Category Archives: stashbuster

A little bit dotty

So I am now a Great Aunt. My niece had her first baby, a girl, this morning. A lovely healthy tall baby with the chubbiest cheeks ever. There’s nothing like being a Great Aunt to make you feel old! Lucky I have my own baby to remind me I’m not that old. Yet. Heh heh.

She didn’t find out the sex of the baby beforehand, which makes the pre-birth crafting slightly more challenging. I had decided on making her a small blanket, crochet for quickness and cotton for ease of use and because it will be a summer baby. But what colours? I pondered this for a while, and then an invitation for her baby shower arrived, using soft grey, yellow and white. Ta dah! Perfect. And even better, I had those colours in stash! So this is what I came up with:

Pattern: Dotty Dots afghan by Teresa Chorzepa, from Lion Brand – a nice easy freebie, which lends itself to lots of variety just by changing the colours and/or size (as I did).
Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply/DK cotton, in glacier (grey), daffodil (yelllow) and parchment (cream). I used just over 200g (one ball!) of the grey, and much less of the other two colours – I think about 65g of the yellow and maybe 5g of the cream. It blocked out beautifully. Very light and drapey.

Hook: 4mm KnitPro wooden hook.
Time: 16 August – 25 September 2014 – finished just in time to block it before the baby shower! A month and a bit – not bad for a small blanket! My crafting time is not what it used to be!

Modifications: I made my version 5×5 squares – mostly because that’s all I had time to do. I would have liked to add an extra row but time beat me. But it will still be a good size for use in the pram or bassinette, I hope – it ended up being 70cm x 65cm (which made me laugh, as it should be square, but anyway!). I also did the edging slightly differently – a round of treble and then a round of dc, all in grey.

Here it is with a stunt baby for scale!



Filed under baby, Crochet, Family, FO2014, stashbuster

Happy half-birthday

Would you believe this little moppet was six months old yesterday?!

And almost grown out of his third set of clothes! I had to get out the next size up yesterday, and buy a few more things (the downsides of having opposite season babies, although the growth should slow down within the next six months, so I’ll have correct season clothes and won’t have to buy hardly anything!)
He is now rolling, eating, sleeping through the night (LEGEND!) and (I think) cutting his first tooth – not sure, as I keep thinking I see flashes of white in the gum, and he is chewing on everything but nothing has quite appeared yet!
Fortunately, I managed to finish his latest knitwear while it is still cold enough for him to wear it – even if it means wearing it almost every day until summer hits!
Pattern: Kurt, by Sarah Hatton from Rowan Studio 30, a lovely pattern book for kids. Nice range of sizes, this goes up to size 5, so I could have made it for Connor, but I thought a nice little 9mo size would be so much quicker to knit. And the recipient can’t tell me he’ll wear it “another day”, like his big brother does when I suggest he wear a handknit (sigh).

Yarn: Filatura di Crosa Zara in shade 1912 (red – duh!), just under 4 x 50g balls. I do so love Zara. So soft, so nice to knit with, shows up a textured pattern like this one so well. One of my favourite yarns.

Sticks: 3.25mm and 4mm KnitPro Karbonz interchangeables, from Suzy Hausfrau. Love these needles! I know a lot of people have problems with KnitPro/KnitPicks cables breaking, but in my (I think) 8 years of using them, I’ve never had an issue. I love the Karbonz, feel really nice in my ands and the metal tips give a satisfying click clack when using them.

Time: 1 April 2014 – 9 August 2014. I had a big gap where I put this aside to finish other things, so it was maybe a months worth of knitting – during the Tour de France in particular, when I did much of this knitting. And (as usual) it took a week before I sewed the buttons on.
Modifications: I made the body a little longer (as I always do with baby garments) and I changed te ribbing so that the pattern flows nicely out of the ribbing – it was a bit of a hassle – I think I started both front pieces at least two or three times each before I got it right – ugh! But definitely worth it.

(This is pre-blocking so harder to see, you’ll have to trust me on this one!)
I also learned that when a pattern has a shawl collar, made with short rows, then you really do need to pick up the numbers of stitches specified for the buttonband/collar. Usually I’m a bit fast and loose with the numbers, as it doesn’t matter for a standard buttonband. But in this case, it really does matter. Fortunately, I had tried to stick to the numbers, and was only two off at the end, which is not noticeable. I didn’t block it again after knitting the collar, so it doesn’t roll over like a shawl collar should, but that’s ok – a stand up collar helps keep the back of the neck warm, right?

Harry seems to approve! Happy half-birthday my little legend!


Filed under baby, Family, FO2014, red, stashbuster

Seeing stars

I had been waiting until I actually block this FO before posting about it, but as it’s been two months since I finished it, and I still haven’t blocked it, despite the unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, I thought I might as well show it off. Especially since it was a long time coming, or at least, it seemed that way!

