Monday, 29 October 2007


hi·a·tus [hahy-ey-tuhs]
–noun, plural -tus·es, -tus.
1. a break or interruption in the continuity of a work, series, action, etc.

It has been an event-filled few days here at bollewangenhaptoet. This has included:

- being vomited on at three o'clock in the morning
- getting locked out of the house
- amusing a one-year old single-handedly in an airport lounge for five hours.

As such we'll be taking what feels like a well-deserved short break here in sunny/cloudy/rainy/foggy/windy Tasmania and will (attempt to) resume normal programming upon our return to Melbourne. (And I forgot the camera, again.)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

hot bargain

Dear Carlisle Street is blessed (or should that be afflicted?) with some half dozen two-dollar shops. Why is there such a market for cheaply manufactured rubbish in Balaclava? And nothing there ever costs $2. I don’t understand.

Really, I would be quite happy if the two-dollar shops were rationalised down to just, well, two would be plenty. And one of them would definitely be Hot Bargain (corner of Carlisle Street and Woodstock Street, open everyday until about 6:30pm), because it is the one closest to us and because it is our (Tim’s) favourite (it’s his favourite because it’s the one closest to us). I have been known to part with a small gold coin or two there myself in the past – they have a stand with Birch elastic and Güterman sewing thread and basic sewing needles which can really come in handy.

And what could Carlisle Street do with in place of all the rationalised two-dollar shops? I would love to see a second-hand book store, a Medicare office, possibly even another bar with big comfy sofas where we could hold a Balaclava stitch’n’bitch session. There I could work on some knit graffiti (did you see the Good Weekend this Saturday past?). My neighbour has incited me to produce a balaclava (what else?) to adorn the streetscape somewhere. I agreed to do so if she would climb up on the railway bridge and affix it to one of the mermaids in the Lady of St Kilda mural.

Other changes that could be made to Carlisle Street? Oh, don’t even get me started on the Subway.

Monday, 22 October 2007


I think that I may previously have mentioned that I have an overlocker - well here she is, my elna LOCK (they must have gotten a consultant to help them name the model, that's what I associate that out-of-place italicisation and capitalisation with). It's been a couple of months since I bought it, but only yesterday that I actually used it for the first time. Hooray! I'm so happy with it.

The Elna lock (we'll drop the consultant speak) was one of my early ebay purchases. I think that I was very lucky that I happened to be the only person in the market for one at that time who was in the right place to collect it because it only cost me $25.00 - bargain. I did also spend $82.50 to have it serviced but I have no idea how one fits together and was afraid of causing damage if something was out of alignment. Turns out that it was all in good working order. Ah well, the price of peace of mind.

What took me so long to get around to using it? Oh well, you know, finding the time, getting it down off the shelf, learning to thread it ... yes, I was a little afraid of it. In the end I got Tim to help me out (being a mechanically minded bloke and all) and it turned out that the problem with my previous threading efforts was that the needle was not properly engaged.

Yesterday and today I have been starting out with some small projects. Baby bear is a very good independent eater but she also loves to throw her food over the side of the high chair's tray table. At a friend's suggestion I made a pile of multi-purpose cloths out of an old towel that I can use to mop up her hands and face, then wipe the tray table and the floor. The old towel is one of two that I bought for my first trip to Europe when I was 20. That was in 1995 so the towel has lasted well (not sure where the other one is) and now has a new lease of life. I can think about baguettes in Paris and appelgebak in Amsterdam while I mop up baby bear's soggy weetbix.

Friday, 19 October 2007

top of the class

It is only four days ago that the Elizabeth Zimmerman tomten jacket in Noro graduated from the 'best intentions' list to the 'I'm busy with' list and already it is at the top of the class. I have completed the back and fronts (knit all in one piece) and have the hood and sleeves to go. What is it about the tedious sewing up on the baby ballerina top fronts (yes, they are both finished) that can inspire me to power through this much garter stitch? Generally speaking, I dislike garter stitch and was only prepared to give this garment a go because I liked the construction and was sure that the result would be awfully cute. Now I can't wait to make more.

This is the first time that I have used Noro yarns - the Kureyon is a lovely weight and the colours are wonderful. I am concerned though that this colourway is a bit too dark for a little girl. When the knitting is complete, I'll consider lining it in a fabric that picks out the bright pink or light purple to brighten it up a bit. I'm very happy with the colour spacing in the yarn and I love the way that garter stitch blends the tones even further by virtue of the stitch structure. Perhaps that's partly why it knits up so quickly - there's the intrigue of what colour variation will come next? what will the next row look like?

