Monday, 14 December 2009

A winter package

So I haven't exactly been doing nothing ;)

Have been busy over the last month making up a winter package for a friend, comprising items based on what is sold in the shop as well as some commissioned projects.

And since she's received the package, I can finally blog about it!

Baby spaghetti (based on the original spaghetti)

Evangeline (Ravelry link)


Rosa neckwarmer (based on the Banana neckwarmer)

Monday, 7 December 2009

Taking roots

I am still very much alive, but between getting my permanent residency application finalised and starting a new job, all has been a little hectic.

The dust is starting to settle though. I'm in my new job for about a month now and loving it.

But best of all, I now have this in my passport:

Hopefully the insights will henceforth start to flow again.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Pinkleaf hat

I really do apologise for my lack of "thoughtfulness" lately.

Life has been a little hectic. Between getting sick, going for doctor's appointments, work, organising my permanent residency application and all, I haven't really had time to stop and ponder.

Ok, not true. I've had time to ponder. I just haven't had time to write it out.

I've really been concentrating more on the shop and knitting lately, which explains the content of recent posts. And yes, today's post is no difference, but will hopefully score on the cute factor.

Just a very very simple pattern for a baby hat, topped by a really cute leaf detail.

Pattern here.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Mary Jane booties

It's a little like baby-ville around here at the moment.

No, I'm not pregnant or have any plans to, but people all around me will probably be popping "mini-me"s over the next few months.

So it's time for some baby knitting practice!

Knitting baby stuff is actually quite easy. For starters, they're small, which means the project is finished in no time. And they're always so adorable!

I knitted bobbles to be used as buttons.

The only problem with this pattern is that it required seaming and well, let's just say I need more practice doing that.

Contemplating adding a beanie to the mix. We'll see.

Pattern here (pdf file)

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Polka pen holder

I finally recently acquired a desk for my bedroom for a sewing machine that I acquired and realised that I probably needed a way of organising all the various stationery better than simply allowing them to be strewn all over the tabletop.

That was when I knew there was a reason why I didn't allow my housemate's used biscuit tin to be thrown away.

Viola! A free and pretty pen holder!

New pen holder in its permanent home.

For those wondering, I do not have a crush on the girl on my pin board. What I do like about her however, is that skirt she's wearing that I'm contemplating replicating.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Lace rib scarflette

Now that I've been knitting for over a year, I've been able to understand the basics of knitting and so have been able to adapt and create my own designs.

Found this lace rib pattern in the Vogue Stitchionary and knew it would be perfect for this scarflette.

The simple pattern and short length meant that I hardly spent any time knitting this thing up and yet, biased as I am, I have to say it looks gorgeous.

I'm really enjoying being able to design my own knitted stuff. I just wish I had more time to do so.

You can own this scarflette!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Dorset buttons

Made with leftover yarn scraps and plastic ring things. Aren't they cute?

The question now though is: what should I do with them for the shop?

Attach them to the end of snap clips ala this (it will replace the flower)?

Transform them into earrings (only issue - they are not reversible, so one side looks better than the other)?

Use as a necklace pendant?

Sew them onto scarves/beanies?

Do you have any suggestions?

Wednesday, 30 September 2009


A good movie should do one of three (or in the rare occasion, all three) things:

- Entertain by providing a form of escapism
- Demonstrate an innovative and creative way of telling a story
- Educate, inform and provoke

Balibo has not achieved all three, but only because the issue of the Indonesian invasion of East Timor in 1975 is neither entertaining nor a period in history that someone would want to escape to.

What Balibo succeeded in however, is telling a story that left me wanting to research more on an invasion that happened before I was born and determined to share the message that justice and the respect of human rights must prevail.

The last movie that had such an impact on me was more than four years ago.

For the first 20 minutes of the show, the narrative was somewhat confusing, jumping from present day to the past and the not too distant past. But the pace picked up when Roger East (Anthony LaPaglia) started his investigations in East Timor and by then, it was easy to differentiate the narrative that mainly toggled between Roger's story and that of the Balibo Five.

It's a gripping storyline, not least because it is based on a true story, but also because it tells of a journalist's thirst for The Story and a commitment to tell a story to the rest of the world in the hopes of spurring positive action and reaction.