TA-Dah! It’s my Starburst Afghan! Or, should I say, it’s Harry’s Starburst Afghan!

(Connor just had to be in the shot too!). I took these photos at the start of this month – it’s amazing how much he’s grown since then, in such a (relatively) short period of time.

Pattern: Starburst Entrelac Afghan by Magan Granholm, from the book Unexpected Afghans by Robyn Chacula. A deceptively tricky looking pattern, it’s actually quite easy, although the joining instructions for some of the diamonds could perhaps be a little clearer. It is made in the round, one colour at a time, and each diamond builds on the previous. No need to cut the yarn until you finish the round.

Yarn: I was originally planning on doing it in the same colours as the original, which I really liked, using Wollmeise DK. Which I would have had to buy. So then I came to my senses and decided to use stash yarn, Bendigo Woollen Mills Cotton, instead. Much better idea! Yay me for stash busting, heh! So I used under 2 balls (they are big balls, 200g each!) of each colour, pomegranate, French navy, sky, glacier and parchment.

Hook: 5.5mm KnitPro interchangeable hook – these are regular crochet hooks with a screw on the end enabling a cable to be added for wide Tunisian projects – as the diamonds use a maximum of 12-13 stitches at any one time, a regular straight hook is enough. These are really nice hooks, very smooth and easy to use.
Time: 20 August 2013 – 1 April 2014. I had a bit of a break in the latter part of last year, but from late December I pretty much just worked on this project, in an attempt to finish it before Harry arrived. Which of course, didn’t happen! But it’s been too warm to need it anyway, and I finished it in plenty of time for the cooler weather. Whereupon we immediately had a late autumn record-breaking heat wave! As soon as I finished this, I went on a new project starting spree! More about those projects another time!

Modifications: I didn’t modify the pattern at all, but I did have a bit of a messy centre – I’m pretty sure it was not meant to have a huge hole in the centre, and my joining method at the end of this round was a bit messy, but once I got the hang f the pattern and the joins in particular, it was much neater! And that hole at the centre was easily fixed once the blanket was finished.

I have to admit that towards the end of this project I was a bit over it, it was taking forever. But I remember when I started it how much I loved it, and once it was done the love returned.

It is pretty nice, if I do say so myself!


Filed under baby, Crochet, FO2014, stashbuster

Are we there yet?

Four more weeks. Four more weeks. Oh my dog.
Four more weeks!
Lucky I got this finished in time, so Humphrey (not his real name!) will have something to wear home from hospital:

(Do you think it will fit?!)

Pattern: Viggo vest by Drops – a freebie pattern with the detail I was looking for – fingering yarn, stripes (although that’s an easy modification!) and button shoulders. I did convert it to knit in the round to the armholes, and added a purl faux seam on the sides, to hide the colour change:

Even so, I still ended up with 32 ends to sew in – yes, you read right, THIRTY-TWO ends!! How can something so small have so many ends?!

(This photo was taken after I had sewn in some of the ends while waiting at the OB’s office!)

Yarn: As Humphrey will be a summer baby, I have used cotton for the vest rather than the called for alpaca/silk. I used 33g of Rowan 4ply cotton in natural and about 22g of a red hand-dyed Cleckheaton natural cotton that I was given in a yarn swap. A whole garment in only 55g of yarn! Even so, I hope it won’t be a boiling hot day in February when we bring him home from hospital. But I couldn’t not have a hand-knit to dress him in!

Sticks: 3.5mm for the body and 3mm for the ribbing – the pattern uses smaller sticks, but I didn’t want it to be too firm – hopefully it will fit him for more than 5 minutes!

Time: oof, I started this on 18 August 2013!! I have had a few deadline projects in between, heh! Finished yesterday, 18 January 2014.

Four weeks to go. Plenty of time!


Filed under baby, FO2014, stashbuster

Yet another one skein wonder

Not that I’ve been on a run of one-skein wonders, nor do I have any of the books, but if you are looking for a nice easy crochet pattern to use up a ball of long-colour run striping sock yarn, then this is the ideal project!

Pattern: Noro Windowpane Scarf by Adrienne Lash. As mentioned, quick and easy, and also, bonus, free! You can of course, use any long colour change yarn (as I did) or even a solid or semi-solid yarn. But I really do think that it is a pattern that allows the yarn to do all the work when you use Noro or similar. I worked on this project during crochet clinics at the shop, when I didn’t have any students or wasn’t immediately helping anyone, and it received lots of favourable comments.

Yarn: 1 x 100g ball of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball, in the grey/black/white colour (11532100). One ball in this width gives the perfect length scarf, I think. I was also tempted, while I was making it, to actually make two out of the same yarn and sew them together lengthwise to make it more of a wrap. I think it would look really effective with the colour changes being in different spots on both scarves, but sewn together (if that makes sense?).

