Friday, 27 June 2008

mixtape 5

I'm really excited about this issue of mixtape. Not just because it is a fabulous zine, not just because it is put together by my lovely friends Nichola and Justine, not just because it has two fantastic covers this issue around:

I'm really excited because I have an article in there! It's a review of four of my favourite second-hand and out-of-print craft books. If you would like to make some time for the small things I urge you to click on over and buy a copy. I just know that you'll be happy that you did.

Monday, 23 June 2008

this is ... my favourite outfit that expresses my individual style

This is slow fashion, somewhat akin to slow food where you eat what is in season and locally available and plan your menu from there. Everything in this outfit was purchased at the op shop and that's my personal style. You take what you find, what fits you and that you have a need for and that's it, it becomes your personal style.

blouse - Salvation Army, Malvern - The label is Rusty, a streetwear brand that I doubt I would ever otherwise have encountered; less than $10. I love this blouse - it truly is a favourite.
jeans - Salvation Army, St Kilda - Vicious Threads which I had never heard of before. The waist is a bit loose but fine if I wear a belt (which I do anyway). I bought these at one of their 'designer sales' so they were a bit pricey ($50) but are very similar to my other pair of jeans which cost four times the price.
sneakers - Sacred Heart Mission, East St Kilda - White Puma Roma leather sneakers, not smelly when I bought them, $12. I wouldn't usually go for white sneakers but they were in good condition, exactly my size and I'm happy with them.

What I particularly love about slow fashion is that you become the style that the clothes you find present you with, rather than shopping your heart out for the other way around. It actually takes some of the pressure off and you get to try out things that you otherwise wouldn't have considered (eg bottle green velvet MNG trousers - they're great and at $4 I could afford to give them a try). All of the details on Melbourne's op shopping scene are of course available over at I op therefore I am.

Thursday, 19 June 2008


Oh, did I forget to mention that I made the flight from Melbourne to Seattle with baby bear by myself? Yes, Tim actually came to the US a couple of weeks before us to start work and I stayed behind to pack up the house (my choice to do so).

I have some faint recall from my uni days that in one of her books Virginia Woolf wrote something to the effect that on a particular day everything changed in the world. She was referring (however obliquely) to the publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species and the impact it was to have. Someone who paid better attention in twentieth century literature please remind me which book.

Last Thursday my world changed; I was walking through Seattle airport with baby bear on my hip in the Ergo Baby Carrier and a small suitcase (on wheels) in either hand, plus my handbag and the change bag. I was already a few steps past the security officer when I realised that her comment was directed at me: "Go mom!".

Mom - I am now a mom.

Monday, 16 June 2008

this is ... the space in which i create

While I am not currently creating in this space, I do hope to again someday. There is nothing more wondrous than to create a human life - every now and then I look at baby bear and the gravity of it hits me.

Not only do you create a new life but also a new self
. Motherhood may not be the meaning of life (although then again it may be) but it has certainly taught me the meaning of life - to live with passion, to live for a greater cause than one's self, to live in every single moment.

Thank you all for your recent enquiries - yes, we arrived in Seattle safe and sound. My previous post pretty much said it all; after the sorting, the clearing, the packing I was exhausted and completely at a loss for words. The flights were fine, baby bear travels well. Our luggage was misplaced between Los Angeles and Seattle which turned out to be a blessing because there is no way that we would have been able to get all of the suitcases into the car! They were delivered that evening to our door (free of charge) by a lost luggage service so that worked out really well.

Now it is just a matter of unpacking and settling in. I have, of course, brought a number of knitting projects with me but they are all stashed away in bags at the moment and I haven't sorted out a craft space for myself yet. All in good time.

This amazing red chalk drawing,
Gravid Uterus by Jan van Rymsdyk, is from 1764 and was produced for William Hunter's The Anatomy of the human gravid uterus which was "the most famous and influential obstetrical atlas of its day".

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Sunday, 8 June 2008

pants on fire

Sorting and packing you come across some fascinating old stuff, like this birthday card from when I turned ten. What does it look like a little girl is supposed to be when she grows up? In its defense, inside it does give movie star and lady astronaut as possible careers. Liar isn't among them.

