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September, 2012 Monthly archive

Monday 17 September 2012

These are all moments from my Monday, always a busy day juggling many balls.

Today was all about getting organised for the school holidays ahead. I love the break from routine that holidays represent. Not having to pack a lunch box x 3, 5 days per week makes me a happy girl. So too does not having to come up with a clean uniform x 3 every morning. That’s a lot of pressure on this domestically challenged mother.

I managed to post two custom order throws to their new owners today. Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to share a photo with you of the throws in their new homes. I can’t wait to see how they are used. It’s always a pleasure to see my bits and bobs being loved and enjoyed.

We had a lunch time visit today from one of my Hubby’s oldest friends. He is a gorgeous man of Greek and Italian descent. His Mum adores my Hubby and so a visit from this friend always means homemade treats and huge volumes of them. Gotta love a Nonna.

It is often at night, when the peeps are fast asleep, that I garner the energy to start something new. I tend to knit with the big sticks during the day when I’m feeling the most energised. It’s very heavy work. The needles in the picture are still big by knitting standards but to me they feel tiny. I must say, it is a bit of a treat using them. This is the start of a linen scarf that I’ll pass on to the talented Karen and Pepa from Shibori to dip dye. My Hubby has already put his order in for one.

I’ve also continued my experiments with fibre. This is linen fibre. This particular fibre has a short staple so it’s not so great for knitting with: but, I have other plans for this lusciousness anyway.

Aren’t these point shoes beautiful? They are brand new and belong to my honoury Fourth Child. Fourth Child  purchased these on the weekend and to say that this gorgeous girl was excited just doesn’t do her justice. Fourth Child, at the tender age of 10, is a dedicated ballerina: 11 training sessions every week and numerous eisteddfods and examinations every year. I have never seen such dedication and commitment in someone so young. Fourth Child’s discipline to her craft is something to behold: she is destined for something special this one and it is such a joy to bear witness to the realisation of her potential. You go girl! You are the Dancing Queen.

 

 

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Interior view of Les Interieurs

Have you ever been to Les Interieurs in Newport Beach Sydney? If you haven’t, you must make a beeline to its doors. Les Interieurs is arguably one of the most beautiful homewares stores in Sydney. It is the creation of Pamela Makin who is a renowned interior stylist.

Pamela’s retail concept is refreshingly unique in that she curates a new homewares collection every few months. Each new collection is based on an always stylish colour way. Pamela sources one-off pieces from around the globe that best reflect and capture the essence of the chosen colour way. Her range is a mixture of vintage furniture, original finds, hand-crafted objects and  soft furnishings and irresistable decorative pieces.

Pamela also loves to support local designers, artisans and craftspeople: that’s were Little Dandelion comes in to the picture. It is so refreshing when you find people who understand the importance of supporting local craftspeople. To have someone like Pamela like what you do is also a great compliment. Pamela’s taste is exceptional.

Little Dandelion linen throw

When I first walked into Les Interieurs I was a little overwhelmed because everything is just so darn beautiful. This shop is seriously a case of “what not to buy here”. I have spent years on the periphery of the rag trade so I understand that the ability to visually merchandise product in a way that makes it irresistable is a gift. Anyone can be taught the technical aspects of visual merchandising but to do it successfully is a whole other matter. You need to work intuitively to be really good at VM. You need to be able to visualise your space and your product on a macro level. You need to have a commercial eye to ensure that you place your product in a way that will make people want to buy it. Above all, you need to have exceptional taste. Pamela has all of these abilities in spades.

Little Dandelion woollen chain scarf

OMG – I love those hand knitted twine baskets in the picture above.  I love the colour, I love the concept, I love everything about them. I understand they are made by another local craftsperson so that makes them even better. When I first visited the store, Pamela had a stunning floral arrangement made from twigs and foilage coming out of them. To die for!

Little Dandelion bed runner

I LOVE white linen. It is classic, it is elegant but it is also relaxed. There is something extremely luxurious about the notion of white linen. It makes me think of summer holidays, azure blue water, lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand………

The bed runner in the above picture is made from a heavy grade linen. I cut the strips of linen by hand from a 20 metre roll which was 150cm wide. What was I thinking??? Clearly I wasn’t at the time and the exercise taught me that the practice of cutting the fabric myself is totally unsustainable. Once the strips were cut, I then machine stitched them together to create a seam. I then machine washed the strips, deliberately frayed the strips to the seam and then dryed them on a low setting in the dryer. Just to get the strips in a form ready for knitting took me 5 days. The runner used up the entire roll of fabric and took me about 8 hours to knit. Again, what was I thinking?