Hook: 3.5mm Clover soft touch hook

Time: 24 May – 8 November 2013 – it didn’t really take that long to make, but I usually only worked on it every fortnight during clinics, in between helping others and other projects too, so it would work up quite quickly – plenty of time to run one up for a Christmas present if you needed to! And something I just noticed, I bought this ball of yarn on November 13, 2012 – it’s so rare that I use yarn within a year of buying it, I almost need to celebrate that! By buying some more, perhaps, heh heh.

Modifications: I made the scarf one repeat wider than the pattern specified – the good thing about this pattern is you can adapt it to any width. I also did the “solid” rows in treble (US dc) rather than half-treble, I just thought it looked better (and I prefer to work trebles than htr)

I think it would also work really well as a cowl, just by joining the ends together. I can see myself making this pattern again (something I don’t often say!)


Filed under Crochet, FO2013, stashbuster

Introducing Nelson and Vera

Last month I attended my first Guild workshop, run by Stacey Trock, a soft toy/amigurumi designer (and blogger and podcaster!) from the US. Two sessions were offered and although I ave crocheted amigurumi before, I wanted to attend if only to support the Guild in running the classes. And I’ve never taken a “professional” craft class before, and there is always new stuff to learn (I don’t believe anyone ever knows it all!).

And I am so glad I did! I most definitely learnt a few things, and had a lot of fun too. Stacey is a great teacher, very personable and fun, and she managed a big group – about 18 people I think – very well. And her designs are really cute!

In the morning session we made a start on Vera the ladybird:

Stacey has an interesting method of making her toys – they really aren’t amigurumi in the way that I’ve made them before, as they are bigger than most amigurumi (admittedly in my relatively limited experience!) and they are made in more pieces. And finally, rather than being made using a very tight gauge (to avoid stuffing showing through) they are made with a regular crochet gauge, and you work into the back loop only of each stitch.

This has a couple of main benefits – much easier on the hands, and it is easy to count rows, as the front loops form a sort of “line” for each row. And the stuffing doesn’t show though!

But as you know, I am not a fan of sewing, and in fact, I didn’t make Vera’s legs because of the fiddly nature of making them and then having to sew them on! There were enough bits and pieces as it was! Head, body, two wings, 6 spots, 2 antennae and 2 eyeballs!

So I’ve made a legless ladybird. Lucky she has wings! Here she is communing with her buddies on my (failed) zucchini plants:


And this is Nelson:

Nelson was our afternoon class project and he taught me a very neat and easy (and cool!) way of doing “intarsia” style crochet in the round. Lots of bits and pieces again, but no shortcuts this time, heh heh!

I was worried about running out of the green yarn, so I gave him striped wings – fortunately, able to hide the colour change jog on the underside of the wing.

I made a bit of a mess of sewing his eyes on, but otherwise I’m quite pleased with how he came together. And Connor immediately claimed both for his cot, hence the delay in blogging them, I kept forgetting to get them out for a photo shoot before his nap!

If you have the chance to do a class with Stacey I recommend it – lots of fun, cute patterns and lots of pattern and other support through her blog, Ravelry group and videos and podcasts! The very model of a modern designer.


Filed under Crochet, FO2013, stashbuster

The Cluck Clutch

I think I’m on a roll with the perfect crafting gift selection thingy. Anyone who knows Bells and /or reads her blog will know she is quite the chicken fancier, the lover of the humble chook (and I don’t just mean to eat, heh! Not that she would ever do that to one of her beloveds!)

So when I saw this pattern, it immediately had her name on it!

Pattern: The Cluck Clutch by Brigitte Read – the perfect clutch purse (or project bag or even door stop) for the chicken lover in your life. It’s a very easy free crochet pattern, quick to work up and not overly fiddly in the finishing, as some crochet character items can be.

Yarn: Bendigo Woollen Mills 8ply cotton, about 55g in sepia (brown) and a small amount in daffodil and inferno, for the beak etc. this is a really nice cotton to crochet, quite soft and works up nicely.

Hook: 3.5mm hook

Time: 3-18 December 2012. It didn’t really take that long, maybe 4-5 days to do everything but sew on the eyes and button closure under the wing. As usual, I totally procrastinated the button-sewing-on, which is totally NOT my favourite task with any item!

Thanks to the wonders of Australia Post, Bells has now received her chook bag Christmas gift and I think it is fair to say she likes it! Always such a pleasure to make something which you feel is perfect for the intended recipient.


