27 July 2012

A last minute gift + Craft & Quilt Fair

A friend's birthday is coming close and I couldn't think of anything to give her, a delve in my project queue turned up this little thing :-)

Pattern: Earring & Key Holder free from Ravelry, my project page is here
Yarn:  Cotton thread size 8 from my stash
Needles: 3.5mm
Start/Finish Dates: 25 - 27 July 2012
Notes: The frame is 10'' x 8'', CO 44 stitches and did 5 pattern repeats. Found some cute pushpins at Typo to secure the lace panel at the back.

Verdict: I love whimsy little things, this is a perfect last minute gift pattern, you could make it in a couple of hours if you want to. I just hope the recipient loves it.


Thursday saw the opening of the Craft & Quilt Fair Melbourne 2012 and I was eager to check it out. The Melbourne Exhibition Centre is a fantastic venue with modern facilities and in beautiful surroundings. From my selfish point of view (as a non-quilter) I gave the fair 5 out of 10, it should've been called Quilt & Craft Fair as quilting has a much larger presence than all other crafts, wool/yarn related exhibitors were only about 5%, but I didn't come away empty handed (when do I ever!).

Bought a signed copy of this book from the author's booth. I've always admired the dramatic designs, and when I saw a lady wearing a swagger coat in the street a few months back I knew I had to make one of these. Not sure when I will make a start yet, need to decide on the colour combination which is always a challenge to me.

I also bought some banana fibre:

This is 100% banana fibre, the seller says it has very good drape. Anyone has any experience with this fibre please let me know... and, any project suggestions?

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at  Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!

20 July 2012

Lush Lace Pullover, and Grannies!

This is my very first Fibre Arts Friday post, I am excited and hope there will be many more to come. I love knitting and crochet in equal measures, sometimes I do more knitting and other times I do more crochet. For the past two/three weeks I've been in a crochet mood and this is what I was up to :-)

This was an impulse make, I was losing momentum on a fitted jacket and my Essential Cardigan was pulling my hair out because I absolutely *dislike* (I won't use the word hate) seaming - why did I choose to start on a seamed item in the first place? what was I thinking?! ... Anyway, the Ravellenics was still a few weeks away and I wanted something quick to make to cheer me up a bit, and I was glad with the choice.

Project: Lush Lace Pullover
Pattern: Lush Lace Pullover by Lionbrand available for free, Ravelry project page here
Yarn: Linate Angora DeLux
Yardage: 1099 meters / 1200 yards
Hook: 4.5mm
Notes: The pattern calls for worsted yarn and 6mm hook, but from I'd read in others' notes I knew that the sizes run large in general. Plus my crochet gauge tend to be bigger than most peoples' so I chose to make it in size S and using a 4.5mm hook (the yarn is listed as DK). I didn't make a swatch, I know I know, it's naughty of me and a bad habit. But I figured that if the swatch didn't turn out right I'd rip back and start again, so what's the difference if I make a start with an educated guess and start again if it didn't work out? (it has been on my mind however, one day I will make an honest swatch, one day!).

I followed the pattern almost to the T, except replacing ch3 with ch2 on the sleeves for the first 5 rounds after the cuff, so that the sleeves are not puffy as some people have found. Oh I didn't exactly follow the pattern at the neck (I did say almost), just did what seemed right.

The verdict: A very satisfying project, quick and easy, and the result is a light and warm pullover that will get plenty of use. I'm happy as Punch :D


Oh, here's something else I've been playing with:

I haven't decided what to do with them yet, but I have a cunning plan ...

Thanks for dropping by, there is more fibre arts fun at  Wisdom Begins in Wonder. Indulge your creative side and join the party!

16 July 2012

One Lovely Blog Award

My dear friend Vivian has very kindly given me a "One Lovely Blog Award". 

I feel rather sheepish in receiving this as I am quite an amateur at the blogging thing and frankly I have been rather lazy at it. Nevertheless I am very grateful and to return her kindness I shall try to do a better job from now.

I met Vivian through Ravelry (where else!), she does the most wonderful cables which I envy immensely, her lace and colour works are equally impressive. She is witty, kind, prolific with her words; I feel like I could ask her advice about anything and she would understand me very well. There are so many parallels in our lives that it seems we've known each other for years (actually it has been a couple of years, but you know what I mean). One day we shall meet in person and I look forward to that so very much.

To accept the award there are a few things one has to do:

1 - Show your Thanks – Thank the person who awarded the honor and link back to them
2 - Share seven things about yourself.
3 - Nominate up to 15 blogs that you admire.
4 - Contact the bloggers by leaving comments with them about their awards

Now share seven things about myself, lets see:

1. I once slept through an earthquake.

2. My two sons were born over 6 years apart, delivered by the same surgeon (both C-sections) and in the same theatre room.

3. When I was a little girl I used to dream about climbing the Everest, now I will be content with making it to the base camp.