I have to admit that I was a bit resistant to the whole EZ thing at first. Yes, 'the whole EZ thing'. I'll try to explain that later.

A couple of instances of ubiquidipity before I go. Only Midge, an Australian designer handbags company, is using the ladybird fabric in their current rage - the same fabric that features in my most recent refashion. And, on Spicks and Specks this Wednesday evening past there was a question about the Pogues - what the band's name means in Gaelic. Ah, what an obscure item of musical ephemera. Well, not so ephemeral because the very next day it came up again in the novel I'm reading, The Steep Approach to Garbadale by Iain Banks. I'm really enjoying it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

mccall's 2403

This is the pattern that I purchased a few weeks ago for an unlined child's coat which I will not be making from polar fleece. I intend (oh, one day) to make a woollen version from a recycled Romeo Gigli jacket and a summer version from this great 60s cotton sundress.

It's always great to find a vintage dress that is 100% cotton. I'm sure that synthetics seemed like a good idea at the time, but the number of great op shop items that I have passed up because they were made from Dacron or BriNylon ... sob. Unfortunately this dress doesn't fit me, and I don't like the zip down the front, but I wasn't prepared to part with some original vintage natural fibres. Oh, and another great retro tag.

It's also the dress that I used in the banner for the I op therefore I am blog.

Sunday, 14 October 2007


Following on from previous posts about my best intentions and my thing about Scanlan&Theodore is yet another planned project. Let me explain.

Some time after leaving S&T, Fiona Scanlan started designing Children's clothes = Big by Fiona Scanlan. There's not really much to see on the website but I spent a bit of time perusing the collection in Myer a few weeks ago. There I was quite taken with a very simple blue and white check dress with a lovely crochet, hmm, not quite a collar because it sat only in the centre front, but also not a jabot because there was no ruffle. Oh, let's just call it an elaborate crochet motif applied to the front.

Instantly, I wanted to make this dress, mostly because I love to crochet and there is nothing that spurs a craftstress more than the 'oh, I could do that' response. Further, there is little chance that we will forego paying the electricity bill to purchase any Big by Fiona Scanlan for baby bear in the near future (although I do have a jacket stashed away for her in a size 4 courtesy of Sacred Heart Mission - $12.)

I had a quick leaf through some crochet books for similar motifs but then had a brainwave - re-use. I made some fabulous purchases at Prahran Mission Goodwill Shop a week or so a go (have a look!) and this piece of lace will make do very nicely as a collar decoration. The pattern will be a very simple one courtesy of Golden Hands . The fabric I think I will purchase - it caught my eye the other day when I had a quick browse at Cutting Edge Fabric.

It's another one to add to the best intentions list. It can take the place of the Elizabeth Zimmerman tomten jacket in Noro Kureyon, shade 148. I've cast on.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

crime fiction

I love crime fiction.

It started in primary school with Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden from which was born my first career ambition - to be a private detective. I had a lot of the TB books but in high school I gave them away to Kirsty ... what was her last name? I wanted to be Honey Wheeler and considered that my hair was just about the right shade for it but although I have blue eyes, they are not quite violet like Honey's. The honey shade of Honey's hair and the violet of her eyes were mentioned in every book. As was the fact that Trixie's brother's car was a jalopy - that's where I learnt the word jalopy.

My next phase was Agatha Christie. I don't think that I have read them all but very near to. My crime fiction reading waned a bit after that, until my university days when I started reading Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels and remembered how much I loved it. Some of those early books scared me silly. I haven't been at all impressed with her novels after The Last Precinct when she changed her style altogether and not for the better.

I've read all of PD James' novels - these are great books, more like a novel in which a murder occurs and is solved than a murder mystery. Sue Grafton - from A is for Alibi all the way through to S is for Silence and T is for Trespass is coming at the end of this year - excellent. I started reading this series long after the first ones were written and it was great to read through it, one after the other, and watch Sue Grafton's writing develop. And I love Kinsey Millhone. Ian Rankin's Rebus novels - great reading. I've got the final Rebus, Exit Music, on reserve at the library; I'm eighth in line but hey, I can wait.

I'm currently reading my way through Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael series. These are harmless enough novels and there's always a comely maiden and a handsome youth who fall in love at first sight. I have just finished this, the fourth in the series - sixteen more to go.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

my eyes are bigger

You would be forgiven for thinking that I have more ideas than I have time to execute. You would be right. I have, however haphazardly, been working on the odd thing.

