Friday, September 13, 2013

The Rori Skirt

What do you do when you cant find any patterns you like for a crochet skirt...well you just wing it of course!

I trawled Ravelry and Pinterest looking for "the" skirt pattern to make. Nothing was quite right, it was either too big, too floral or too I'm not a pink person and would much rather my girl have a variety of colours in her wardrobe.

So I gave up looking and thought why not try it without a pattern. I knew what I wanted so I picked up my cotton yarn and a hook and set to work.

So the Rori skirt was created. :)

If you would like your very own Rori skirt just head on over to my facebook page (like it :P ) and flick me a message to place an order. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2013


Over the last few years I have learnt the true meaning of family. For me the meaning of family has changed. When i was younger the only family i knew was my mums. So my Mum, her parents and siblings and their various children. We lived with my grandparents for most of my childhood, and while most of the time it was good I've come to realise that it was only ever good when my mum was there.

My grandparents were bitter people. they argued. Alot. Infact i can hardly recal a time when they werent shouting at each or putting each other down with the snide remarks. They would argue over the tv remote being on the wrong table, over stupid stuff. It was constant.

Every school holiday my grandad would take me hiking in the lake district. we always had fun, played games of statues, i spy, played in becks and built damns to catch fish and conqured mountains. The grandad i knew on holiday was the grandad i loved. but at home my grandad was mean, he yelled, threatened, locked me in my room if i was staying the night and once he hit me. Yes only once. But that one smack when i was 7years old formed a decision in my innocent mind. I would never, ever, under any circumstance i would never hit my children or my grandchildren should i ever have any. At 7years old i knew that hitting was never ever a good thing, there is never any good reason for hitting especially a child.

His reason for hitting me? I must have been exceptionaly naughty to deserve such a thing surely? No, I had simply said i didn't want any breakfast as I'd already eaten with Grandmother before she went to work. So for 'backtalking' he hit me. It wasnt a light smack either. It was the hardest anyone has ever hit me, the hardest slap acros the arse. So hard infact that I couldn't sit down comfortably for three days. At school that day i cried when my teacher asked me to sit down at my desk, it hurt so much. She asked what was wrong and sobbing infront of my class i told her that he'd hit me. That afternoon when my mum came home from work she was furious with him. She'd recieved a call at work, had bought a packet of my favourite chocolate buscuits and come home to give me a hug . With her arms around me i felt safe again, i knew he could never hurt me again.

I remember watching as she told him never to lay a hand on me again. I've never seen a man so terrified in my life. My grandad towered over mum, him 6foot something and her 5foot6inches, but infront of her that day he looked like a mouse and she was a lioness protecting her cub. She didnt yell, infact she didnt even raise her voice. she used a quiet monotone and told him never to hit me. the phrase I'll never forget "You're a sorry excuse for a man, if you need to hit a child you're supposed to be keeping safe"  When she'd finished, she took my hand and we went back downstairs to our flat and locked our front door, snuggled up on the couch with cups of tea and our buscuits and watched my favourite film. The Last Unicorn.

He never did hit me again.

My grandmother was subtler, but no less mean. I didnt really notice as a child because i was a child. but as grew older i started to realise that some of things she would say werent really very nice. Things shed say to me or too mum. Or the way shed talk about my absent Dad. nothing was ever quite good enough for her, and congratulations she gave was always closly followed by "when i was your age i did 'suchnsuch' better than you, you cant be as clever as me" or other such demeaning things. She'd buy me things from the local charity shops, not so bad in itself untill  you realise that its always something broken or of no use. When i was 16 she said shed bought me a pair of jeans, theyd fit me perfectly she said over the phone. when she gave them to me they were about 6sizes too large. A very subtle way of putting me down.

I do have good memories of both my grandparents but I'm not writing this to remember the few good times. i writing this to explain why i have decided that my Mums family are nolonger deemed family by me.

For me families are the people we surround ourselves with that make us feel good, are supportive. Not people who put us down and make us feel bad. So my grandmother, grandfather, mums siblings and their children are not my family anymore. Last year the showed their true colours and blatently told us they do not care or support us. Luckily we live in New Zealand and they all live in the uk so i will never have to see them again.

