Thursday, October 25, 2012

The frog pond experience

Frogged Knitting

The frog, who had been stretched out on his lily pad enjoying the sunshine and a dirty martini raised himself up on one green elbow as Jorth materialised in front of him, and looked about her with an expression of complete and utter befuddlement. "Hellllooooo!", he waved as Jorth gave a start.

"A talking frog reclining on a lily pad? Where on earth am I?" she wondered aloud.

"Fear not!", said the frog, hopping on over to her. "Welcome to the frog pond!"

"The frog pond?" said Jorth, wondering if she was going crazy.

"Did you rip out some knitting lately?" probed the frog, with the air of one who has asked these questions before.

"Yes, actually, I did" admitted Jorth.

"Well, then, when you rip it, rip it, you end up in the frog pond!" the frog concluded with a grin.

"Ohhhh!" said Jorth. "Rip it, ribbit. Bad knitting humour. Well, I should feel right at home. Except I don't. How do I leave this place, nice as it is?"

The frog smiled at her, and said "There are many ways and paths out of the frog pond, but each journey is unique. Some find they need to spend time on the Lily Pad of Frustration before they can move on. Others get marooned in the Pond Of Repeated Mistakes. Still others get lost in the Swamps of Too Many WIPs. It can be a complicated thing, this finding your way out business. The first question to ask yourself is how did it feel to be ripping out your project?

"Well", said Jorth, "I made an active decision to rip out my knitting. I'd made a couple of obvious errors, and had miscounted my decreases, and knew that if I continued I would always reproach myself for not going back and fixing my mistakes. Plus I had an inkling that the cardigan I was knitting was going to be far too warm for summer, and would be best put on the back burner as an autumn project." Warming to her theme, under the forgiving eye of the frog, she added in a burst of honesty "And to tell the truth, I was rather pleased with the prospect of starting on a new project."

"Hooray!" said the frog. "You have found the Exit Of No Regrets! It truly is the best way to leave the frog pond. So I suppose I must say now thanks for dropping by, and happy knitting!"

"Er, thanks", said Jorth, her mind already focused on her new project (a cardigan for Tyger) as the frog and his surroundings faded rapidly from her thoughts.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Book review: Labour of Love by Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard

I stumbled across Labour of Love the other day, and immediately knew that I had to have it! It's a collection of knitting patterns for girls from 3 to 8 years, by Danish knitwear designer Vibe Ulrik Sondergaard.

The patterns are exquisite! Sophisticated without being too grown up, these designs are timeless yet also modern.  According to the designer, she wanted to make a collection of knitwear for children that would be functional for active children and be feminine without being too childish.

There are patterns for sweaters, cardigans, skirts, tops - even snoods! I am seriously hankering to pick up needles right this instant and start making all of the below for the Tyger. Swoon! If only that dress came in grown up sizes...

Labour Of Love #1

Labour Of Love #2

Labour Of Love #3

Labour Of Love #4

Labour Of Love #5

Labour Of Love #6

Note: the book is published in America as Lovely Knits for Little Girls. Oh, and in no way is this a sponsored post. I would totally declaim that shiz if it were. Nah, I just really, REALLY like this book and wanted to share :)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to become a green dress

Green Fabric

Once upon a time there was some green fabric that had been bought on a whim, and had long since been stuffed in the sewing bureau and forgotten about. The green fabric tried hard not to live up to her colour's reputation for envy whenever she saw other fabric around her being removed, only to reappear as fabulous frocks days later, but it was getting harder and harder as time went by.

Unbeknownst to her, there was a pattern sitting in the pattern drawer of the very same bureau, sadly sighing and feeling the very same way. Day after day they remained there, undisturbed, each thinking sadly how marvellous it would be if they, too, could meet their perfect project match. All each wanted was to meet the one who could help them fulfil their shared destiny of becoming a dress. Not such a big thing to ask, was it? Yet the weeks and then the months slipped by as still they sat there, oblivious to each other, separated from their futures by a mere shelf of wood.

History will only tell us the facts as they occur, and often the impetus that propelled a fancy into a fact is lost to us forever, so we will never know what propelled Jorth to bring the two together. Did she experience a moment of textile-based psychic intuition? Did she perhaps actually hear their heart-felt sighs? All we know for sure is that on the 16th of October, 2012 Jorth took it upon herself to perform a little sewing matchmaking. Pulling them out of their respective sewing bureau prisons, she introduced the green fabric to McCalls 6320, and was much gratified to see how delightedly they took to each other. Here, at last, was the one they had been waiting for.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Red Lace Cardigan

Red Cardigan #4

Red Cardigan #5

Red Cardigan #6

I was a knitter on a mission. This cardigan had to be done by Saturday, and lookee here - it's only Thursday and it's finished. Hooray! Ironically, the weather for Saturday is looking awfully cool, so the chances are that Tyger probably won't even get to wear it to her godmother's wedding, but care I not. It's finished, and my poor old wrists don't have to wrestle with that bamboo yarn anymore!