4. I am Chinese by birth, hold a British passport, and living in Australia. I get confused when people ask me where I am from, especially when I am not in any of these three countries.

5. It's been 18 years since we got married, my husband still owes me a honeymoon.

6. I want to have an alpaca for a pet.

7. My ambition is to travel to 100 countries before I die, so far I've been to 24.

As I said I'm rather amateurish at blogs and I haven't been following that many, but here are a few I enjoy reading (btw I'm discovering more lovely blogs everyday!):

Bloom Where You Are - Holly just started her blog not long ago but she's positively blooming, her knitting skills are truly impressive, wish I could knit like her.

Travellers Yarn - Ingrid is a fellow knitter from Down Under, she writes about her travels and her knitting, and other crafts. But it is the travel and knitting that really grab my attention as they are my two passions as well. 

Crochet Nirvana - Robin blogs about her crochet adventures, her love of books and her other crafting muses in jewelry, fabric and stitch markers.

Once again I would like to thank Vivian for helping me rejuvenate my blogging endeavours, this is still very much a working process. Please bear with me as I experiment with different designs and templates, and in general trying to figure out a format that I feel most comfortable with. 

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you will be back often :-)

14 July 2012

Tiger Mother, Moi?!

I have never considered myself as a tiger mother but some recent events have made me think twice.

Take the semester reports for my two sons for example: Elliot (8, grade 3), got 1 A, 6 Bs and 6 Cs on his report; and Jason (14 soon to be 15, grade 9), got 15 As, 2 Bs and 3 Cs. According to the A-E Scale set by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, in Victoria, "C" means your child's grade is at the expected standard of the relevant stage, "B" means the grade is above the state-wide standard, whilst "A" means the grade is significantly above the state-wide standard.

Not too bad, one might say. But I know my children are capable of achieving better, especially some of Jason's teachers have commented that his efforts "need more attention". Naturally I set a target for both of them to achieve better in the next report, and told the teenager in no uncertain terms that I don't want to see any more Cs. My husband, of Anglo-Saxon heritage, was the first to accuse me of being a tiger mother, he thinks the boys are doing fine and that I should be proud. I am proud but I just knew they could do better!

Then I spoke to my mother yesterday and duly reported what's been happening with her grandsons. She too, told me not to be "too harsh" on the boys, and that "C" is not too bad after all. I could not believe what I was hearing, my mother, who used to tell me off when I got 98 instead of 100, told me not to be "too harsh"! I wasn't being harsh, was I? I merely set a higher goal so that the boys can make improvements, which in my mind is perfectly achievable by their abilities.

I need time to process this, I have always prided myself for breaking that Chinese parenting mould and allowing my children to be children. But now I have been branded as a Tiger Mother! But am I wrong in lifting the bar and setting higher standards? Should I be content with what they've got? In less than three years time the older one will be sitting exams for university entrance, should I not help him maintain focus? or should I let things be so everyone's happy? Am I really a Tiger Mother?

12 July 2012

To dye or not to dye ...

That is the question I have been asking myself a lot lately, it has nothing to do with yarn, I am actually referring to my hair. For the last (who knows how many!) few years I have been colouring my hair, not to be trendy or anything but to cover my grey hair. Well, it's really more than that, my hair (the roots, especially at the front) is actually white. There! I said it, my hair is white, I'm getting old!

OK, everyone gets old, sooner or later. I used to think that I would grow old gracefully, and I would not force against nature. But that was when I was really young, in my twenties. But now twenty years on, I'm not so sure. Of course, there are plenty of women who look fabulous with grey/white hair.

There is Dame Judi Dench

And Helen Mirren (another Dame!)

And of course the wonderful Doris Chan

I admire these ladies who feel confident with their grey hair, and I want to be like them. But when it comes to making the decision it's not so easy. First of all, my husband is dead against it. He began to lose his hair in his thirties and I encouraged him to be bold and became bald, he took it head on (pardon the pangs) and never regretted it. But when it comes to my hair he is rather protective, or is it because he doesn't want a wife who looks older than himself? (I haven't asked that question, maybe I will). My boys on the other hand, don't really care, to them I am already old.

There is also the logistic of things to consider: as my natural hair colour is very dark and I've been colouring it dark brown, or chocolate as I like to call it, if I were to stop dying it how would I look? Imagine someone with dark hair and white roots growing out, the image of Mount Fuji springs to mind. As I have been thinking about going grey I started reading up on the subject, there are plenty of them around! But one thing in common in all the articles I read, is that for someone who has been dying their hair for some time the best way to go au naturale with grey hair is to get a pixie cut. Umm, I tried it once in my youth and it's definitely not for my hair type, my hair is really strong and if I had a pixie cut I'd look like a hedgehog, an albino hedgehog at that!

So, the question remains, to dye or not to dye ...