My Dad (RIP 2008) has family in the uk too. They are honestly the polar opposite of mums. Granny is exactly what ive allways imagined a granny should be. Kind, caring and always has a hug and a plate of cookies ready for the grandkids. I didn't meet Granny till i was 11, i only met my dad the yyear before. he and mum had split before i was born, before she knew i was on the way. She raised me alone, sure we lived with my grandparents alot of the time, but she was a solo mum. And the best mum in the world. Grandpa is kind, loving but stern if you've done wrong. He's recently retired as a headmaster of on of the best comprahensive schools in the uk. I love them both utterly.

Honestly half way through typing this i've lost my train of thought..

But to My Mum, stepdad, fiance kids, grany, Grandpa, Aunty Faye cousins Claudie, Meg and Rebekah, to my friends near and far. You are my family, those of you who have been there fore me over the years, through the hard times and the good. You are my family and i love you all. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crochet is cheaper than therapy

Since learning to crochet I've found myself turning to the relaxing motion of yarn and hook more and more when I'm stressed. There's just something about simply winding yarn around a hook and ending up with something beautiful at the end of it that really helps me. It seems to clear the turbulent thoughts in my mind at times of unease. Its incredibly therapeutic and far cheaper than therapy. Not that I would go to a therapist if i needed to do so.

The most recent time I've turned to my hooks and yarn for stress relief was September 2012, on August 31st my daughter Aurora was born 5weeks early by emergancy c-section. She had a 4 1/2 weeks stint in NICU / SCBU. To help me cope with the stress of hospital life i crocheted between 'cares' and on the car rides to and from the hospitals. We lived an hour away. Each way. With a toddler at home too. So her brother spent his days at various friends and families houses and I'd spend mine with my partner in the hospital.

During the 4 1/2 weeks there i made several wee bassinet sized woolen blankets and started one large cot sized one for our wee girl. I also made her a wee jumper that she wore pretty much her entire first month home.

The large cot sized blanket i wanted to have ready for when she goes into her big cot when shes bigger. I also wanted it to last as she got bigger, so that she would have this lovely blanket for years to come. I decided on a ripple pattern, I'd just made a wee ripple blanket for her SCBU neighbour and was loving the pattern. Most of the ripples I'd seen online were horrizontal and honestly teeny bit overpowering with so many different colours and stripes, so its vertical ripples for me. I wanted it to be girly without being over the top so that if she turned into a wee tomboy like i was as a child she wouldn't stop enjoying her blanket. You know, not too much pink. A friend of mine had given me a big bag of Moda Vera 100% wool when we were first transfered to Hutt SCBU and a few days later I'd added a few more balls of other colours to the bag. So began one of the biggest projects i'd ever made.

in the beginning
 In the second photo above you can see her wee moses basket and the start of her brother blanket too. His is still a major work in progress!
ready for the border
 The large pink strip either side is a lovely yarn my friend brought back from the south island for me, a scrumptious alpaca merino blend. yummy!
Finaly the border was made with a wonderful 100% wool skein from Jodulbug Creations. The wonderful lady who runs the place saw a post of mine on the NZKnitwits facebook page and donated a whole skein of yarn for Aurora. Beautifully the yarns colourway is Aurora. So generous. You can buy yarns and other goodies from her facebook page

So two months after Aurora came home i finished the blanket and its huuge! Easily 1m wide and over that long! I love it. Though Auroras not in her cot yet, shes gotten to use it a couple of times during ventures out in the stroller. Even to the doctors for her 3month shots. We got lots of lovely comments about it and her. Its always a pleasure to say that its something i made. :)

And finaly I'll leave you with a wee pic of her little jumper i made in a scrumptious green from Moda Vera.

Live long and prosper! :P

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Every little girl deserves a doll

Logan has a little friend who he loves very much. She is the daughter of our very close friends Aaron and Waikura. Little Ava is 5 months younger than Logan and he adores her. Its quite clear whenever the two play together that she loves him too.

