Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Designer Interview - Rebekah Evelyn

As part of the Indie Design Gift-A-Long I have had the pleasure of interviewing Rebekah Evelyn, a 16 year-old who has recently emerged on the design scene. I only wish I had started that young!

Where do you get inspiration from for your designs?
This is a question I always find hard to answer. Almost anything can be inspiration for a design-my family, friends, nature and that person wearing knitwear on their errands! I often come up with things in the middle of the night… and hope I remember them when I wake up. :)

What is your favourite type of item to knit and/or design?
Another tough one. :) I find myself drawn to fingerless gloves or mittens a lot, even though I enjoy making a good variety of items.

Diagonal Rib Mitts

Do you have anything you are working up the skills/courage/whatever to create?
Garment design. I think I’ll just have to take a leap of faith. Having a tech editor eases my fears, but I do have to get the pattern together first.

Do you have any big design goals - being published in a particular magazine, writing a book, etc?
I would love to be published in Knitscene-one of my favorite magazines as a knitter. The designs are fun and trendy, with classic elements.

Of your designs, which one is your favourite so far?
I can’t pick a favorite of my designs. I’d risk offending them. :)

Strawberry Patch Handwarmers
I think these are rather cute, I'm a bit of a sucker for strawberries though.

What is your favourite yarn - content, weight, etc?
I would say worsted-it’s a good weight for a lot of different items. Alpaca is my favorite fiber-it’s so soft.

Are there any particular yarns that you haven’t tried but would like to?
I have some Madelinetosh in my stash that I haven’t knitted with yet. I plan on trying it next year.

What is your favourite part of the design process?
Knitting! Seeing my ideas coming to life is a lot of fun.

Braided Possibilities
I think the concept here is fun, I can just imagine how fun it was to experiment and find that it really did work!

And your least favourite?
Marketing. I struggle to find the words that really sell it.

Do you do any other crafty things besides knit and crochet?
I’ve tried a lot of crafty things-sewing, cross-stitch, scrapbooking, and jewelry for example. I do them every once in a while. I love to knit because I can pull it out or put it away whenever I want to.

Thanks for having me! I enjoyed sharing my thoughts with you.

As an aside, if you have anything you've been making for the Indie GAL that you haven't posted in the finished objects thread, head over there ASAP, it's nearly over!

Saturday, 28 December 2013


Christmas here was a pretty laid back affair, with tasty tasty wild pork roast for lunch. Diet restrictions changed the menu a bit (no cheese, or cheesecake), but we had a yummy jelly for dessert. (Cooked strawberries and blueberries, then made a jelly with a bit of blackcurrant cordial. Will definitely do that again sometime). It turns out that wheat is okay, so I made a sourdough ciabatta to have with tomato soup. Mmmmm.

I made this little guy for the baby:

(Pattern My Little Blowfish, yarn Ashford Tekapo)

And I failed to finish this year's stocking. Here is how far I got:

Next year there will be two new stockings. (I let this one slide a bit, but the next one is for the baby, so I will be putting a bit more effort into making sure it gets done).

I have ordered the next stocking kit, I wonder whether it will turn up before this one is finished!

Sunday, 8 December 2013


Well, for the next little while I am not eating dairy, soy or gluten. I expect to have gluten back in time to eat Christmas baking, but I'm not too optimistic about the other two. After 4 days it seems like things may be starting to improve, so fingers crossed that we've found the problem.

And in other food-related news, I prepared the Christmas roast today. Boneless wild pork shoulder, rolled with a paste made from garlic, rosemary, thyme, sage, apple cider vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. It is now lurking in the freezer, waiting to be slow roasted for Christmas dinner. Yum!

I'm debating making a Christmas cake too, assuming I'm fine for gluten then the only change I need to make to my standard recipe is substituting coconut oil for the butter. Christmas cake makes me happy, so long as I can actually eat it.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Not so fun

My (breastfed) baby is showing signs of food allergies/sensitivities. We have been battling eczema that started at 3 months - his face has cleared up nicely with various moisturisers and emollients, but his legs and neck slowly worsen until hydrocortisone is necessary. His gut is not happy either, and he is very gassy. At first I just thought there might have been teeth on the way, but combining all the little things the picture looks like something food related.

