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Fragrant green tea and fruit toast for an unhurried breakfast on the back step.

A thoughtful and generous package from the lovely Bells.  I recently won a contest to celebrate the anniversary of Bells’s wonderful blog, and was lucky enough to receive a perfect little project bag made by her own fair hands (I love the fabric combination), and a skein of the most swoon-worthy yarn from Knitabulous.  It is the 50/50 silk and wool blend 4 ply in Summer pudding, a lovely subtle rhubarby red.  What a glorious shawl this will make – maybe this one …  Thanks so much, Bells!

Shells collected from the seaside on the weekend by my boy.  I love how he marvelled over each one, no matter how imperfect, noticing the colours or sheen.


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I seem to be thinking of things to blog about faster than I can make time to blog, so there is a bit of a backlog of the trivial stuff of my life to share.

Some lovely gifts – well, I bought the dragonfly hair/shawl pins myself from Etsy.  I’ve found it hard to find shawl pins I like, and not being a button person, I’m keen on using them to fasten cardigans as well as shawls.  These are a good length (most hair sticks are too long generally to use as shawl pins), and will work with chunkier or holier knits.  As they are horn, they are nice and light.

The fabulous cuff is a gift from a friend just returned from New York, and is made from a vinyl record!  It’s by this maker and I love it, it fits so well.  Mr. Foxy wants to try a pin and paper cone to find out what record it was!

And I was lucky to receive more goodies from the Bendigo Woollen Mills Users Group Op Shop swap.  Despite moving house at the time, Kylie managed some great op shop finds.  The Bendigo yarn is a 4ply cotton in a lovely colour I’m unfamiliar with, orchid.  The vintage pillow cases will make great dresses for the girls. 

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Most exciting of all for me are the vintage patterns.  A fabulous 1950’s New Idea knitting special and a rare 1940’s pattern book.  I especially love these patterns.  Thanks Kylie!

40s collage

In knitting news I did finish the Shetland Triangle shawl in time for my aunt’s 80th birthday party (a preview features on my new header), and I have just started on a project for the girls, but I’ll save these for another post …

wrapping collage

There has been an unprecedented frenzy of crafting of late that I can reveal now that my swapee has received her parcel.  As mentioned before, the theme of this most recent Bendigo Woollen Mills User Group swap was Op Shop Karma, everything in the package was to be sourced from an op shop with the exception of 100g of Bendigo yarn.

stormcloud2 collage

For the Bendigo yarn portion, I made the Stormcloud Shawlette in 5ply Classic in Raspberry.  I followed the directions for the larger version with a frilled edge, cast off with the EZ sewn bind-off, and discovered that the whole thing only took 80g of yarn.  Good in terms of yarn economy, but I couldn’t really send my swapee a scanty 20g yarn to make up the 100g …

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… so I also made a Flourish bookmark.  What fun making some fine and fairly complex lace on a small scale!  It turned out a little on the large size, but could still be functional with larger hard cover books.

On the Op Shop front I had so many ideas that I may have gone a little overboard, but restrained myself to the following crafty diversions …

op shop collage

The top item on the left was a strange multi-stranded not-quite-scarf / not-quite-lap rug that I unravelled into a satisfyingly large ball.  As the yarn was a bit irregular and not soft, I figured a bag was the best option.  I improvised a rectangular base in double crochet, then did rows of filet crochet round and round until it was basket-sized.  I’m pretty happy with the size and (unplanned) placement of the colour change.

bag collage

The pile of wool jumpers were gleefully thrown into the washing machine and subjected to heavy duty hot washes, then tossed in the also hot tumble dryer!  (I don’t know why I enjoyed maltreating wool so much – I also loved viciously steam-pressing the bookmark too).  The angora blend jumpers felted a treat, but the pale grey lambswool and ice blue wool and cashmere hardly changed at all despite this treatment!!  They just looked slightly pilled!  (Perhaps this is what the cockroaches will be wearing when every other species on earth dies out.)  Disappointing, as I was rather keen on these colours, but proceeded with what I had to make …

scarf collage

Now this long scarf is not at all original.  I was inspired by one a friend had bought (possibly by this maker) and noted later that Kirsty makes similar (and better-crafted than mine) ones.  I was relieved that this worked out and was quick and easy to make, as I loved the idea if it.

The reluctant sewing machine got more of a workout.  Something I have been wanting to make for ages …

bunting collage

Some remnants, cut-up clothing and a Ken Done doona cover became two sets of cheerful bunting for the room of two little girls.  And there’s enough fabric left over for more for another two little girls!

