year; I think I've lost my quilting mojo for a bit so I'll do this when it comes back.

    All in all I'm not unhappy with how I did, but am aware I could have done a lot more.  I got a reasonable amount of spinning done though and did learn to weave so those are things that weren't on the list.

    This year I have a small list of things I want to get done aside from my goals for the year that I posted earlier.
  • Knit at least one pair of socks for each person in the house
  • Knit at least one jersey for me
  • Knit at least two shawls
  • Finish my eighteenth century outfit
  • Maybe make a quilt for the couches of my parents, IL's, SIL and possibly BIL.  This one is only if the mojo comes back though.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas review

A pretty good day despite my lack of sleep; we got to bed at midnight but the neighbours got to bed sometime after 4.45am on Christmas morning.    I woke up at 6.52am, so was running on approximately 2 hours of quality sleep.    Could explain why I found lunch a little harder than normal and why I got grumpy when we tried to leave lunch to go home and delays kept cropping up.    I also got more than ordinarily annoyed at Dh when he left the door and then the gate open and let out SIL's neurotic dog.  He's a rescue dog and tends to bolt when given the opportunity.  We did get him back, but unfortunately it has reinforced Dh's belief that dogs are a pain.

I started the day well at least; did my Christmas run and came home and told Dh I needed proper running shoes ASAP.   The boys loved their stocking contents (books, M&M's, bubble mix and stickers); they really loved their main present (a new bike each) and then it was topped off with book vouchers from my parents.
The new bikes which were taken straight out for a ride at our local school.

Then off to MIL's where they got t-shirts and a game or book from their aunt, more books from grandma and grandad plus a construction toy each too.   We got a very cool windchime which is still in it's box due to the weather, I also got some very nice gardening gloves and Dh got a LOTR chess set which has seen several games already.
See the pretty gloves?  Much nicer to look at than my normal ones.

This will look much better out of the box, and in focus; I promise!

Boxing day saw us head out to The Colombo to get me new running shoes (my birthday present from Dh); tried them out this morning and after an initial case of more pain than the old ones they settled down pretty quickly and my feet feel better now than they did before the run!   I'm also now halfway through the C25K and have been out in both rain and shine so far.  Feeling pretty good about it so far and looking forward to being fitter and getting more energy too.
My new, rather garish Asics shoes.   I've ordered a drinks holster and a lightweight rainproof jacket too which should be all I need.
I've also got a package to open from Dh which I know includes yarn and a skein winder, plus the Vintage Purls Christmas club that I might have bought by accident (no judging here, was ordered before the yarn embargo starts)
I haven't eaten any of it yet!   Love the yarn colour.
Not much knitting going on right now, hands and arms are still complaining after the socks I was knitting for Dh in my last post; those have now been frogged due to the pain issues with them and the fact that they didn't fit right once the heel was done.  I do have a new pair on the needles for him, which is in fingering weight and much less hard on the hands.   Still taking it easy though.

Spinning wise, I've finished spinning the mystery man-made fibre from the Advanced Spinning group into quite a nice 3-ply yarn.   Really happy with it and looking forward to finding out what it was.   It goes a bit funny with heat and moisture (spinning on a warm day with sweaty hands), but still has a nice sheen.  I'm suspecting maybe it's a corn based fibre.
I do love me a nice 3-ply; despite the extra effort required.
Now I think it's time to get back to cleaning up the sewing room, it is improved somewhat but still a wee way to go.    Then I want to pin-fit the bodice lining for my polonaise.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holidays and plans

Well it's now the school holidays and the boys have had more e-tertainment than I wanted, but significantly less than they wanted.    I'm trying to frantically knit a pair of socks for Dh for Christmas and am not even halfway through the first sock yet.  It's DK, but I think really it's closer to worsted weight and is coming out really dense; and hard on the hands.  I want to get it finished so I can get back onto my colourwork socks and a fingering weight jersey or cardi for me.   Plus there's G's second sock to do too.