We see the doctor again tomorrow, fingers crossed that we can work out a way to proceed.

My poor wee baby.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


I love putting woollen singlets on my boys, and I wanted something that would be warm and snuggly and keep their chests warm. I had an idea in my head of what I was looking for, and couldn't find it, so I made it myself.

The first attempt worked pretty well, but I had a few minor things I wanted to tweak. The second incarnation was much better, so I made a third smaller one as well.

The yarn I settled on for the final versions was Skeinz Heritage Merino (167m/50g), which is soft and squooshy, and comes in a nice (albeit small) range of colours.

The two final singlets, in 2 year and 6 month sizes.

The upper half of the singlet is worked flat from a provisional cast on, and then the lower half is worked sideways and grafted closed. The overlapping neckline gives an extra layer over the chest, as well as allowing a smaller neckline to fit over a (proportionally large head).

This was a very obliging model!

I had planned to get some nice quiet playing pictures in the morning, but when I looked on the camera this was the best one from the night before! (Trying on daddy's socks).

It was a long road getting this pattern ready to publish, and I thought about just leaving it as a personal pattern, but I figured that if I wanted to keep making them for my boys then there may be other people out there looking for the same sort of thing!

Available through Ravelry for NZ$7.00 (plus a 20% discount until the end of December 10th NZ time).

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Mmm, chocolate...

On Wednesday I made this. Well, I made a half batch, and messed with the spices, and approximated the liquid quantities. I think I made it a bit less solid than it's meant to be, as it behaves like a very thick syrup when it's in the fridge.

I can confirm that it does make a nice hot chocolate. It is also a good ice cream topping, and the consistency I got is about right for that purpose. On vanilla ice cream it is much nicer than the standard chocolate ripple ice cream you tend to find.

And I've also discovered it makes a pretty good nutella substitute. Obviously it doesn't fulfil any hazelnut cravings, but it has the chocolate part covered pretty well.

I will definitely be making more, although I think the next batch will leave out all the spices, and possibly even the vanilla. I may also try throwing some brown sugar in, but it will depend on how I feel on the day.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Baby's First Blowfish

I have found the perfect baby gift!

Pattern is My Little Blowfish, by Selina S. It is well written, and contains humour (and ferrets). This fish is for a friend's new baby, but I will be making another one for my littlest boy for Christmas too. And possibly more, they are very cute, and strangely addictive. Yarn is Ashford Tekapo, I used about 33g.

The fish itself is felted by going through the washing machine a couple of times, the eyes were my first attempt at needle felting. That was very satisfyingly quick and effective, and definitely worth trying for doing little finishing details.

This pattern is part of the Great Indie Gift-a-long on Ravelry, come and join in and make your own blowfish!
(I suppose you could make any one of the 2000-odd other patterns instead, but the fish is very cute.)

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

New Chairs!

We have some old dining chairs which used to belong to Grandma-in-law. They are quite comfortable, but the upholstery is seriously in need of replacing.

After getting sick of trying to clean what was left of the pile fabric after the 2 year old has been eating in it, I finally got around to ordering some oilcloth to redo the seats. The stuff I found that I actually liked (aesthetically) turned out to be much lower quality than what I found locally and didn't like, but it will still serve well enough. It was also less than half the price, so I'm not particularly surprised.

Thankfully I didn't have to replace any padding, because the original upholstery I found under the layer I was replacing wasn't too badly beaten up. It had a few holes and was very worn, but not badly damaged enough to require major repairs.

And voila:

(I confess I have only done one so far. The others will be done by the time the baby needs a chair to sit in...)

Monday, 4 November 2013

Indie Design Giftalong

As a result of some whirlwind discussions and planning in the Ravelry Designers group, approximately 170 independent knit/crochet designers have banded together to run a craft-along to make gifts for the upcoming holidays (or for yourself, we're not picky).

All designers involved have selected patterns to discount by 25% (coupon code is 'giftalong'), I have discounted Hemigraphis and Radler.