I must say, the cardigan has turned out well. It's the perfect weight for summer, and I cannot resist admitting that I am a total sucker for a lovely sweet knit over a summer dress. Even though I didn't really like all the knitting and purling into the back of stitches that this pattern required, I would make it again, as it looks so.darn.cute! However, I would choose a different yarn - the bamboo made my wrists ache as much as cotton does, and was quite splitty to boot.

The Tyger, predicably, LOVES it. Now I come to think of it, the kid has had a pretty darn good run of home made goodies of late. I think it's time to  make something for me!

Project Details
Pattern - Sirdar pattern leaflet #1325
Yarn - 4 balls of Sirdar Snuggly Baby Bamboo DK in shade 126
Size - 6-7 years
Needles - 3.25mm and 4mm

Ravelled here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Putting the 'need' in needles

Knitting

Er, I just have one quick knitting public announcement to make: when you need a pair of needles in a certain size to do the finishing bands of a garment, make sure you haven't already, in your foolish new-knitting-project excitement, commandeered those needles for another purpose.

Not that any of you clever crafty peeps would ever need to be told something so obvious, so basic. Nope, no knitting fools around these parts. Nup, none.at.all.

(races off to put paper bag on head and hide in the corner)

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Pattern review: New Look 6613

It's my best friend's wedding this weekend - hooray! Galumph has a brand new suit, and I've got a right old fancy frock to wear... but what about poor Tyger? She's gotta look spiffy too, especially since the bride is her godmother.

Since she's only going to the wedding itself, and not the reception, I decided that a simple and sweet summer dress would be just the thing. So I pulled out that favourite of ours, New Look 6613. This is the 3rd version of this I've made, and it's a wonderful pattern. It only took me 3 hours to make, from cut out to final hem, which is always a bonus. Teamed with the lacy cardigan I hope to finish this week, it will be dressy enough for this special occasion, but not so fancy that she can't wear it all summer long.

Especially with those crazy sparkly sandals!

Grey Dress #5

Grey Dress #4


Grey Dress #6

Project Details
Pattern - New Look 6613
Fabric - 1.5m of grey and red fabric from the "A Walk In The Woods" collection by Aneela Hoey for Moda Fabrics, purchased from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 12mm elastic

Monday, October 08, 2012

Rhubarb, apple and blood orange compote

Rhubarb

Blood orange

Rhubarb Compote


In my constant bid to get more fruit into my diet, I am continually experimenting with quick and easy fruit recipes, and this has to be the winner so far. It's like eating the most delicious pie filling ever,  without the pastry guilt. And yes, I have been known to gobble up an apple and custard danish in my time, and brazenly call it one of my 7-a-day, which, even I can admit, is really stretching the concept. So for somebody like me, who can look at a platter of fresh fruit with an indifferent shoulder shrug and a "Meh!", a recipe that not only will get me eating fruit but actively look forward to it has to be a very, very good thing.

What - I've finally found a fruit dish I like and you want me to share it with you? Allright, allright, but only the recipe, mind!

Rhubarb, apple and blood orange compote

1 bunch rhubarb, stalks trimmed, cut into 4cm pieces
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
juice of 1 blood orange
2 tablespoons white caster sugar

1 - Place rhubarb, apples, orange juice and caster sugar into a pan with 1/2 cup water.

2 - Bring to the boil, then simmer, covered, for 4 minutes, or until the fruit is tender.

Serve with yoghurt as a snack, or on top of cereal in the morning. That's if there is any left...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Ballerina dress

I've had this idea simmering away in this old noggin of mine for a while, and since today was so warm that I deemed it prudent to keep my scarily lily-white skin inside for fear of sunburn slash frightening strangers it seemed like the perfect time to put the idea into action.

So: I made up a shortened version of a t-shirt for the Tyger, then wrestled with half a metre of double-layered tulle and some jersey, gathering it up to make a skirt which was then attached to the t-shirt. The Tyger, who had her nose stuck in a book, wasn't really paying much attention to what I was doing, but when it was presented to her she dropped the book to the ground, gathered the dress into her arms and slowly said in a tone of delighted disbelief "It's a ballerina dress!" As I grinned and nodded my confirmation dress she began to first chant then squeal it over and over again: "It's a ballerina dress! A Ballerina Dress! A. BALLERINA. DRESS! ABALLERINADRESSABALLERINADRESSABALLERINADRESS!"

Hee hee...I think she likes it!

Ballerina Dress #5

Ballerina Dress #4

Ballerina Dress #6

Project Details
Pattern - T-shirt pattern #19, from Ottobre Design Magazine Summer 3/2011, used as the base, with self-drafted skirt added
Fabric - 1m cotton jersey and .5m American tulle, both from GJ's Discount Fabrics