Over halfway up the foot at least.

I've cut out the lining for my polonaise, but got no further due to a lack of space in the sewing room.  As a result I think I need to stop my sewing for a bit so I can find my sewing room.   So, there may not be a finished item for the next challenge.

I've started the C25K again and finished week 3; really enjoying the zombie version.   Only problem is I've got one sore foot, T reckons it's because I'm not used to running; I don't know what caused it but it's bloody annoying!     Still going to continue though; I'd love to be able to run for 5k's without stopping.   Should be easier once I'm over this cold too, running does knock loose some of the crap in my lungs which is definitely good.   One question though, in what universe is it fair to get hit with hayfever while suffering from a cold?

Garage is now awaiting the blocklayer who should be starting on 13th January; then the actual build of the metal and wood parts will start on 27th January; we'll be all done by the end of February and then the driveway can be laid.    We'll be lifting the old cobbles and using them to make raised beds and a few other bits and pieces; a friend wants some too which will mean we'll have less to find homes for after it's all done.

The finished slab; the end closest is my craft room

We're getting to that point in the year when I start thinking about what I want to achieve next year and have come up with a few things I want to concentrate on.

1.  Fitness - C25K is a big part of this, but I want to improve my diet as well; no point in that till Christmas is over but will continue the running, even on Christmas day.

2.  Financial - I want to continue saving money, I'm currently saving up for a new sewing machine and also a cutting thing for T.    Also will be wanting to make a big dent in the mortgage we'll have once the building is finished and of course some work that we need to do on the house (repaint roof, replace shower) which will be expensive.   Ultimately I'd like to double glaze too, but that'll be nasty expensive.

3.  Crafting - I want to make this the year of "craft from stash".   There may be exceptions; for a start if anyone gives me a voucher I can use that, also if something I'm making needs an item I don't have in stash I can get that too (for example if a zipper is needed and I don't have one in the right colour or one that's long enough).  But no more buying things to add to stash, if it's not going to be used right away I don't buy it.

I think that's enough for the moment, if I have too many plans nothing will get done, but 3 seems like a good number to me.   It's the number my gran always considered lucky too.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Elm Street Socks

All finished and I'm really pleased with them.   They won't get worn for a couple of days due to what I've got to get done.    Today I'm installing the new letterbox and tomorrow despite my cold I'm determined to do my C25K run.

Aren't they pretty?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Challenge #25: 1 metre

Historical Sew Fortnightly
Challenge #25: One Metre

Fabric: Silk playsilk, cut down as too big originally.

Pattern: None

Year: 1776

Notions: silk thread

How historically accurate is it? Pretty good I think, mostly handsewn, though I did use some of the existing hem on it when I cut it to size. Fabric was a playsilk and the thread is silk. I'd say 90%

Hours to complete: 2

First worn: Not yet

Total cost: nil, all from very old stash
The blurry white thing around the neck is my challenge item.
 Obviously my phone camera didn't focus as well as I thought.   It turned out pretty well though, the original playsilk was rather too big so I cut it down, keeping 2 sides hems to reduce the workload; then re-hemmed the remaining sides.

Still to do:
- replace the plastic tubing in the panniers with steel boning
- make mitts
- make stockings (a lot of knitting for this one!)
- make the polonaise (still working on blowing it up onto hand-drawn graph paper)
- embellish said polonaise (going to try tambour on this, just got myself a needle holder and 
  needles,  plus some beads that I have to string)
- some sort of headgear; will require research first.
In other news our garage slab is mostly done; the guy is finishing it off as I type, but this is what it looked like a couple of hours ago
Prior to power floating.
School is almost done for the year; one week to go and both boys have lots of swimming stuff happening.   Ian's special teacher is done for the year and we won't see her again as she's been reassigned; very sad as she was lovely.    She was in tears on the last day.  She did like her gift though, as did all the teachers and teacher aides working with my boys
Blurry photo of moisturising bar.   Very easy to make, but incredibly effective too.
I will make another batch once I get some more coconut oil, this lot will be for my female relatives.