I have been very tempted by sooooo many patterns, but have limited myself to a few (to start with). The discount will run until the end of November 15th GMT, and the giftalong itself runs until the end of December. There are lots of prizes planned, both throughout the next two months and at the end of the year. It's looking like it will be a lot of fun!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Wedding Sampler

I finished this and got it framed just in time for the wedding we went to a few weeks ago:

The colours are a bit more vibrant than the photo indicates, but this was the best photo I managed to get. I'm just pleased I managed to remember to get one at all, the carpet in the background was on the floor in our motel room...

Pattern is All Because, by Imaginating. I changed most of the colours to match the paua shell theme a bit better. It was a fun pattern to stitch up, and reasonably quick too!

I also made some tidy clothes for two little boys, but failed to get any decent photos of both of them dressed up. This is the larger one, showing what church pews were really designed for...

Tuesday, 29 October 2013


I have a few things I've finished in the last month, but I still need to sort out photos of some of them. For a start, I've just finished making this doll for the 2 year old for Christmas:

Pattern is Constance, by Rhiannon McCulloch. I couldn't find a wool in anything particularly resembling a flesh tone, so I resorted to Panda Magnum acrylic, and used a little more than one 100g ball. A few of the finishing details I think I could have done better, but in the end it is for a 2 year old, and I don't think he'll care.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

New Pattern: Hemigraphis

I have just realised that in the excitement that is my life (okay, the sleeplessness of having a new baby) I have completely failed to post anything about my newest pattern.

So without further ado, here is Hemigraphis:

This is a floral shawl/shawlette with a triangular centre and wide semi-circular knitted on border. The border shaping uses short rows, and the two colours are carried the length of the edging with a floral band worked using both yarns held together. The floral band sits comfortably around the shoulders.

The large shawl pattern (purple and brown) uses laceweight/2 ply yarn, and the shawlette (blue and variegated) uses fingering/4 ply yarn. The heavier yarn makes the smaller shawl as it is designed to work for two 100g skeins.

Pattern has both written instructions and charts. There is a separate file with enlarged border charts for ease of reading (2 pages per chart). The enlarged charts also have stitch counts on the longer plain stockinette sections.

Available through Ravelry for NZ$7.00

I love how this sits around the shoulders, no bunching up at the back of the neck.

I have some rainbow coloured long repeat lace wool I want to use for another large shawl, once I decide what other colour to put with it. I think I'd also like to try the small one in a heavier yarn sometime, for a big warm version. And a couple of my testers did a single colour version, which had a slightly more delicate look.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Please excuse the rant...

For I-don't-know-how-long-now I have vaguely been keeping an eye on the housing market. Every now and then a house that seems like it might suit us shows up. So far they have all turned out to not be exactly what we'd be looking for in a new house, and we forget about it until the next one appears. There was one a while ago that was quite tempting, but it wasn't quite perfect, and we decided that it was going to be too much stress to try and get everything together to even have a hope of buying it.

And now there is another one that looks nice (at least in the listing). We're still waiting on any sort of payout from EQC, so it's all a bit of a gamble as to what we will get for our current house, but according to their timeframes (last time I checked) then that should have happened by the time this place would be auctioned. I'm not holding my breath.

It's very frustrating watching good-but-not-perfect houses pass us by, knowing that in a few months we may be more actively looking for something and they would have actually been quite acceptable. I hate not having a definite idea of what we could afford to buy. And I really hate trying to ring EQC for updates, because it seems like there's never any change.

I know we are lucky to have a borrowed house to live in, which means no daily financial stress, but I would love to be in our own home again!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Photos from last time

Little cardigan:

Pattern is Cascade, 3 month size, 6 month length. Yarn is Vintage DK by Skeinz, in colour Tapestry. I used 93g. Buttons have elephants on them, they are from Buttons by Benji

And this is cleared patch of garden:

You can see how horribly messy the rest of the garden is! It seems that whenever I reach the point where I feel like I'm starting to get on top of the garden, something happens to ruin that (earthquakes, babies etc)

And the happy little toadstools that I found:

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Spring is here!