When our daughter was born early on 31 August this year Ava's parents were absolutely wonderful. They lookd after Logan for us for three days and even brought us dinner on those days when we got home from the hospital. I've been wanting to do something for them as a little thankyou so I decided to make their girls a little gift for christmas.

I've made Ava a little rag doll. I didn't play with dolls much when I was a little girl but i do remember having a couple of very special ones that i loved alot.

Shayne-Lee is older and clearly a very loving big sister to Ava. At Shayne-Lee's age i loved hair clips. mainly for their usefullness at keeping my fringe out of my eyes. So i figured i would make her a few different ones. She has stunning long dark hair so i chose colours that a - she'll like and b - will compliment her hair.

big bow
picot butterfly

sweet flower

All together now.

 For the doll i came up with this:

Rag doll sitting on the couch

Face close up

 I used some saftey toy eyes and red thread for her face. Ive deliberatly put a half smile there so as she grows and plays she can use her imagination for the emotions. For the hair i spent a few day hand stitching it strand by strand.

I may just do a post later on about exactly how i made the doll. I plan to make my son and daughter their own dolls soon so will take some progress shots of those as i make them.

Family of Washcloths

So this year i decided to make presents for my family rather than buying. This was A- to save money and B- beacause its nice to receive handmade gifts over anything bought, it just means more.

So i worked out a budget of what we would ordinarily spend at christmas time on our parents. It worked out at around $30 each and that gave me a total of $120! Thats just crazy! We definately couldn't afford that. I decided that i wanted to make some washcloths for them all. You can never have to many washcloths. Lets face it, you buy those soft, fluffy flannels in the shop and then after a few washes and a little use they just dont feel as soft anymore. So you either throw them out, or they still in the back of the airing cupboard gathering dust. If you're anything like me they windup being used as dishcloths in the kitchen.

Next i had to decide on the type of yarn to use. A friend offered me a good deal on some merino bamboo 50/50, but with Mum being allergic to wool that just wouldnt work. I wanted my washcloths to feel like a little bit of luxury for everyone. After hunting the internet for cotton yarns and finding none in the right colours or in my price range i was starting to despair for my oh so lovely idea. Then someone in my craft group suggested i use pure bamboo. So i looked again for yarn and found a place on trademe selling 50g skeins of 100% bamboo in some amazing colours and most definately in my price range! YAY! So $50 later and a few hours of crocheting and voila. All out parents had lovely luxurious washcloths.


Mother in laws

Father in laws

I'm really pleased with how they all turned out, the colours are just stunning. The best bit is that there's plenty of each colour left over so I can make a few for me! I had a small mishap with mums mostly red one as somehow it went wonky! I think i must have calculated my stitches wrong, but i didnt notice till after i'd finished it. Luckily for me my mum loves things that are unique!

So all we spent on others this year was the $50 it cost to get the yarn and have it posted out to us. I've made a few things for friends daughters too and those just used up fabrics and yarns already in my stash. oh and a little of my time too.

Coming up...the gifts for the girls.

Christmas is just around the corner

With Christmas on the horizon and very little money in our bank account, being that we only have my partners retail income, i decided that this year i would try to make as many of our presents as possible. And so I've spent the last two weeks crafting up a storm. I even took advantage of the kids napping at the same time to whip out my sewing machine and whip up a couple of sewn presents. Having an extremely curious toddler i really don't get the chance to use my sewing machine much, but i really do enjoy it when i do sew. And this particular project was quite lovely

So this is how my list started,

Mum - red or purple
Dad - green maybe two shades?
Robyn - purple or blue
Ian - blue..again maybe two shades.

Then once I'd started making the parents gifts i suddenly thought..oh gosh Logan needs to have something to give to little Ava...oh I'll need to make something for Shayne-Lee too, can't forget Ava's big sister.. and then a friend said she was making something for Logan so i thought oh crap i haven't got her girl anything so suddenly i had three extra gifts on my list to make. A week and a bit out from Christmas and I'm making more things?!

I must be crazy..oh wait, yes, we knew that already.