I think it’s hard for people to understand what goes into making something by hand. That’s why the “back story” of any hand made item is both extremely interesting and important to tell.

Little Dandelion linen throw in focus

This linen throw is made from an incredibly supple linen which has a self-herringbone stripe running through the fabric.  The linen drapes beautifully and it is so soft against the skin. I have made two custom order blankets now out of this fabric but in a different colour way. Both owner’s have kindly reported how much they love them and how comforting they are to use. Linen is like that though – warm in winter and cool in summer.

One more thing – I have to mention the amazing black ceiling light shades in the picture above. Pamela had these flown in from France especially for this collection. Now that is commitment to a cause as far as I’m concerned. Importing things like this can be such a palava. The shades are hand knitted and look stunning. You need to see them first hand to truly appreciate their scale and beauty: a bit like my knits really.

If you happen to be in Newport anytime soon, you must drop in for a visit. Les Interieurs is Christmas present mecca.

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Monday 10 September 2012

These are all moments from my Monday, always a busy day juggling many balls.

You know those days when you have so much to do that you walk around in circles trying to get everything done only to find at the end you’ve achieved very little? Well, that was my Monday. It’s all good though. The sun was shining.

I’ve been playing around with some beautiful hemp fibre lately. My initial experiments with the fibre were a complete failure but, like most disasters, something good usually reveals itself as a result. I have some special plans for this hemp but I can’t let you in on them just yet. Could be another failure but I’m really hoping not.

This is a vase I made up today whilst in procrastination mode. I think it is beautiful and a celebration of the beauty of hemp.

I love this photo and I’m not quite sure how I managed to make it look so “deep etchable”. That sounds like a bit of  photographer speak doesn’t it? Anyway, I had a few interesting enquiries today and one of them was for using one of my woollies for a photo shoot next week in Lorne, Victoria. I’m particularly excited about this one because I get to trim a white merino throw with this awesome eye popping colour. It’s the closest to neon pink I could manage to find and it is so much fun. I shall be sure to post a picture of the completed throw.

Yes, these are Allen’s Snakes with their heads chopped off. During my regular pencil sharpening session at school this morning, my daughter’s super cool teacher mentioned that Kindergarten had an assessment on tomorrow. This did not fill me with joy, let me tell you. Assessments in Kindergarten? Poor little sausages. I asked what the assessment was and, to my great relief, discovered that it involved having to create a face on an Arnott’s Milk Arrowroot biscuit using icing and lollies. Right! Interesting!!!!!!

I’m up for anything involving a lolly so I volunteered to buy the supplies: one lolly for me, one for Kindi, one lolly for me, one for Kindi. On it went until sugar overload hit hard and fast. I hate that.

And finally, as the sun was setting, the kids were playing handball in the house (like that’s unusual) and I’m still walking around in circles I caught sight of the old man who continued to sleep through the chaos. Old age has some blessings.

Have a great week. xx

 

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I always find myself explaining to people that it is really hard to get an idea of the scale of my woollies without seeing them first hand. A photo just doesn’t quite cut it I’m afraid.

Yesterday I posted an image on Instagram (LOVE Instagram) of my smokey grey custom order on the make. One of my new found “Random Virals” and fellow craft lover Margie Rahmann from MyVeryOwnEyeGoggles asked if I could take an image of the blanket alongside an everyday item so that she could get an idea of its scale. Brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

I promised Margie I would do this for her today so Margie – this blog post is for you.

This is the type of photo I would normally post on Instagram. I like capturing the detail.

For the purpose of the exercise, I chose a regular tea cup, albeit a very pretty one. Here it is.

I then placed it on top of the half completed blanket like this:

Here’s a close up because I can’t help myself when it comes to the detail:

And there you have it. I wonder if it is what you expected?

Margie is someone who knows all about scale: she has a gorgeous Etsy shop here and she is also on Facebook. Margie also keeps a blog. Busy, busy, busy. Check Margie out. I’m sure you will love her work.

 

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Today was the best day ever beacuse I spent it with Pepa and Karen from Shibori.

Shibori packaging

I know that makes me sound like a 12 year old but I really was giddy with excitement about the prospect of meeting these two amazing creatives. For those of you who are yet to discover the delights of Shibori, Pepa and Karen craft a range of boutique fabric dyes for the home user. Think indigo. Think antique gold. Think yum!