Still working on knitting socks too.   George's first plain vanilla sock is finished, it fits and is comfy but "too hot for summer mum"; so the second isn't urgent and I'll cast on for it once I've finished my test knit socks and one pair of colourwork socks too I think.    Next knit planned is a shawl Aurora Australis for me in red; I need a red shawl.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

1776 skirt

The Challenge: #24 Re-do

The Challenge you are Re-do-ing:   #14 Eastern Influence

Fabric:  Recycled sari

Pattern:  the tutorial for a petticoat on Koshka-the-cat's blog

Year:  1776

Notions:  linen tape, polyester thread

How historically accurate is it?  Aside from the machine sewing and poly thread pretty accurate; I'd say 90%.   There is some wear on the sari, so the skirt looks like it's been worn and some very genuine stains too!

Hours to complete:  4

First worn:  Not yet.

Total cost:  $20 including fabric and linen tape

Next up is the polonaise and fichu to complete the outfit.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Distractions and Socks

I seem to have been distracted of late by things like this:
Planting the vege patch - peas, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and zuchinni

Removal of the old garage slab

Was fun to watch

Children playing outside

EQC are paying for this to be removed due to earthquake damage

And be replaced with this instead; I'm expecting the grout on this to behave much better as they're all stuck down properly, and they're pretty.
Have been trying to get a date for the new slab to go down; was told around Show Weekend, which is over a week ago now.    Will ring again tomorrow and hopefully get hold of the guy.   Also got a replacement letterbox and have painted the numbers on it (due to having problems in the past with people removing the metal ones) and also have a new wheelbarrow to put together; yay!

I've also been re-reading the whole Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, just wish the later ones had a little less explicit sex as the actual stories are really enjoyable.  Reading tends to cut into the knitting time, as does re-doing the whole computer system 3 times.   Hopefully it's all sorted now though.

Despite all that I have managed to get some knitting done.   I currently have 4 pairs of socks on the needles.   2 of those are colourwork and are also on hold while I finish the other 2.    The first of the others is a test-knit for Valerie of Wandering Cat Yarns; the socks are called Elm Tree Socks, they will come in 2 sizes; be available for sale on and look like this:
Aren't they pretty?
I've cast on for the second one and they are my home knitting at the moment.    My second pair on the needles are a plain pair for eldest in charcoal commercial yarn.   They're my knitting while waiting socks.
I'm also working on the skirt for my eighteenth century outfit.   It's all cut out, just need to do the waist area and it's done.  I've used a second-hand sari in silk with machine embroidery for it; hopefully it looks good when done.   I've got Bonnie (my dressmaking dummy) down to the right size to be me with the stays laced how I wear them so I can use her to fit my polonaise after this.  Need to try and get it all done before the holidays; it's impossible to get cutting out done when there are boys in the house.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Show Day

Today is our regional holiday, many people head off to the show where it costs an arm and a leg to get in and then everything in there is asking for more money.    We decided to head into town instead and see some of the new changes.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Gardens again

The closed conservatory

Rose garden archway with my family

Lovely rose

and another rose

Eldest making the Peace Bell ring

The Pallet Pavilion

Archway sculpture; people bike and walk through this
My feet are complaining a little, but it was a good day; we went to New Regent St and eldest and I spent a little money at the bead shop.  