Which means I now have a 2 year-old. We took him out for a picnic and miniature train ride for his birthday, the best bit of the ride was the ticket...

We are going to a wedding in a month (SIL), so I have been busy making stuff. So far I have one pair of small trousers done apart from the hem, and tiny overalls that just have hand finishing to do. The shirts are both half done, I am taking advantage of my mother's overlocker on those. The overalls and small shirt are actually ones I failed to finish for the wedding we attended 18 months ago.
I am also making a tiny cardigan, just have one sleeve to finish, and I hope to block it tomorrow. There should be photos soon.

Yesterday I cleared a patch of garden to try planting things in for Eric,and in the process found a toadstool ornament which I think I will try to clean up and repaint for him. I have no idea what he'll make of a garden, but I'm sure he will have fun watering it at least. And if he manages to not destroy the plants I intend to put in then he will definitely enjoy eating the cherry tomatoes...

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

A bit over a month ago I made one of these:

Crafting has been somewhat minimal, for some reason. I have some sewing and knitting to try and get finished by October though, fingers crossed!

Monday, 15 July 2013


I have been taking part in the Tour de Fleece on ravelry for the last couple of weeks, which means that I have been making an effort to do a bit of spinning every day. So far I have finished the first skein from the new wheel:

Merino dyed by Anna Harris, 570m/93g. I was expecting/aiming for about 400m, so I was quite surprised how much more length I got out of it. I'm not complaining though, fine is good - it made me feel a bit better about how long it took to ply too...

After that I started on some Halfbred from Heavenly Wools, in Salamander on Dark Grey (purples and greens). It is definitely a bit different to spin after the merino, and I'm really enjoying it. I've definitely come to the conclusion that I prefer other fleeces to merino, both for working with and for wearability (although it is nice to snuggle some super-squishy merino every now and then).

I have done quite a bit more than this, but all you can see on the bobbin in later photos is greens, this gives a better hint of the full colour range, even though it has only just started into the green at this point. I am planning to navajo ply this to keep the colours nice and crisp, and with any luck it will turn into something suitable for making a nice winter hat.

Thursday, 4 July 2013


I have been feeling pretty braindead recently, but I'm happy to say that I've managed to finish charting the first incarnation of a baby blanket pattern. Eric's blanket was the prototype, so it's only taken me nearly 2 years to get it sorted out...

Next job for that will be tweaking and trying out some sample ideas for the shawl version. And then a bunch of pattern writing.

I don't expect any of that to be happening too soon though, this just means that I've got a bit of a head start on it when I get a chance to pick it up properly.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Stocking progress, and a couple of finishes

Two out of three pages of stocking are now done

I think this will be getting a break after I finish page 3, before I move onto the backstitching and knots.

I have also finished a cardigan:

Pattern is Brunello from Knitty. Now I just need to wait for the weather to be warm enough to wear it!

And a pair of socks:

Pattern is Sockdolager, and was the first round pattern in Sock Madness this year (a sock knitting marathon that I discovered partway through last year). I didn't do very well at finishing socks, but it was fun to watch along and see the interesting patterns.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Junior StringHerder in training

The bathroom cupboard that was tied closed with cord is no longer toddler-proof. And untying knots is even more fun than bathtime.

Monday, 10 June 2013


Finally getting around to transferring stuff over from Google Reader, thought I'd give Bloglovin a try.

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Saturday, 8 June 2013

Finished: Little Socks

Not a big knit, but very cute.

Pattern is Raindrop Socks (smaller size), yarn is Happy Feet, by Countrywide in colour 37. I used just under 25g, so can get another pair the same out of the ball if I really want to.

I actually started a second (slightly different pair), but they weren't working out how I wanted them to and I kept getting jumped on by a Small Person, so I decided that something less spiky than wee socks on double pointed needles was in order. I have now started making a Brunello Cardigan for myself instead. After all, I need clothes too...

Monday, 27 May 2013

Long post, lots of photos

First up - embroidery. The stocking is currently making good progress, which is nice. I'm sure it will slow down again when I get back to some of the more bitsy bits, but I'm enjoying seeing actual progress while it lasts.