The Balibo Five are five news journalists from two competing Australian television channels who went missing in Balibo, an East Timor town close to the Indonesian border, days before the invasion.

Their story is one of courage and of the desire to communicate to the global community just what is happening in a part of the world that even the United Nations had chosen to ignore.

Three weeks later, Roger arrives in East Timor, tracing the footsteps of the Balibo Five, in an attempt to find out what exactly happened to them.

His story changed his life, and probably mine, forever.

There were intense moments, scary moments and emotional moments. But most of all, it was a provocative moment. A moment that made you want to shake the international community for making the mistakes in East Timor, in Rwanda, in Darfur and never learning from them. A moment that made you recognise the simple power of words, the responsibility we have to tell a story worth telling and the world's apathetic state.

You see the brutality of mankind. You see how the rest of the world turned a blind eye. You see the sacrifice made by those who wanted to tell the truth.

And you tell yourself, human rights atrocities should never happen again.

Want to do something about this?

Find out more about the movie or how to protect human rights.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Twisted faggot

You thought this post would be about something else didn't you?

The reason for this scarf's rather unfortunate name has nothing to do with my sick sense of humour.

The scarf is a combination of a twisted dropped stitch and a faggot stitch. Hence its name. And besides, in its original form, faggot simply means:
a bundle of sticks, twigs, or branches bound together and used as fuel, a fascine, a torch, etc.

And that's what the stitch looks like:

Knitted this with my favourite type of yarn - alpaca. Although, I wasn't too sure about the mohair texture initially, but the whole thing is still incredibly soft and non-itchy.

I love how light the scarf weighs and feels, and how cosy it is around my neck. And it hardly used any yarn at all, which means I have enough left over to make another!

I combined two stitch patterns designed this scarf for a lady who has a stall at The Rocks markets, so maybe, just maybe, you'll see this scarf for sale very soon!

You can own this scarf!

Friday, 25 September 2009

Spring refresh

I knew I had to do something about this graphic when I first saw it, it was simply too gorgeous to pass up.

A quick look around and it was obvious my pin board needed a sprucing.

So four A3 printed copies later:

A new happy beautiful pin board for spring!

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Excellence in mediocrity

This is a typical day on the ski fields for me:

No, I am not exhausted from carving white powder all day.

I'm just pretty much passed out from all the contact my bottom has made with the snow. In the last hour.

I took my first snowboard lesson back in 2006 and I'm proud to say that I have managed to return home after almost every single snowboard outing with strange bruises in strange places.

In 2006, I got hit on the back of my head by the chairlift after I ungracefully fell when trying to get off.

In 2008, I mysteriously managed to sprain my ankle despite wearing solid snowboard boots that are meant to protect one's ankles from that precise injury.

This year, I could not even remember how I ended up where I did because I took a tumble so fast I'm sure I blacked out for a few mircro-seconds (I also had really bad whiplash the next day). I also amazingly bruised my spine with my board when I did a face plant.

I still cannot go up a J-bar and T-bars are only possible when I can cling on to D for balance.

This is unlike my friend J who took a morning, yes, one morning, to learn how to snowboard. He did not take lessons. He taught himself. And he's good - the morning I went boarding with him, I'm sure I fell at least 10 times compared to his, well, he didn't fall.

Maybe it's because he's an accomplished skier. Or maybe it's because I suck.

Oh, I can get off a chairlift now without losing balance and I can go down a slope without falling. But I'm not the fastest boarder on the slopes and give me an icy patch and you'll have a really enjoyable time seeing my fall over again and again. I don't do S-turns very well and I hate going down a slope backwards.

I guess I'm what you call mediocre.

I'm mediocre at snowboarding, I'm mediocre at touch football, I'm mediocre at driving, I'm mediocre at knitting, I'm mediocre at my job....heck, I'm medicore in the way I look and the way I dress too.

And when I think about just how mediocre I am, my self-esteem takes a big hit.

But what is it about us and society that we only celebrate the biggest, the fastest and the best? We have Olympic records, we have the Guinness book of records, we have all sorts of records to recognise excellence in (insert appropriate category here).

The problem with wanting to be the best/biggest/fastest is that somewhere and some time down the line, someone will beat you at it. And then what?