This is a dip dyed Shibori hide.

They also produce beautiful cushions, throws and other “must have”  homewares which have all been dyed in line with Karen and Pepa’s contemporary and artistic interpretation of the ancient Shibori method. Karen and Pepa have been at this for years now so their technique is well honed and their fabrics are something to behold. These women also create artworks on a major scale and their list of creative collaborations goes on and on. It is all very special.

This sign hangs over the door of the Shibori Studio. Pepa lost the “b” in transit long ago and has replaced it with a simple chalk letter. Love it.

I am a fool for indigo and, as you know by now, I am a complete fool for linen. For me, there could be no better combination. So I recently approached Pepa and Karen about having some of my linen throws dyed. I purchased some of their dyes some time ago and the tins have remained on a shelf in my office looking beautiful. But, alas, this little duck is too afraid to use them. In any event, I put so much into my throws that I’d rather hand them over to the professionals to do them justice. I also have something very specific in mind for them which is far beyond my non-existent dyeing skills.

And so here is my plan.

I knit the throws. There are currently two colours: white and taupe.

I give the throws to Pepa and Karen. Pepa and Karen dye the throws. I’m going for a graduated dye technique.

The dye is oxidising. Like I know what that means!!!!!

It goes back in for some more.

Karen at work. Almost there. The dyeing I mean, not the baby.

After dyeing the fabric samples, they were hung out to dry. It was a joy watching the most magnificant hues of indigo and gold appear.

I cannot tell you how happy this photo makes me. And this one too -

Could it be anymore beautiful? I don’t think so.

Eventually, my linen throws will look something like this:

Get the idea?

I have left some throws with Pepa and Karen to get them started. I am so excited about this adventure. It is such a treat to meet other people who get as excited about a creative process as I do. I am very grateful to these women for inviting a perfect stranger through their doors and welcoming me so warmly. Pepa and Karen were kind and gracious. Our conversation was easy and like minded.We spoke the same language.

Here’s hoping for a wonderful artistic collaboration. Shibori, thank you , thank you, thank you.

 

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Monday 3 September 2012

These are all moments from my Monday, always a busy day juggling many balls.

I have a few custom orders on at the moment and I managed to complete this one today. It’s a charcoal linen throw 120 cm x 120cm and it is headed to a linen loving home in Sydney’s Northern Beaches. It’s always a joy to knit with linen because of my love of the fabric. However, it is a little slippery on the needles and the fabric twists and turns in ways that can be frustrating. But I carry on and when it gets too frustrating I just hit the chocolate.

This is a picture of one of my care labels. I always attach them with a watermelon cotton thread. I can’t resist the tiny splash of colour.

It’s always a satisfying moment when I package up my custom orders. But, it’s not without its angst. I can’t help but wonder whether the new owner will love their Little Dandelion. What if they are disappointed when they open the wrapping? Fortunately, it has happened but, for the record, I’d be pretty devastated.

I tracked down some cotton roping last week and had a play with it over the weekend. This spool contains 100 metres of rope.

This is the result of my tinkering. I was initially hoping to make a throw but the rope was just too heavy and not soft enough. This basket used up the entire spool.

I’m thinking of including the baskets in my range. They are in keeping with my obsession with texture, I like the relaxed construction and they would be great for storing all manner of goodies. What do you think?

This pic allows you to get up close and personal with the rope.

This is the beginnings of a custom order throw in Merino white. It will be teamed with a sandstone trim. BEWDIFUL! I am knitting it in what I call the “Hub” stitch: in the real world it’s called a rib stitch. It’s one of my favourites and certainly my Husband’s fav – hence the name the “Hub”. He’d be so embarrassed if he read this but, alas, he never does so the coast is clear.

Knitting is a very therapeutic past time. Knitting with this kind of wool can often put me into a meditative state. I find myself becoming completely transfixed by the beauty of the crimp in the wool. I’m always trying to capture this beauty with the help of my Iphone and Instagram but I never quite manage to do it justice. The crimp, when it appears, is layers thick and it is just the most delightful thing to behold. Goodness -  I must sound like a complete mad woman. :)

Here’s a little more crimp action for you. You will notice the crimp on the needle resting on the table. I’m an easy girl to please really. Doesn’t take much – a bit of snack chocolate, cup of tea and a little crimp action. Happy girl!

 

 

 

 

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