When we got back I got knitting and am now past the gusset decreases.   I've also decided which fabrics from stash I'm going to use for my eighteenth century polonaise and the petticoat.
The main fabric is a polyester, so not period correct, but it looks right and it's what I've got.   The skirt is a silk sari and quite lightweight so it's just as well there's an under petticoat.
I can't cut it out till Monday though, too hard to do that when the kids are around, so I'll do the petticoat first; then I'll need to try on the undergarments and take my measurements so I can get Bonnie to the right size (she's the red lass on the stand), she's not as squishy as I am so I know the stays aren't sized right on her at the moment.   That way I can use her to fit the actual bodice on the polonaise.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

1770's petticoat

The Challenge: Gratitude

Fabric: Some linen from stash

Pattern:, an excellent tutorial

Year: 1776, the stays are the same era; I mistyped in their challenge.

Notions: Thread (polyester), cotton twill tape

How historically accurate is it? Hmmm, the pattern is I suspect pretty good, fabric ok too, but there's the cotton twill tape and the polyester thread, and it's machine sewn and might have had some contact with the overlocker too; so probably around 70%

Hours to complete: 4

First worn: not worn yet, waiting for the dress

Total cost: all from stash, so was effectively free.

You can tell it's linen from the insane creasing from working with it!
 I loved the tutorial I used, very easy to follow and luckily although my fabric wasn't quite wide enough to use her method by turning everything around and having the lengthwise grain running across the petticoat I managed quite nicely and only had to finish the side seams.

I think Bonnie is slightly different than me on proportions though, the stays sit further down her bust so she's obviously perkier than I am.

Next to make is the actual polonaise and the pretty petticoat to go over this one.   Got to go stash diving for the petticoat fabric though; what I want to use doesn't look like it's period correct unfortunately.

Monday, November 04, 2013


Sore throat, runny nose, post-nasal drip.   I think I'm coming down with a cold, though it could just be nasty hayfever; I guess I'll find out fairly soon.
Oh well, at least I can continue to function with a cold; I think I'll increase the probiotics though, help my immune system along, and no matter what I'm going out and getting a new cellphone tomorrow.   The special I want to take advantage of finishes tomorrow and my current phone has real space issues; not surprising with only 170mb of phone storage and restrictions on what can be moved to the SD card.

Today was spent partly spending some of the money the insurance company gave us for earthquake repairs on the section.    I bought 3 fence posts and most of the hardware we need to replace the damaged posts.   Still have to get them in, but at least they're on the property now and ready to go.

I'm halfway through the heel flap of the sock pattern I'm test knitting.   Loving the way it's shaping up so far, even if this is the second time to knit this bit.  Better that I have to do that than future knitters of the pattern though; would hate to have people put off such a lovely sock.

I have my loom now too, it's beautiful, or will be once I put it together.    Since we have at least 3 months before the garage is available I'm trying to decide whether to put it up now, or leave it till its new home is available.    I actually gave Fran a hug when I picked it up, I'm not normally a huggy person, but this is such a big thing I had to.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

1920's time travel

Today I finished my first outfit from the 1920's.  I don't normally like the fashions from that time simply because I feel a little frumpy without a waist.   However the challenge this time was masquerade and I decided it was the perfect shape for what I wanted to be which was this:
This is a Kakabeak flower which is a New Zealand native.

This is what I came up with:
Colour, check, shape of leaves, check.

And the beaded leaves, this makes me very happy.
The Challenge: Masquerade.
I decided to be a Kakabeak flower which is a NZ native flower, it's a subtle costume simply because if I went the other way I'd never wear it.

Fabric: Peached silk and silk satin both from stash

Pattern: Depew with most of the instructions ignored

Year: 1920's, taking inspiration from and also

Notions: polyester thread from stash and half a tube of glass beads also from stash.

How historically accurate is it? I'd say probably 80%; it's machine sewn for the side seams and shoulder seams which would be accurate, but the poly thread isn't. Also it isn't as OTT as most extant 1920's evening dresses seem to be.

Hours to complete:10 approx, most of that is in the beading.

First worn: For the photoshoot

Total cost: nil, all from stash.
The next challenge is Gratitude and at the moment I'm wavering between making a fichu for my 18th century outfit or the petticoat using a tutorial I found a while ago.    The idea is to use free instructions we've found on the web and to acknowledge the source of those instructions and thank them; hence the gratitude.   In the meantime I'll get back to knitting socks and tomorrow I'll be picking up my loom, plus some books and some practice yarn (like I don't have enough already!)

