Monday, 30 January 2012

Elephant Baby Blanket

A very close friend of mine is very close to her due date for her much longed for second baby boy. This little boy has been a while in coming and given he's the second child, his mummy is very keen that he should get a few special items to call his own. For this reason, I created a little cotton baby pram blanket that will be his own entirely and that will be hardy enough to go everywhere with him and soft enough to be a comforting presence. Given it is the middle of summer here, this blanket should be useful for slightly cooler nights and take him well into autumn/winter.

The design was inspired by seeing Melanie Rice's Baby Elephant Vest in Interweave 2011 (also on Ravelry). I modified her elephant design to become a mummy elephant leaning towards her baby and also added a daddy and another little elephant - to make an elephant family. It is a simple lace pattern in a 4ply format (using Bendigo Cotton in Latte colour here). It would work equally well in a wool format.

Elephant Family Baby Blanket - Copyright Estelle McDonald 2012

Elephant Family Baby Blanket - Copyright Estelle McDonald 2012

This pattern will be available for free later in February from the A Passionate Yarn website.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Hot! Hot! Hot!

What a hot Australia Day it has been! It hit 42 degrees celsius and therefore, the usual activities of picnic in the park were a little subdued in our neighbourhood. Everyone was inside in front of the air conditioner...ours was struggling. However, I got to have a nice long knit (in front of the air conditioner) while the boys and my lovely husband had an afternoon sleep.

We went to the park early today ...we gravitated towards the water and the shade!

Even the ibises seemed to be keeping to the shade! You can even see some brave souls who were setting up for their 9 am, it was already well into the low 30 degrees.

It's been an exciting few days. My first ever professional photoshoot was yesterday for some of my own designs and for the knitwear to be sold through A Passionate Yarn. We did it early to avoid the heat and our beautiful little models had a ball. So did we! It was a mixture of chalk, cupcakes, basketball and lots of laughter. Looking forward to sharing those photos with you soon....

Hope you're keeping cool! Happy knitting!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Birthday Boy

Today has been a momentous was five years ago today that our eldest son was born and we became parents for the first time ever. My husband and I held this little baby boy, with so much love and yet feeling so unprepared and inadequate for the task ahead. In the weeks and months that followed our little boy blossomed and our love grew and despite the challenges along the way...we loved it all (well perhaps not the feeding issues and the lack of sleep but all the rest, yes!). I'm happy to say that now this little baby has grown into a big, tall 5 year old boy, ready to face full-time pre-primary! He's a smart, funny, loving, chatty, sociable boy who enriches our lives every day.

Happy Birthday!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Yarn Bombing Hurray!

Today was my first ever yarn bombing experience. It was a community event organised by the City of Stirling (as mentioned a few blogs ago) and held right next to the beach. The end result of today's and Saturday's workshops will be fixed around Scarborough Amphitheatre in time for the start of the Summer Festival on February 3rd. Very exciting!

It all started off with each participant donating some wool (great opportunity for me to de-stash..and perhaps justify future yarn purchase?) and we also had lots of wool donated at the local libraries. See below my offering.

We were probably about 30 people at our most busy in the room and over the time we would have probably had over 40 people in at some stage. We were all knitting or crocheting in all sorts of styles and colours. We even had a fair number of first timers including children which made it all the more fun. It was amazing to see how everyone knitted, the colours and styles they chose and also the speed with which some of them knit! I think we all enjoyed having a good chat and a knit. You'll see the table in front of us was piled high with yarn of all sorts.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon at yarn bombing and meeting all the wonderful knitters, especially Eleanora! If you get a chance to get down to the next session on Saturday, do so, it is great fun.

Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of our finished pieces but will make sure I get down to the beach front to take photos of the end result.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Clouds of Misery Interspersed with Bursts of Sunshine

With the temperature soaring and a summer cold well-entrenched, I'm finding it a bit hard to sit down to write this blog! This summer cold is in the early but persistent stages where you've already gone through the stage of hoping that this is just a bit of sleep deprivation, past the point of "this is just hay fever" and coming to the realisation that this cold is here to stay. The blurry fog is settling in as we speak! And the constant companionship of a tissue box is something I am now resigned to.

Instead of dwelling on such miserable thoughts, I thought I'd share one of my great knitting joys of these past couple of days. When I went down south during the Christmas break, I went with my mother-in-law to visit a wonderful, inspiring yarn shop in Margaret River, Western Australia. The Margaret River Wool Company is run by Justine, who is exactly what you want a yarn shop owner to be...friendly, approachable, knowledgeable and passionate about yarn! I was asking her about which cotton yarns she particularly liked and she suggested that I try the Rowan Belle Organic DK range. It is a lovely mix of 50% organic cotton/50% organic wool.

Given I was and still am (*sigh*) on a yarn diet, this was a bit of indulgence and only bought 2 balls in the Tomato shade (a lovely dark pink), enough for a little scarf.

I've completed about two thirds of this scarf and while I can only show a little bit of it in progress - I have to tell you that is has been a really beautiful yarn to work with...very soft to handle, a little splitty but nothing annoying and the colour just makes me happy every time I look at it. I'm sure it will be wonderful to wear! The other side has been blocked and this little scarf will be up in a little while under the patterns on the new A Passionate Yarn website. A good short summertime/autumn scarf project.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Summertime and the Living is Easy

Summer is definitely here...we're averaging 36 degrees celsius during the daytime and the nights are not cooling down to mid-20s. It is officially hot! And hot weather is not a knitter's best friend. Wool knitting at 36 degrees is in the "way beyond crazy" territory unless of course you are blessed with very efficient air-conditioning.

This weekend we escaped the heat to the beautiful south west of Western Australia in Busselton which has beautiful sandy beaches. We had two perfect days of beach playing, a little socialising and lazing in air-conditioned comfort. We had invited one of our eldest son's kindy friends and his family and it was great having four little boys running about with each other, some adult conversation and fish and chips!

We even did the most Australian of in the park.

Even on such trips, the knitting is never far away and it is amazing what you can get done a little bit here and a little bit there. My mum gave me a wonderful gift that makes knitting out and about a breeze - it's a small zipped knitting bag that holds just enough to have one project (including a big 200g Bendigo ball), needles, tape measure and scissors. My apologies for the poor picture - it was taken on the way back up to Perth in the car. The bag also helps keeping the yarn from falling out all over the car on the way down! It was made by one of the ladies from the Village Pedlar in Balingup, a great place that I go to every time I'm down that way.

Also, got a bit of a knitting fix by visiting a wonderful little yarn and quilting shop called the Blue Box in Busselton. There is a great range of all ply yarn (English and Italian yarns) and even some cool designs for children by the Blue Box team. I couldn't resist getting a simple garter stitch sweater pattern for toddlers.

All in all, a wonderful's summertime and the knitting is easy!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Yarn Bombing!

Yarn bombing is something I've always read about as being a strange but very fun urban art / mass mob affair mainly done in the United States and Canada...BUT it is arriving in Perth and at the beach no less! According to some yarn bombing enthusiasts, yarn bombing is all about improving the urban landscape one stitch at a time. Something we can all aspire to!

For all those Perth knitters, Knit the Beach is happening next week in event not to be missed! See the link here. 

Here's a beautiful image of yarnbombing by

Happy knitting everyone!