Luckily yesterday all gifts were completed and my in laws have even received theirs already. We had an early Xmas lunch at their house this week as they'll be heading up the country to visit other family on Christmas. We had a BBQ and Logan had a great time running around the garden and following the cats as they wandered past. He even had his very first pavlova, a very kiwi tradition..he loved it and it looked so yummy..shame I'm allergic to eggs!

So as the in laws have received their gifts I'll tell you what i made them.... Facecloths! Yummy, scrummy 100% bamboo facecloths. Oh the yarn is just so soft and divine to use and the colours were really rather stunning too. These facecloths feel like pure luxury too.
                                           Poppa Ian's cloths stacked.
                                         Poppa Ian's cloths spread out.

 So for Poppa Ian's cloths i did a pretty simple granny square in one colour then edged it with three rounds of single crochet stitches in the contrasting colour. So simple and yet looks fantastic!

                                            Nanna Robyn's cloths stacked
                                          Nanna Robyn's spread out

So again i used the granny stitch only this time i went from the corner rather than centre and again the contrasting border. Don't they look lovely?!

I've made several washcloths now i lots of colours so I'm sure I'll do another post show casing them all together. but that will have to wait till after Christmas when everyone has received their gifts! Can't have them reading my blog and spoiling their surprises now can we. :)

All my lovely handmade gifts will get their own posts too but again, not till after Christmas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Time to stop crafting for everyone else! :)

I realised this week that i've spent the last few months mostly crafting for others. The kids and other family members. So half way through my final washcloth for my Dad i popped down my crochet hook and whipped out the sewing machine. Project custom dress began. I started off with a gorgeous wee dress i got from the local opshop for just $5! Only problem was its length and lack of straps. I'll be honest here I hate my knees. Thanks to my excema theyre dry and covered in scars so i hide them. This summer though it's clearly going to be too hot for trousers and i only have one pair of shorts. I dont do strapless tops or dresses, cause quite frankly my boobs are too big in my opinion. you'd think big boobs would hold dresses up...not in my case!
In the beginning there was a dress... When it came to the fabric to add to the length i wanted something bright and summery. I had two perfect fabrics. A gorgeous red with flowers and a lovely green with little we flowers and cherries. I honestly have spent three days staring at the fabric asking myself which one i like best...there is no answer. i love them both soo much.
I cut six two inch wide strips of the fabric each 29inches long, four red and two green and sewed them together. Red, green, red. The dress has a seam on each side, so to make the custom a little more natural looking I sewed each 29inch strip of the three end on end. With the seams lined up with the dress seams i pinned a bucket load of pinns to them and sewed around them bottome of the dress. Lots of ironing happend during this procces to keep all the seams nice a crisp. Things just look so much tidier that way!
once fabric was sewn on i then went around the bottom with and iron and pressed the raw edge inwards to tidy up the base of the dress. I went over the hem with a zig zag stich, from a distance it cant be seen but if you look closely its visable. I think the zig zag hemm just gives it that little extra something special. Break the mold, use some different stiches on your hems. if your really brave (or crazy) use a contrasting thread for that extra bold look. The straps were destined to be a bit fiddely. I'm currently breastfeeding my second child and will be for the forseeable future. I'm aiming for at least till shes one, but will see what she wants. if she wants longer he can have longer. Breast feeding is that little bit of calm in the maddness that is life. :) So i needed straps that would undo, allowing easy access. What better that recycling that old nursing bra i can't wear cause the fabric sets of my excema...seriously excema on the boob is NOT pleasant!!
The little nursing access clips i lined up just at the edge of the wee ruffle, so unless you're really looking for them you dont really notice them. Alot of expletives were uttered as i attached the straps...i stabbed my finger several times. Thankfully the kids were asleep so no chance of Mr 20 months reapeating mummies naughty words! phew. So with the straps attached i tried it on and its perfect!
Voila! I absolutely love my dress now!! Its perfect! Straps to avoid embarassing mishaps and allow easy acess for breastfeeding my girl, and pretty fabric for that splash of colour and extra length! It wonderful as a long skirt too, cause the straps tuck away, so i can dress it up with a smart collared shirt aswell. I'm off out to do the kids christmas shopping tomorrow with my mum. I'm hoping the weather will stay lovely so i can show off my new dress!!