Thursday, October 24, 2013


Ok, if it's spring, what the hell are we doing with 26 degrees?    It's not even November yet!  The wind came up really fast too, was raining this morning, sudden change to a nor'wester and a headache descended really fast.    Never had a nor'west headache before, would prefer to avoid it in future if possible.
I tried to get some work done, and gave up in the end as it was just impossible to concentrate.  I did at least get the leg finished on my test-knit socks before the change happened, next is the heel flap.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More sickies

Had Ian home the last two days with diarrhea, George was home on Monday with a sore tummy, went to school today, but now also has a milder version of Ian's diarrhea so both will be home tomorrow.   As a result I haven't done my hour's catch up for the design course; had to cancel it.   At least there's no temptation to put them in front of Cartoon Network cos Sky TV is now gone and we just have Freeview.    Considering selling the DVD recorder to replace it with a Blu-ray player as we can plug a hard drive into the Freeview box to record onto if need be.

Tomorrow I have to take some fabric samples back, so Dh will stay home for a very short time so I can do so; thinking groceries may have to be online and I might just have to suck up for the delivery fee.

In good news my FIL has got the trailer warranted so I can go and pick up the loom in 2 weeks.     Also, I have finished my Socks to Walk With and will definitely use the pattern again.
Hermione's Everyday Socks is the pattern
I will in fact be making this using the same yarn again in a different colourway and with probably another 8 pattern repeats which should make them closer to the length I prefer.

Now I can transfer the Chiao Goo needles on to my test knit socks for Valerie; the Knitpro carbon needles are shedding their nickel coating and need to go back for replacement.  Luckily Knitpicks have a good warranty and Morag of Vintage Purls is always great to deal with.   Now to do some more knitting on the test knit; 2 repeats done on the leg already, the original pattern only did 3 repeats total, but I like my socks a little longer; even for summer so I'm doing at least 4, maybe 5.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Oh, wow!

Yesterday might have come close to making up for me getting sick; the illness lasted for over a week and is something I would not wish on anyone!    I missed my design course, but no way was I taking the bug to share even if I could have left the house!  Looks like it reoccurs as well, Ian threw up this afternoon.

Anyway, getting back to yesterday and what happened.   I was reading the guild newsletter and noticed a wee notice tucked in about one of the guild members having a Bartlett 4-shaft 4' countermarche floor loom available for free to a good home.   I've been thinking I'm going to need a floor loom once I've learned a little more about weaving to make T his kilt.    I waited impatiently for him to get home so I could talk to him about it and he agreed I could get it and we'll put it up in the dining room so I can learn to use it until our garage building is ready.    I don't need it yet, but this was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.
At this point of course it was all theory; I ran the lady who had it and was very surprised to find it was the same lady who was running the design course!    We had a good talk, and I've booked in some time to catch up on the course, and she agreed I'd be suitable as a new owner for the loom!  I'll be picking it up early next month and getting to know it.   It's current owner has offered some yarn for practicing to make rugs, and some books as she no longer uses them and it comes with a bench and shuttles plus I think some other bits and pieces, but I'm afraid that by this point I was pretty much in delighted shock and didn't register everything.    Everyone at the guild was delighted for me, and I've had several offers of help if I need it (when I need it), which is definitely appreciated.

Despite being ill I did manage to get some spinning done; I plied the merino
405m of Navajo plied Merino.   Unsure what this will be, but it is lovely and muted.   Navajo plying was the only way to ply it without risking muddying it.
I've also planned what I want to make for the next Historical Sew Fortnightly.   I'm going to the 1920's and making a Vionnet dress in red and green to look a bit like a Kakabeak flower.   My first step is to enlarge the pattern from the Janet Arnold book it's in and then check the sizing.   Then I can check if I have sufficient fabric; if not I'll have to revisit my idea.  I'll be using silk to make the dress, but I'm refusing to buy more than what I already have in stash.

