Wednesday, 30 August 2017

A Granny Square Cardigan.

A few months ago I was learning to read a crochet pattern.  I was so happy about it, so enthusiastic in fact that I sent away for a pattern book full of crochet garments.  I could just imagine myself with a couple of lovely lacy cardigans to nonchalantly throw over my shoulders on a cool Summer evening.

But first things first.

I had to concentrate on what I was doing and learn properly from the beginning.

I was making a rug.  Theoretically, there were only five different crochet stitches, in various combinations that made up the pattern.  It seemed simple enough.  The stitch pattern repeat was twenty-four and the row pattern repeat was fifty-two....and then just carry on apparently.  Didn't sound too hard.

A calm beginning........


It started off fine (while I was concentrating) but oh boy, did I ever get sick of counting to twenty-four over and over.....or miscounting.  By the time the rug was about half a metre long, I had made so many mistakes. It got to the point that I couldn't sit down with a glass of wine and pick up my needles (or in this case hook) for a little while at the end of the day, as I love to do - and the sides of the rug were looking like a mad woman’s breakfast.  So in the end it was a choice between the rug or 'happy hour' and my sanity.  
I'm reluctant to admit that the rug got thrown into the wheelie bin during a tantrum of epic proportions a couple of weeks ago.  I didn't calm down until after the 'garbos' had been which was a bit unfortunate.

So....what to do about the lacy cardigan I had my heart set on?

After a bit of hunting around I managed to find a cute pattern for a granny square cardigan, downloadable.....and free.  I'm pretty sure I can make granny squares and enjoy a glass of wine at the same time – I think! 


So far so good.  No mistakes.  

If you do happen see any, please don't feel obligated to mention it.


Five granny squares down and only one hundred and thirty-seven to go.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Blogging with Rhonda

I'm one of a small group of people enrolled with Rhonda Hetzel from Down to Earth to learn a bit more about the blogging world.  Rhonda is teaching us some of the 'behind the scenes' things we need to know to keep our blogs chugging along smoothly.  As anyone who knows me well (or knows me at all really) will agree, I'm certainly no technical whizz when it comes to computers or smart phones, so this is all very exciting.

Last Sunday morning was our first Skype session.  In fact I hadn't used Skype at all until then. There was a two hour time difference and I was worried I would sleep in and miss the 7am start, but as it turns out I was so excited I barely slept at all and was up at about 5am shuffling quietly about waiting for the action.   Skype really is pretty amazing.  I honestly could not believe I was having a face to face conversation with Rhonda. Each time I looked at my own little image in the corner of the screen, I had my mouth open like one of those ping pong ball clowns at a carnival.
(I could just imagine my mum saying "Close your mouth Frances!")


My husband has set up a little temporary 'learning centre' for me in the spare room.  It was so peaceful and quiet on Sunday with the beautiful morning sun shining in the window and somehow I managed to take seven pages of notes during our two hour Skype session.

When I first started blogging, I thought it would be primarily for my family who live mostly interstate, so I just chatted on - relentlessly probably!  Now that I have discovered such a vibrant and knowledgeable 'maker' community out there, I'd like to be part of that too.  So, I'm hoping that by learning a little more about the blogging environment I can not only share our lives with family but also become more of a contributing member to the maker's world.

Now, let's see if I can put some of those seven pages of notes into practice without tangling myself up too much! 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Fibres West 2017

Fibres West is a week-long conference for textile and fibre enthusiasts held approximately every two years. This year there were ten national and international tutors, auditorium talks, classes, presentations, traders, displays, a 'bizarre bazaar' and so very much more.

I've actually been struggling to write a little something about Fibres West.   I know.....ridiculous for someone who loves a chat.  It was just such a wonderful experience that anything I write somehow seems a little bit lame or woody.  'Woody' is a word isn't it?

Comments like "Profound", "Life changing" and "Soul enriching" keep pouring out of my mouth any time someone asks about my week off - but actually putting my Fibres West experience into words has been quite hard.

I had a whole six days in Sandra Brownlee's 'Tactile Journals and the Written Word' class.  It wasn't so much a technique based class.  It was more about finding and bringing out our soul's desire.....see what I mean? Sandra's classes have a reputation for being life changing.

We spent the week working with our journals, ourselves, our thoughts and dreams, our goals for both our professional and personal lives, our love for textiles and our absolute thankfulness to be able to have so much unpressured time with other creative women.

We talked, laughed, cried, listened, walked, hugged, meditated, breathed, ate (lots), and appreciated
every.......single.......moment.

I met beautiful, courageous, creative and kind women -

and luxuriated in the peaceful, tranquil atmosphere of Muresk.


Sandra's journals are legendary -


as are her 'clothesline talks'.



We studied bookbinding and journaling methods of both Sandra's and other artists' work.


Absolutely exquisite binding on an old cut down phone book.



We worked in our own journals each day.  Shared readings, thoughts, written words, laughs, triumphs and discoveries.

We journaled after our walking meditations, being encouraged to write how we felt rather than what we saw.

Here's one of my pages.


Sandra always being ever present, 


patient, kind


and lots of fun!


Our class display on the last evening gave no real indication of the depth of transformation most of us had experienced during this week.


I know I'm richer, calmer, empowered and changed.

Thank you Sandra Brownlee.



Post script:

"It'll be cold" they said.

"Oh I'll just take a couple of singlets, it'll be ok" I replied.