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I loved that this swap gave me the excuse to make some different kinds of things that I’ve been wanting to try out, and probably wouldn’t have made the time for otherwise.  And the fact that the materials were recycled makes it even more satisfying.

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So much glorious rain over the last few days.  Spring rain has brought wintery chilliness, but there is so much new growth in the garden, including the sunflowers and tomatoes hopefully planted a couple of weeks ago. 

There’s only one thing for rainy weather – baking, and lots of it.

baking collage

Pizza dough and bread from The River Cottage Family Cookbook, and raspberry Store Cupboard Chocolate Cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess.  And there may have been some chocolate chip bikkies too…

And great weather for knitting, with a start made on Colonnade too.  And if you still don’t understand the appeal of shawls, look at this.  (Isn’t that second one just divine!)  Oh, I really want to try to make a light and lacy shawl!  This one isn’t light in weight, but was too good to leave in the op shop…


And some more of those diamonds of rain drops … (not actually on roses, we think this may be some kind of poppy, but are waiting for the flowers to be sure).

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Loobylu had the great idea of reviving the In/Out list in her post yesterday, and although I certainly don’t claim to be an arbiter of taste, here’s what’s hot and what’s not chez nous:

Hot Not
*Mango milk (with yoghurt) *Milo
*My new Olfa Rotary Cutter (whee!) *Patterns and pins and scissors and slipping and sliding
*Lightning McQueen (still) *Bob the Builder (poor Bob)
*Crunchy salads with red (purple!) cabbage and grated carrot *Not bothering to make a vegie meal component
*Planting sunflower seeds *Realising that maybe they should have  been planted in a different area
*Gorgeous new Francophile fabric from Retro Mummy that I couldn’t resist (and Corrie’s having a giveaway at the moment) *Indestructible pure lambs wool op shop jumpers that wont felt, despite hot heavy duty wash and hot tumble dry
*Standing up with the aid of furniture (if you are 10 months old, that is) *Jamming tiny fingers in drawers
*Wanting to knit the Colonnade scarf/shawl from the new Knitty *Being the last knitter on earth to catch on to shawl making
*Finding a cute crocheted shawl in the op shop *Not finding enough op shop things in natural fibres for a planned project
*Bendigo Woollen Mills Harmony (cotton/wool/lycra blend) is back!!!! *It’s a limited run, and my stash is too embarrassingly large to consider stocking up


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Photos from a lovely jaunt to Prahran Market – ah! fresh produce (and sorry if this column thing is hard to read – I’m still struggling with formatting text here).

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I have always been an avid op-shopper since I was a student, gleefully seizing upon 50’s dresses, 40’s costume jewellery, 60’s printed jumpers and fabulous accessories.  It seemed that every trip brought forth a wealth of exciting finds.  Now it seems much harder to find good things in op shops, particularly clothing.  I think that there must have been a huge increase in the manufacture of cheap clothing in the last couple of decades, so that op shops seem full of poor quality, synthetic garments only a few years old if that.  The rise in popularity of ‘vintage’ clothing also means that the more interesting older pieces get creamed off to sell in specialty shops.  It’s even getting harder to find vintage knitting patterns and yarn now, and soon perhaps it will be harder to find early 20th century pressed glass.  I also have a thing for clear arcoroc dinner- and serving ware, but maybe I’m alone there …

In any case it is rare to get that thrill of a good find.  Recently I have been visiting the op shop as the next knitting swap I am taking part in is an Op Shop Karma swap, in that apart from something made from 100g of Bendigo yarn, the swap package must be made up of items sourced from the op shop.  The karma part refers to providing thoughtfully and generously within this constraint, as a monetary value that usually limits a swap package is irrelevant.  But I think that karma may also come into play in finding the right thing at the right time.  

I was thrilled to find the two baby blankets pictured above.  They are in perfect condition and beautifully made of mitred squares, and there are two!  Coordinated but not identical, perfect for my twins!  I have received many lovely pre-loved items for my girls, but it is rare that I get a set of two of anything, so often feel sad that one will miss out on a particular item.  I worry that these blankets were carefully and lovingly made by a skilled knitter as a baby gift, then not appreciated by someone who didn’t like the colours, or the fact that they were hand made.  In any case, they have found an appreciative owner now.

And the swap?  Well, I have a few ideas, but need to get out to another op-shop for more supplies.  This is what I have come up with so far:

op shop collage

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June 2018
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