I'm 20 rows off the toe on my Hermione's socks and have just finished the ribbing on the socks I'm test knitting too.

The painter has been and painted the gables and eaves that I couldn't do last summer, not cheap, but worth it I think; looks so much better!   I've got an upholsterer coming to look at our La-z-boy chair, also not cheap, but considering it has memories for me (was my Grandpa's), it's worth it; can't keep putting it off, the fabric is starting to tear.   A new one wouldn't have the same value.   It's currently mustard coloured and will be changing to red; I think Grandpa would approve.   We're not recovering the lounge suite though, we don't like the style much and it's not that comfy either.

Oh, and apparently our garage consent has been approved; we're still waiting on written confirmation, but the bill has arrived (more than we expected), once written approval arrives then I hope to get a time frame.    I'm thinking after Christmas though as they have to manufacture the parts first which will take a few weeks.  So in the meantime we're trying to save (the above has not helped) and have cancelled the newspaper and Sky which we weren't using enough to justify the monthly spend.   Have a freeview box coming, and I've put some yarn up for sale, some of it is already on hold, but quite a bit left if you're interested.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Feeling ick

So no knitting or sewing so far this week, a little spinning which I have to wash before I photograph.   Ian got it first, but for him one vomit and all was well.   I've been feeling nausea, headache and sore neck for 4 days now; hoping it won't go for too much longer, especially as Thomas is now coming down with it too.   No housework done, though it's been raining for days so couldn't wash anyway.   I am washing today, finally some sun today though it's freezing!
Painter arrived this morning to wash down the eaves and gables I hadn't already done; all the high ones that I can't get to.   He's hoping to paint it all on Monday; wonder if I can persuade him to silicon seal the conservatory while he's up there?

Monday, October 07, 2013

A wonderful weekend

I got virtually no sleep as the bunks were incredibly noisy and uncomfortable and it was too warm for my sleeping bag to work well, but aside from that there was great food (thank you Tanya), excellent company and lots of sewing, knitting and spinning.
My spinning

In action, the colours are brighter in real life; the fibre is Merino and not quite finished yet.

Joanne's spinning, this was Perendale

Joanne's Polwarth that she finished

Leanne's quilt, this is the back and is for her daughter.

The front of Leanne's quilt

The back of Louise's quilt; it's cowboy themed and this was her first go at free-motion quilting.

Isn't it cool?

The front of Louise's quilt.

I took these photo's after I got home, this is my 1770's panniers.

And this is my paisley shawl which is based on the Kashmiri shawls of the late 18th century and early 19th century.
We went to Lindisfarne which is near Cave, inland from Timaru.   Wonderful hall, pity about the sleeping accommodation.  We'll likely go back though cos the hall makes up for the sleeping issues.
I also got the gusset finished on my travel sock; but nothing done on my colourwork socks.  No knitting on the drive either, was too busy yacking and watching the scenery, interspersed with stops at various crafty shops.

Before I went this was how far I'd got on my Behind the Garden Wall socks
Knit in Wandering Cat Yarns Tabby Cat; the orange isn't that bright in real life.
I also did a swatch for my next jersey
Paton's Jet; been in the stash a very long time.
And I got my new glasses
Nice purple ones.
Hopefully tomorrow the boys and I will get some sewing done if work isn't busy.  Depends also on how everyone is feeling; Ian got the chucky bug and left his mark in the hall this morning.   He didn't get to go to his holiday programme as a result.   I should have listened to Deb and kept them home, but they had a great time at grandma's and it's entirely possible he actually picked it up from the holiday programme rather than grandad.  We'll never really know.
I'm not feeling 100% either, but that's likely to be simply due to the lack of sleep.

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