I lied. On Friday I lied to the very pleasant gentleman from the removalist company who came to give me a quote (and now I'm trying to expiate it by confessing here, please bear with me). Now I'm not often one to tell lies (truly) - if I break something I take responsibility for it, if I'm asked for my opinion on something I don't like I'll manage to pick out a good point and make a comment on that. If I tell a lie, it's usually in a bid to make myself look better (shudder). And so I lied to the man from the removalist company when he asked me if I would be looking for work in the US. "Well, I'm a health economist", I replied, bold as brass. Health economist schmonomist. I'm doing my first subject, Introduction to Health Economics, and on Friday, I missed my exam.

For very good reason, mind you - I spent all Thursday night either vomiting or ... well, food poisoning, you get the picture. Friday morning I was ragged. To give you some perspective, the last time in living memory that I vomited was while giving birth (yeah ok, and there was the time a few years back in the taxi when I had dreadful tonsillitis but other than that ...)

The thing is, back to my self-aggrandising lie here, I have always so wanted to be something, to have a professional identity, to be able to say "I am a ...". Put it down to insecurity hanging over from having done an Arts degree. Anyway, I have applied for special consideration and hope to get a deferred exam. That and a nose job (Pinocchio reference) and I should be just fine.

this is ... my favourite travel memory

Sandro Botticelli, The Virgin and the Child (photo from Museo Poldi Pezzoli)

My favourite travel memory is one from our recent trip to Europe. Walking around the art galleries, baby bear would point to the Madonna and child paintings: "baby, baby" my baby would say. It was so beautiful my heart nigh wept.

Most of the time in the museums I carried her on my hip for fear of not being able to pay for anything that got broken, but there were some areas where everything was behind glass or out of reach. I had nothing to fear though - she wasn't the slightest bit interested in most of the displays. She did, however, take the opportunity to rearrange the furniture - if there was an empty museum guard's chair it ended up being dragged halfway across the room.

Travelling with a little one in Europe was a real joy. People responded so well to baby bear - they actually stopped in the street in Milan to exclaim 'che bella bimba'*. No 'che bella mama' for the ragged woman behind her who had just carried la bimba, stroller and all, up an entire flight of steps out of the metro but oh well, compliments, you take them where you can!

* What a beautiful little girl

Friday, 6 June 2008


A week or so back I wrote about my poor maths - that is, at the time that I was ready (ah, allowed) to cast on for a new project I was already up to sewing on the buttons. Here it is - Brambling from the Rowan Story Book of Little Knits by Marie Wallin. This is a lovely book (click on the link to see the entire long title) both a story book and a book of knitting patterns.

This was one of those instances where I opened the book, laid eyes on the pattern and just had to knit it. All other knitting plans went out the window.

The vital statistics
Pattern: Brambling by Marie Wallin, size 3 to 4 years.
Yarn: recycled - hooray! This 97% wool, 3% angora yarn started life as a women's jumper which I bought from Vinnie's Boutique (St Vincent de Paul) in Wynyard, Tasmania. It's a really cheap op shop so I can't imagine that it cost much more than $6. (The pattern calls for Rowan All Seasons Cotton.)
Needles: 4.5mm bamboo straights.
Start to finish: 23 March 2008 to sometime in April 2008.

Comments: Again, this is such a lovely jacket. One of the staff at baby bear's child care centre thought that we had bought it on our recent trip to Europe. Ah, glowing mummy. So yes, this was knit for baby bear. Obviously I substituted for the yarn (Rowan doesn't do recycled from Vinnie's) and I'm not sure if that made it a bit smaller overall than intended. Anyway, it fits her quite well now with room to grow.

I made some other slight changes - like leaving the welt and pocket off the sleeves, I like them better just smooth and unadorned. Choosing buttons for this project was really difficult because of the unusual colour of the yarn- it looks cream but is actually the palest blush pink. In the end I did what any good craftster does and made my own. Three Buttons has recently posted about Dorset buttons which are made on a metal or plastic ring; what I actually used is more like a button frame which you 'cover', that is embroider, using the yarn of your choice. Like a self-covered button but for yarn instead of fabric. They're called Creative Cover buttons, are made by Birch and available at Spotlight (Clover also does a variation, available at Clegs) and they're fantastic for getting a perfect match. There are four large buttons (22mm) and 10 small buttons (15mm) on the jacket and everyone is different. While being reasonably cheap, the buttons actually cost more than the yarn for this project, which says more really about what good value you can get from recycling yarn.

