Homespun Blahs

Last week Loobylu was named Blog of the Week in the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald. With the observations that it is the scenes of domestic bliss that keep readers coming back for more I thought I should mention that some days just don’t go that well. A lot of days actually. Amelia and I did this little collaborative portrait last Friday afternoon in the aftermath of a horrendous tantrum. She seemed to know exactly what colours and line work the portrait needed to really express what had been going on.

I can’t remember what had been bugging her. I didn’t give her the right drink bottle, or I wouldn’t let her watch tv in the middle of the day (“ELMO! ELMO! WHAAA!”) or something equally annoying for her but it had been the lying on the floor howling, limb flailing kind of tantrum which was just one of many that day. Fortunately a long walk and a dinner of dhal on toast calmed her down in time for bed.

On a craftin’ note, I ordered some wool from the Bendigo Woollen Mills last week through my Mum’s lovely friend Ina – A big ball of some delicate bluey-greeny-pinky stuff to make Amelia a basic sweater (oooh! scary!) and a ball of lime green stuff to turn into a hot water bottle cover as winter creeps up on us. I have decided that it’s time to move on from the old scarf pattern. The wool should arrive tomorrow along with some for my Mum. She is knitting the same sweater so I have coaxed her into letting me knit along with her as I am terrified of taking on anything that requires sleeves that need to be a correct length. Or just anything with extra bits – unlike scarves. I also paid a visit to the most amazing Sunspun last Thursday where I had every intention of spending some birthday money. I wanted to find some Noro Gemstones yarn to turn into the charm bag from Stitch ‘n Bitch but they had never heard of it and all the other Noro yarn was scarily expensive. So I wandered around aimlessly getting lost in the sensory experience that is Sunspun. Mmm… great colours this season. As Big-P and I are now existing on a strict budget, I have to make sure I am really going to start (and finish) these projects before buying yarn willy-nilly and adding to my fast growing stash. I have quickly learnt that finding something that you want to knit and rushing out to buy the required yarn and needles is fun and exciting but expensive and for me gives me some kind of quick fix without a guarantee that I am going to actually knit anything. Bad me.

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22 Responses

  1. That portrait is perfect! I totally envisage the rage!!
    I know what you mean about starting and finishing..but I believe you can do it!
    Knit that gorgeous bluey-greeny-pinkey sweater.. and even if it’s not perfect, doesn’t mean it’ll be any less wonderful.
    My brother and I still fight over the “cozy scarf” that my mother knit years ago..and which she counted all wrong. It’s verrry long which makes it even better!! And it’s uneven..but we love it!

    By the way..lime green is an awesome choice of colour!

  2. says:

    That Noro Gemstones is an absolute nightmare — I’m having the same trouble, having even bought bloomin’ bamboo handles to make that bag. I think it has been discontinued — occasionally the odd skein turns up on ebay

  3. i heart sunspun in a big way.

  4. claire – you are on your way to becoming a true knitter!i think we all spend way too much on yarn, leave projects unfinished & can’t wait to start new ones. it’s normal! you will do great. don’t put too much pressure on yourself. amelia will look adorable in her new sweater.

  5. says:

    That tantrum stage–what a horror. I remember my daughter going into just what you describe–a limb-flailing, screaming mess. And all because I had asked her to pick up her socks. My mother witnessed it all and said, “There is something wrong with that child.” Which of course had me in tears too.
    Well, I’m here to tell you that it all passes. My daughter is now 25, is serving in the US Peace Corps about 7000 miles from home (miss her a lot!) and is just about my dearest friend.

    Amelia J will grow into the same kind of strong, wonderful, funny, well-adjusted, insightful person.

  6. says:

    Noro Gemstones has been discontinued!!! 🙁

    I’m in the same dilemma, as I wanted to make that bag for a friend!

    HOWEVER, this weekend I picked up some LOVELY Noro Silk Garden (in color 74) at 15% off!!! It won’t knit up to the right gauge, but if you knit it on 16″ size 8 (US) circulars, it’ll make a cute little handbag about 3/4 version of that charm bag (and it’ll use WAY less yarn (meaning WAY cheaper) – I bought 4 hanks or skeins or whatever they are, but I’m pretty sure I’ll only need one or two)

    Judging by my gauge (5 st/in) the bag should measure about 8″x6″ it should be ADORABLE!!

    We should do a knit-along!!!

  7. says:

    btw, what pattern are you using for that sweater? I need a fun, B-A-S-I-C sweater pattern (preferably child’s since they’re SMALLER) to test out my sweatering ability!!!