And it's our innate need to constantly compare ourselves to others that will invariably let us down. When we see how well others perform, our mediocrity becomes even more glaring.

But is being mediocre all that bad?

I still like to snowboard, particularly when I start gaining speed down the slopes and know that I'm still in full control.

I still enjoy touch football, if only because I get to laugh and have fun with friends.

I still drive a car that I can actually afford and have not been the cause of any accidents.

I still love knitting because it gives me an avenue to explore my creativity.

So what if I'm mediocre in everything I do?

I may not win awards, prizes or commendation for my efforts, but I know how good it feels to laugh, to feel your cheeks flushed from running and to truly experience life.

And if that's not enough, I know I excel in mediocrity and my mum is still my biggest fan.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


I suppose this can be considered a follow-up post to the one on nit-picking.

As mentioned, letters that are written simply to point out a mistake that cannot be rectified annoy me. They serve no purpose but to hurt, criticise and condemn.

But then, an epiphany from someone else whose life is probably spent on the firing line more than myself.

"All the hate mail and sarcastic mail I receive keeps me humble and remind me that we're broken people."

And it's true. I get annoyed because of the pride I have in myself, in my work. If I didn't care, I wouldn't have a reaction.

But this is not about not being proud of what you have achieved.

It's simply a reminder to extend grace and patience and that as a Christian, my mission is to reach out to these broken humans and place them in the hands of God.

Thursday, 3 September 2009


When you read a typo or a mistake in an email or a published article, do you feel an insatiable need to send a letter to the writer, telling them that they've done something wrong?

I'm not talking about factual mistakes that determines the tone/bias/information of an article. I'm talking about simple things, like a bracket that shouldn't have been in a hyperlinked URL, or a slight grammatical mistake that has no impact on the sentence whatsoever because it still gets the message across.

What do you do?

Do you ignore the problem? Do you laugh it off? Do you take five minutes out of your life to write a non-constructive critical letter to the writer telling them their mistake? A mistake that they literally cannot rectify? This is not about an online article that can be easily edited, this is about either a printed article or an email that has been sent and can no longer be retrieved.

It's a phenomena that interests me. Why people feel the need to point out someone's mistakes, even after knowing full well that it's happened and that nothing can be done. And it reeks strongly of condemnation, not constructive criticism.

But that's just like human nature isn't it? We're often quick to accuse and slow to forgive.

Nevermind that the only thing you'd achieve is absolutely annoying the writer, you just have to do something to prove that you're someone that's much better, or more perfect than them.

And it happens in our relationships as well. If someone has offended us or said the wrong thing to us, we delight in telling them exactly what they should not have done, even after they've apologised and sought forgiveness.

We can't seem to simply move on.

No wonder we find it so hard to accept the fact that God's grace is all encompassing, that God is not going to rub our sins in our faces and that God will readily forgive us with no remembrance of the past.

We can't see past the examples that we are, and the behaviour of others.

What are your reactions when someone makes a mistake?

The follow-up

Sleeves part deux

I've blogged about my snazzy new knitted sleeves before, but I just found out that the designer likes what I did with her pattern!

Always feels good to know that the creator didn't think you've made an absolute mockery of her work...

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Banana neckwarmer

Knitted this up using banana silk yarn, which was the most interesting experience.

The yarn goes thick and thin without warning - it actually goes really really thin, almost to breaking point. Very soft and drape-y though. Certainly doesn't feel like any other yarn I've worked with.

The project itself was a quick knit, like most other neckwarmers and really easy to memorise the stitch patterns. Love the pattern, it's kind of like a stockinette stitch, without the curl. It also uses a very small amount of yarn.

Button was an eBay purchase. Supposed vintage bakelite buttons.

It's not the kind of colours I would choose for myself, which works well since it isn't for me!

Pattern here (Ravelry link).

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Men at Arms play review

Disclosure: I do actually personally know the director and some of the actors of the play

For an amateur production, it's hard to imagine that most, if not all, of the actors have day jobs that have nothing to do with acting or drama.

Done on low budget, this play was actually quite impressive with its mechanical talking gargoyles, interesting props and imaginative use of sound effects.

It's usually hard to enjoy a real life production of a well-loved book with characters that have already been firmly established in one's imagination, but Men at Arms mostly succeeds in its casting. Certain characters were not dark and sinister enough, while some came across as merely repeating lines, but overall, the spirit of Discworld manages to seep through and one could actually imagine the characters looking like the actors.