I also had some trouble with the button holes - just that I didn't make them well so I actually attached the larger buttons on top of the buttonholes and added clear press studs underneath. Clementine's Shoes has recommended a button hole method from her 'Vogue Knitting Bible' which I will try next time.

Pattern criticisms - hmm, a couple. The pattern involves knitting pleats to get the peplum effect and is silent on how to get the pleats to lie in different directions for either side of the jacket. Also the sleevecap didn't fit very well into the armscye - I'd recommend a slightly shorter sleeve, and a longer, wider sleevcap.

Verdict: (a new category) Very, very happy with this knit. And as it's from recycled wool which I put through the washing machine before using
, I know that I can wash it again and again.


One of my new year's intentions was to participate in a swap so I have signed up for Secret Pal 12. I've filled in the questionnaire and am waiting to find out who my pal is.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

sneak peak

Ooh, glorious technology - have a look at this. It's a sneak peak of of all the goodness mixtapezine provides. I've heard that issue five is really going to be something, including a review of some great secondhand craft books (um, my craft books actually - yes, my review too). And you can now subscribe and never miss an issue - hooray!

Monday, 2 June 2008

home delivery

I have already confessed that I can be really resistant to new things. Bloglines was one of them (for other resisters, this is a way of monitoring chosen blogs for activity). I am pleased though to be able to say that in the past tense - was one of them. A few days ago I set up my own feeds so that I know pretty much as soon as there is a new post to be read. And do you know what? I think that it has already increased my blog-reading efficiency which basically adds up to more time to read more blogs.

As you can see, there's now a link over there on the right that allows you to have bollewangenhaptoet home delivered, so to speak.

vol 10

Yes, onto volume 10 already (you may recall that we started with volume 9). It's all about beginnings this time actually. I love to look back at the chain of events that leads me somewhere - that because I went to a particular high school which offered life drawing (which I didn't do at the time), because of that I did life drawing later when I was at uni in Amsterdam and because of that I met an Australian guy who had a nice flatmate and here I am, married with an almost two-year old! Yes, I met Tim through his friend Chris because of a life drawing class. rest assured, none of us were the model.

Anyway, volume 10 of Golden Hands: the complete knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft guide features Irish crochet lace which is where a lot of crafty things started for me. I became interested in lace, realised that you could knit lace, started to knit and here I am, knit/craft/life blogging. This volume also introduces a new craft - netting - which while it doesn't really appeal to me is where I think it all started (or at least a lot of it) craftwise.
Fisherman doing their netting way back when, netting became needlework, I discovered crochet and here I am, still haven't knitted any lace yet.

Oh, and the pattern library - well, red's my favourite colour.

Sunday, 1 June 2008


The first of June is, of course, also the first day of winter and it really feels like it. My hands are chill as I sit here typing. Not that I am complaining - I love cold weather and think that Melbourne would be perfect if only it would snow here. (I know - Seattle - be careful what I wish for.)

And just in time for winter I have finished the green tweed beret. Heavens, it never even made it onto my 'busy with' list it all happened so fast.

The Vital Statistics
Pattern: Tweed Beret by Kristen TenDyke from Interweave Knits Winter 2006; 22 inch size
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silk Road Aran Tweed in shade Highlander;
85% Wool, 10% Silk and 5% Cashmere; not sure how many skeins (maybe a couple) as they were partly unravelled from a piece of knitting; all given to me by a dear friend
Needles: bamboo 4.5mm double-pointed needles to begin with; then Knit Picks interchangeable 4.5mm circular (note to self: must remember to return these to the owner)
Start to finish: 18 May 2008 to 1 June 2008
Comments: This was a good quick between projects fill in projects (not that I am between projects in the sense that I have nothing else to get on with, just every now and then you need something quick to knit right now - that was this). This is an easy knit if you are happy with knitting in the round - I started on dpns (cast on at the centre of the crown) and graduated up to magic loop on a circular. I was a bit unsure about the circumference of the brim and actually worked extra rows and decreases only to find that once I had cast off it was tiny. So yes, trust the pattern.

I still have two skeins left over plus some extra and plan to use it to make Dashing for Tim.

this is ...

... my darling pet, Tonic, who is sadly no longer with us (yes, there was once a Gin too). It has been several years but I haven't had a pet since and he is still so dear to my heart.

Thank you to Angela from Three Buttons for the invitation to participate in 'this is ...'. I'm really quite excited about it and have had this photo ready to go for daaaays. What's next week's theme?