This little jumper is an op shop purchase that I have refashioned. I really liked the red and white stripes and the fact that it is 100% cotton but didn't like the bear and 'baby club' embroidery on the front. I have only shown the wrong side of said offending embroidery here - not to show you my neatly finished ends (hmph) but because I didn't take a photo beforehand. On the right is my refashion solution using a scrap of fabric kindly supplied by Di of Clementine's Shoes - do you recognise it here in her wonderful baby sling? Thanks Di!

It was a very simple refashion which, of course, was not simply achieved. I cut the piece of fabric to size (simple) and stuck it down with spray fabric adhesive (also simple). I then sewed the patch down with sewing thread (reasonably simple but the fabric frayed a tad in parts). Then after a very enjoyable trip to The Button Shop to choose just the right shade of embroidery floss (Anchor 44) I went to buttonhole stitch around the border. Not so simple because it just didn't look right so I did very small back stitch all around the edge and then the buttonhole stitch. Laborious but satisfying.

Oh, and the ladybird. Not to forget the lovely ladybird - gorgeous.

I have previously written about some materials, all recycled from the op shop, that I have collected to make a bag from. Gradually, I have been making progress on this too. The bag itself will be made from a felted dark green wool jumper. Inspired by a friend's lovely Gorman bag, I am going to do a tree appliqué/embroidery. The trunk is cut from a lambswool Esprit jumper that I bought some time ago from Josies - before cutting I stabilised it with iron-on interfacing on the wrong side.

The leaves are cut from a cotton jumper utilising the fashioning at the shoulder seams to represent the veins in the leaves, also stabilised with iron-on interfacing. Seams on cotton jumpers can be quite bulky so how did I get the leaves to be so flat? Well ... I actually undid the shoulder seams and ironed the knit fabric flat. Then I sewed the seam again on the machine using very small stitches and trimmed off the fabric beyond the seam. Then back under the iron. Very laborious, but also very satisfying.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

golden hands

This wonderful book came in the mail today - it's so exciting to come home from work to a package peeking out from underneath the doormat. The Golden Hands Book of 60 Things to Sew for Children. When I first saw this book a couple of weeks ago it was an incredible nostalgia trip for me - upon opening it I realised that I already knew this book from when I was a child. True déjà vu.

I recognised the models and remembered which ones I liked best and who as a child I wanted to be friends with (the blonde girl in the grey culotte dress). The book was published in 1973 (isbn 0 600 07164 2), has a banana yellow and chocolate brown colour scheme and includes a number, well, 60 classic 70s patterns. Oh, and the terminology - 'adorable sleeveless beach robe' (in pastel striped terry towelling), 'crisp trouser suit', 'gaily trimmed pinafore'. These are patterns that call for ric-rac and a large stash of shirring elastic.

I intend to use some of these patterns to make the items that I have in mind for baby bear from my op shop purchases. The measurements are all in inches which should be fun to work with.

Monday, 1 October 2007

wip update

Actually, finally - a finished product. Five finished products in fact but the other bibs are either in the wash or have been given away already. There's one that I embroidered for a friend's little girl's birthday over at Wardrobe Refashion.

I have now used up almost all of the leftover cotton yarn that I used to knit the baby bobble jacket. That's a lot of mileage out of a jumper that I bought for only a few dollars at the op shop. The button is a lovely wooden one that I bought at, of all places, Dimmeys. I was walking past the Bridge Road, Richmond store one day and realised that I needed some sewing thread and that I might just find some there. Now, I have to hold my breath and steel myself to enter Dimmeys - the general ambiance of chaos in there is enough to give me a panic attack. But upstairs at the Bridge Road store they have a good haberdashery section with really good wooden buttons.

I'd like to make a few more of these bibs - I have some similar weight cherry red cotton unravelled and recycled from another jumper that I may use for the purpose. I think that I will shape the straps on future bibs though so that they curve
slightly in towards each other.

In other recycled knitting news, I am progressing on the baby ballerina top - one front side and collar complete, the other almost there. I still haven't made my trip to the digital scales at Coles though - maybe tomorrow. And I dropped by Josies today - as I often do - and found a cotton/linen mix knit in a dark brown, sleeveless, probably just about enough yarn to knit Molly from Debbie Bliss' Junior Knits.