  8. Tip for sleeves: Knit both sleeves at the same time (side by side on the needles using two balls of yarn) and you will be sure to have the same rows, increases/decreases, tensions, etc. and even if you have the sleeves the wrong size or whatever, they will match 🙂

  9. My daughter was a tantrum queen, but now she is fourteen and perfectly calm and reasonable. Not even in the army… So hang in there and stay patient.

  10. says:

    oh my God!!! I am floored by how much we like the same things – and now I see Northern Exposure as one of your favourite shows! Mine too! Did you buy it locally or over the internet? Don’t you love Chris in the morning?

  11. Congrats on the writeup! Your blog delights me!

  12. Oh, Sunspun looks wonderful! I have a day off work tomorrow, part of it was dedicated to the Button Shop in Malvern, but I think I’ll have to make a beeline for Sunspun. I have visions of a tartan hat with a big yellow pompom on it. Horrid, possibly, but I really want to make a pom pom!
    Well done on the write-up, too, as well as the creative little daughter, Claire!

  13. Noro Gemstones has been discontinued (as others have noted), but Noro Lotus has a similar ribbony look and is only a little heavier – you can get it here among other places. It’s still pretty expensive, though.

  14. re: the chinese charm bag – after checking out the pattern and the comments on, you can safely use pretty much anything that you like, because it’s a lined bag. raffia could be kinda cool for an old school look with the bamboo handles (i’ve seen it at $2 shops, but haven’t tried it…) – if you don’t get gauge, just do a swatch with 20 sts, and do the math to work out how many stitches you’ll need to cast on to get 13.5 inches. noro has beautiful yarns, but methinks there are other swanky cheap alternatives to be had when making something like this. it’s a really neat simple pattern to play with.

  15. says:

    I’m having the same strict budget blues…and I’m still buying the $3 balls of wool from Spotlight. I usually have them on the list for a month before I say “oh, what the hey, who’ll notice a missing $6”. Even $6 makes a difference tho. Oh, woe is me!

  16. Hey thanks all… I like your suggestions Kylie and Lara… I am also wondering where to get cheap real bamboo handles other than hunting through op shops. I know Lincraft and Spotlight have plastic ones which look pretty good but I would prefer to go with the real thing. Thanks for the link Emma… Noro Lotus looks really interesting AND expensive! Such is life. Lara – it’s a really basic and actually pretty boring patons one. It has a little bit of fancy ribbing but I am hoping to work my way up to knitting stuff out of Rowan Junior… which has beautiful stuff.

  17. says:

    I bought some from here that weren’t massively expensive:

    …but I’m in the UK, so I don’t know how helful that actully is to you, sorry!

  18. says:

    My husband just looks at me, sighs and rolls his eyes when he finds that I have purchased yet another pattern, needles (I never have the right size already) and yarn. I have been hellishly bad though this year and am knitting concurrent jumpers for my two girls. My aim is to finish them both at the same time because how could I knit one for one and not for the other or finish one before the other? Or do I just need to get out more and stop spending all my time knitting while the washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking etc etc falls further and further behind ???? And we all have those exhausting and exhasperating tantrum days and anyone with children who says otherwise is lying!!

  19. says:

    I’m not sure how this worked out, since the original pattern calls for *6* skeins of Noro Gemstones(at 3 st/in on size 10s), but I’m halfway done with my mini-charm bag using Noro Silk Garden (at 5 st/in on size 8s) and I’ve only used HALF a skein!!! Which makes this project MUCH cheaper than I thought!!! Claire… it’s not really the same as Gemstones, but it IS quite pretty…when I finish it, I’ll send you a pic! Hell, if you give me your addy, maybe I’ll send you one of my leftover skeins as a “welcome to knitting” present 🙂

  20. says:

    Lovely blog, just loooverly. So refreshing, I spend most of my time on the web on political mission, the rest I devote to collecting old knitting patterns, and of course more yarn. The knitting box spilleth over. My four sons were the Tamtrum Kings of Oz. My dad said “thrash the buggers”; Sometimes our parents are no help at all. Back then I was scared of the kids. Seriously!
    The good news is; most children grow out of it.
    The bad news is; you have new adventures in little children guerilla warfare every year.

    Distraction was the ‘weapon of choice’ I used on my little darlings.

  21. says:

    The chinese charm bag in stich and bitch is a great pattern, no matter what kind of yarn you use, really. I just made my yarn double thick, and used a 65% wool, 35% silk blend that had lots of bright cerulean hues with bits of pink and purple with a sky blue liner, and it turned out spectacular.