(For some reason it will happily go every way except upright. A sideways picture will do, I can't be bothered arguing with it)

I've also been knitting a bunch of Small Things, although I think the only new items are a pair of mittens (so quick to make!), and a Very Small Singlet.

Mitten pattern is The Stay Put Mini Mitts, wool is John Q Heather DK from my stash. I used half of a 50g ball, so I may do a second pair the same, but will more likely use a different colour for the emergency backup mittens.

Singlet is shown with the 18 month size one, and it really is ridiculously tiny. (I have compared it to other clothing of an appropriate size, and it appears to be correct...). The larger singlet used 83g of wool, this one used only 34g of Vintage Purls Sock - which is lucky, as I only had 35g of it!
Next singlet-related job will be writing up the pattern, and seeing if it makes sense to anyone. This is my first attempt at making a knitting pattern to fit multiple sizes, and as far as I can tell from my two samples it looks at least somewhat plausible that it is correct.

On the sewing front I have finished my first ever Proper Trousers. Peter hates trying to find decent trousers, so I finally convinced him to let me try making a pair. The pattern is taken from a pair he had made when we passed through Bangkok on the way to Europe a few years ago, so it should fit fairly well.

The fabric was from the $8 table at Fabric Vision (when they had their last 25% off sale), and is a heavy cotton broken twill. It got a wee bit creased when I prewashed, but for a pair of prototype pants it'll do. There are a few things where I could have done things in a slightly different order, but I've never done a trouser fly before and I was making it up as I go along. I think at very least they have worked to prove that I can make something that fits from the pattern, and that trousers aren't really that horrendous to put together. Next pair will be trying out some moleskin from the same sale.
I have also reached the decision that I really need to do something about my wardrobe. I haven't really added anything to it for a while now, and it's getting pretty dire. First new item is (theoretically) going to be a top from a blue striped knit fabric.

Not sure what it is, but it has a nice drape. I may test some to try to work it out, but I'm not sure I actually care enough. It will be a bit of an adventure, since the styles of clothing I like best are nicely fitted woven fabrics, but that's not really practical with constantly changing size/shape and needing access for feeding Small People. One day I can go back to that, but in the meantime I will have to venture into the world of knits.

And lastly, spinning! I have just acquired a second-hand Majacraft Suzie.

I suspect it's quite old, given some of the features, like the metal knob on the front that is now being made from wood, and the straight plates on the crank assembly. Also, it has hooks on the flyer, rather than the sliding hooks that are the norm on all the other ones I've seen.

I've started spinning some merino on it, and it spins nicely. When I've finished the first half I will go through and do some maintenance/tweaking, and spin the second half. It definitely feels more enticing to sit down and spin with it than with my old wheel (an Ashford Traveller - nothing wrong with it, the Suzie just feels a lot more Engineered).
I also finished off the purple corriedale that had been sitting half spun for far too long.

I couldn't quite ply it all onto one bobbin, so there is a smaller second skein with the purple, and I found a bobbin with a bit of brown corriedale to finish off the uneven end with. So I not only finished up some long delayed spinning, I also cleared an extra bobbin.

Whew, that was long.

 Show & Tell Thursday's

Saturday, 18 May 2013


Singlet 2 is growing, but I'm currently procrastinating on undoing the front to make it better. It needs to happen, I just want it to magically fix itself...

And as successful procrastination goes, the purple corriedale is nearly spun. I'm hoping to finish the second half tonight and ply tomorrow. Hopefully there will be some photos soon.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Singlet, Spinning, and (thankfully) No Moths

I finished the singlet prototype last weekend, shown here (18m size). This has a couple of inches added to the length of what I theoretically worked out, because The Monkey is long and thin.

Wool is Baby 4 ply from The Wool Company in Utiku, this singlet ate 83g. It should be nice and warm for winter though!

I have started work on a 0-3 month one now, after tweaking a few things in the pattern. The neckline will be slightly different, and the construction should (hopefully) be improved. I have calculated that I should need 36g of yarn, and the leftover I have found to use is 35g. This could be interesting!