Filed under Crochet, FO 2012, stashbuster

DIY month: Socks

Well, it wouldn’t be DIY month without a bit of knitting, now would it!  It was husby’s birthday earlier this month, and about 6 weeks ago I realised I had this sock WIP for him that I really should turn into an FO. I was still knitting the gussets on the first sock, so I set myself a bit of a challenge. But (funnily enough) it is amazing how much progress you can make when you are a monogamous knitter! I finished them with two days to spare!


Pattern:  Just my regular plain sock recipe for husby – 72 stitches on 2.25mm sticks – I find the tighter gauge works well for his socks, as he is a bit harder in them than I am.  1×1 twisted rib cuff (because I like the way it looks!). A standard heel flap construction and wedge toe.

Yarn: Yarntini self-striping sock in Ginger Ice – I pulled out a bunch self-striping yarns for husby to choose from, all the awhile secretly hoping he’d choose this one. And he didn’t disappoint! It kind of amuses me, as people often say how much they like this particular combination of colours, whereas I am not actually that fond of it. Lucky husby really liked it!

Sticks: 2.25mm KnitPicks options fixed circular – I do like to magic loop my plain socks!

Time: 6 April – 4 October 2012

And for those interested in this yarn and more specifically how it wears, here is a pair of socks I made for myself in 2008.

I’m not particularly hard on my handknit socks, and I have about 10 or 12 pairs to choose from, so they don’t get heaps of wear, but aside from a bit of felting on the bottom of the heel and toe area, and some pilling, I think they have held up pretty well. Hopefully husby’s will do the same!


Filed under FO 2012, socks, stashbuster, Uncategorized

Rav-thingummajig – Done and Dusted!

Almost as soon as it started, it was over again.  Or at least, it seemed like that.  I do so love the Olympics.  Except the commercialism and pandering to sponsors, but once the competition starts, you don’t notice that so much.  I love the sportsmanship, the stories behind the competitors and especially those who compete and finish even though they know they have no chance of “winning” (let’s not start on the Australian media’s obssession with “winning” gold medals, sigh).


As for me, I WON!  heh heh.  I finished 15 Christmas decorations (one more than I had planned) and 7 gold-edged sexypuffs, one for each of the events in which Australia won gold medals (not that I’m obsessed with winning them, it just seemed like a nice way to commemorate the Ravellenic Games on this marathon project).

Tree, bells, globe

I am really glad to have these done, although I must say I found it a bit of a trial making so many bitsy things in such a short time period – esepcially as I had to refer to the patterns constantly – they weren’t really pickup-putdown projects, they needed a bit more planning.  But thankfully they were all so quick! 


I might even reach my yearly target of 24 by the end of this year!

Snowman, Christmas present, Poinsettia, Bell and Pudding

Details – all the details are on my Ravelry project page – summarised in this entry.

Pinwheel decoration

My favourite I think is the Christmas pudding, followed closely by the red-orange-yellow pinwheel decoration – which is actually a hotpad pattern, meant to be done in worsted weight yarn!  I love how simply changing the weight of the yarn used in a project can make it so different!

I do have to block the snowflakes and the pinwheel – I solemnly promise to do it before Christmas this year!


Filed under christmas, Crochet, Fair Isle, FO 2012, Ravellenics2012, stashbuster

Rav-thingummajig 2012

Well thank goodness the Olympics are here, to cure my post TdF blues! I enjoyed the Opening Ceremony (if not the excessive amount of ads and cutting out what seemed like half the countries in the athletes parade, thanks very much Channel 9, NOT).

Highlights for me were the Czech Republics gumbies and brollies (obviously prepared for an English “summer”!), the cauldron comprised of the 204 petals – one for each country competing, the NHS celebration and dancers, Mary Poppins defeating Voldemort, and David Beckham looking exceedingly hot cursing down the Thames (and I’m not even a huge fan, but he really turned it on!). And of course Mr Bean and James Bond. Nicely done, London!

And despite the hoo-ha cause by the US Olympic Committee’s objection to the Ravelympics, I have signed up for the now-renamed Ravellenic Games. I’m entering two events, the Modular Relay and Holiday Hurdles.

For Holiday Hurdles, I am going to make a bunch of Christmas decorations. I had planned at the start of this year to make 24 decorations – one for each stocking in my advent calendar. That’s inky 2 per month! And how many have I actually made…one! So I’m aiming to catch up or even get ahead. I’ve got out my yarn and threads:

And I’ve got out a bunch of pattern books (and I have more on Ravelry):

so I’m pretty much ready to go on that one!

And for Modular Relay I am going to do a gold-edged sexypuff for each event in which an Australian wins a gold medal! I hope it doesn’t sound too unpatriotic if I kind of hope they win the same (or fewer) than last Olympics! (14 gold – I checked before I made that entry, heh heh).

Go Australia!


Filed under Ravellenics2012, stashbuster