Most delightful to watch were the bumbling Nobby, a brief cameo from Death and a topless Captain Vimes singing his heart out. Special mention needed to be made of the actor who played the sadly murdered Beano as well as countless other characters, who successfully managed to make each one slightly different and most certainly unique.

The use of the various stage entrance and exits were clever, as were the various sound effects. The costuming was perfect, especially for the troll, and one actually felt they were seeing real Discworld characters. The props were so well done, a real life pie fight complete with real whip cream was amazingly successfully pulled off.

Unfortunately, somewhat disconcerting for the production was the fact that lines were often obviously forgotten (then again, as mentioned, being in plays were not the actors' main profession) , actors sometimes struggled to find their place on stage (which meant spotlighting sometimes failed) and sound effects were occasionally mistimed.

However, for a mere $21, Men at Arms was real value for money and a great evening entertainment.

I would watch another play by the director, and not only because I know her.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Deutsch Schal

I started knitting this when I was on the train from Frankfurt to Nuremberg during my great German adventure with my brother.

Really fun and easy knit. It's not hard at all, even though it works in a way you would not normally knit - ie. you turn the work around without finishing all the stitches on the needle. Reminds me a little bit of entrelec but way faster.

The bamboo yarn I used was really lightweight, making this a great spring/autumn kind of scarf. I only had a little bit of each yarn, which explains the bizarre colours that actually turned out quite nicely.

I think I prefer wearing it like in the first photo.

Oh, and I was almost finished by the time I left Copenhagen, although I did have to put the finishing touches back home.

Pattern here.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Hi's and lo's

Now that it's been a month since I returned from the great German adventure, it may be a good/bad time to reminisce.

Good to reflect fondly on the great holiday. Bad because I've got horrid memory.

Anyway, let's give it a go.

  • Experiencing really bad hayfever: for some strange reason, there was something in the air that did not agree with my sinuses this time. I was sniffling and had teary eyes for the best part of the trip.

  • Paying A$3 for one nectarine: ok, it tasted amazing, but $3?!?!

  • Rain at Fussen: Neuchwanstein Castle was awesome, but the rain just made the experience rather wet, cold and uncomfortable. It also made it impossible to get some good photos.

  • Castle tours: they were interesting, but you needed a tour guide for most of the tours. This meant that you couldn't really spend as much time as you wanted in the castle. Instead, you were herded off like sheep on speed. There were a lot of restricted areas as well, which gave the impression that there really wasn't much value for money.

  • Paying for public toilets: I really missed the free toilets in Australia. It was at least A$1 each time you had to go to a toilet, and they weren't that fantastic either.

  • Dresden: I would visit Dresden again in a heartbeat. The city has a real thriving "hippie" atmosphere and the creative vibe to it agrees wholeheartedly with my soul.

  • Cycling around Dresden: we ventured further into the countryside using the bike paths along the river. It was a gorgeous ride on really really old bicycles.

  • Germans: I learned that Germans aren't as rigid and gruff as the stereotype. Instead, I found them to be friendly and really eager to help.

  • Dachau: I'm not exactly sure if this counts as a high coz it was a really sombre affair but it's certainly an experience I would never forget. I knew about the holocaust etc., but to actually see a concentration camp for real gives you a different perspective.

  • Checkpoint Charlie museum: could have spent forever in that museum. Filled with stories of when Berlin was separated into East and West, it was a fascinating experience.

  • Berlin accommodation: decided to upgrade to a private "apartment" for the last leg of our German trip (staying in crummy backpackers for the last two weeks) and it was most delightful to have some privacy and space again.

  • Window shopping in Sweden and Denmark: they've got the most gorgeous household items. I couldn't afford most of them, but I wanted to buy the whole store.

  • Ben & Jerry's: I love B&J's, but they're not available in Australia. Being able to consume copious amount of B&J's guilt-free was almost equivalent to being in heaven.

  • Being in Europe: it's just a beautiful continent and I will forever have a love affair with it.

  • Catching up with old friends: all I can say is that I wish that someone will invent a teleport machine soon so that it doesn't take months and years to meet up with friends.
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