I have theoretically acquired a new spinning wheel, although I'll wait until I managed to get it off my mother to celebrate. (Bought on Trademe, she picked it up and has been playing with it since. I won't get a chance at it until next week, by which stage I don't know if I'll be allowed to have it!).

This has given me the push I needed to finish up the spinning that was sitting around nearly half done for a while. I dragged the wheel out the other day and have now finished the first half of a 100g pack of Passionfruit Corriedale from The Little Wool Company. I have done the first half as is, and have just started the second half with the colours stripped apart. I have no idea how it will come out, or what it will be, but it will be good to get it finished.

In the process of finishing the first half, I found a few insect casings in a bit of the fibre. My first thought was moths, but a bit of reading online helped me decide that actually it was just fly/maggot casings. Still unpleasant, but I'm pretty sure I know how and when that would have happened. Every now and then the cat leaves us special presents, and at certain times of year if we don't see them then they go unnoticed (they dry out before they start smelling). A while ago I discovered one under an armchair, with a few of said casings around, and I guess I must have had the wheel and fibre out in the lounge nearby at that point. So, no moth crisis, just a brief panic!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Half a singlet!

The top half is done, here's hoping that the bottom half works and it all comes together how I am imagining it. With any luck the first version will be finished by the end of the weekend (and then I can work out what needs to change for the second incarnation). I guess we might have a warm little boy this winter after all, and no belly hanging out of his singlets.

Monday, 6 May 2013


In the last week or so I have finished a baby blanket. Wool is Utiku Corriedale in Cream, Avocado, Amethyst, Aqua, Raspberry and Gems. Pattern is Dream Catcher Baby Blanket by Susan B. Anderson.

I have also moved onto page 2 of The Stocking.

I have also started working on a pattern for a knitted baby singlet, since I couldn't find anything that looked like what I wanted. Always so fussy!

Friday, 3 May 2013


After a while in hibernation, I have finally worked out the pattern for the smaller size of this shawl. It used two colours of Vintage Purls sock yarn (85g of The Oceanographer, and 65g of Soho Backstreet). I bought the variegated yarn because I love the colours in it, but (like many people) I have difficulty finding something to make with highly variegated yarns because they tend to hide patterns. I think this shawl tames it down a bit, while still showing off all the gorgeous colours.

The pattern is mostly written (for both sizes), and just needs a few more tweaks. I am hoping to have it ready for testing by the end of the weekend. (If you're interested in testing, let me know!)

While I also love how this one sits I think I preferred the larger size, so I may have to remake one for me to keep at some point. Of course, that means I'll have to work out what colours I want...

Monday, 22 April 2013

Not so many finishes this week

I don't think I've finished anything since the last post, and I definitely don't have any new photos. The stocking embroidery continues slowly, I've nearly finished the first of three pattern pages, there will be a photo when I reach that milestone.

I am now half way through the shawl I'm currently knitting, I will be very pleased when it is done. I could take a photo, but at the moment it just looks like a crumpled heap of blue, pink and brown.

I have been very slack about hemming napkins (ugh, hemming), and I really should just get them out of the way. Mostly by the time I get the chance to sit down with them I just want something more mindless, and less tedious to work on though.

It is definitely autumn now, plenty of rain over the last little while and the temperatures are definitely dropping now. We haven't started up the fire yet (still need to move a few things off the top of the fireplace), but the heat pump has been on a few times.

Sunday, 14 April 2013


Firstly, an old finish that I never posted here. The Monkey now fits into his Christmas jumper, just in time for the weather to cool down a bit. I had kind of hoped that the timing would work out, but you never can tell with these things.

This weekend I have managed to finish making a rain jacket.

And make a pair of trousers, which are only marginally too long at the moment. Pattern for both pattern and pants is Burda Kids 9828. Jacket is 12 months, plus a bit of extra length (for a skinny boy), pants are 2 years and are slightly too long at 19 months.

And I finished sewing up a blanket, but it still needs edging. Not quite sure what I will do there, probably something with crochet.

The stocking progress also continues slowly. I haven't got too much more to go until I can move on to the next page of the pattern though!