What the heck is Wings of Goose?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Not all my own work

I said I'd write about the lovely handmade gifts we received for Noah in my last post, so here we are. We were given three lovely cardigans, specifically handmade for Noah, and one handmade but purchased, by my sister along with some little booties. The three cardigans are what may be referred to as typical baby knits, but knowing what has gone into them just makes me love them. The stitch patterns are so pretty and I just really appreciate them.

I just love this blue cardigan. It looks so cosy and the stitch pattern is so pretty.

Close up of stitch pattern.

 Yellow cardigan with triangle edging (a similar edging as the mohair lace cardigan)

Close up of edging

White cardigan

We were also given three crochet blankets, two crocheted by one lady, Nancy, a dear friend of Ma's, who also knitted the yellow cardi, and the other by the same friend who knitted the white cardigan, Gill...

Nancy's blanket 1

Nancy's blanket 2 - what gorgeous edging!

Gill's blanket.

I have to say I haven't a clue about crochet though people keep telling me how easy it is... hmmm I have yet to be convinced!

And finally, this absolutely stunning quilt, made by Pam, another dear friend of Ma's, and the mum of one of Marno's friends from school.

She started making it when she found out I was pregnant, and its perfect for either a boy or a girl. I think it is so beautiful and it will certainly be adorning Noah's cot when he is older.

Oops, I almost forgot the cardigan my sister gave and the booties.

The kindness and generosity we have received from people has been utterly overwhelming. We have received such a massive amount of gifts (not handmade) and are so grateful to so many people. A baby seems to bring happiness to so many, and they are so ready to show it. Its a real lesson and I hope I don't forget it.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

My beautiful little boy

I wasn't sure I wanted to put any photos of our little one on here as anyone can see him, but I decided to go with just one because this blog is to document important things and I can't not talk about this wonderful event! Having a baby is the most incredible thing I've ever experienced, and being a mummy is the most important job in the world. You're the centre of a child's life and they look to you for everything, therefore you want to be the best example you possibly can to them.

This is my ideal for my family:

Psalm 128

A song of ascents.

 1 Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
       who walk in his ways.  2 You will eat the fruit of your labour;
       blessings and prosperity will be yours.
 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
       within your house;
       your sons will be like olive shoots
       around your table.
 4 Thus is the man blessed
       who fears the LORD.
 5 May the LORD bless you from Zion
       all the days of your life;
       may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
 6 and may you live to see your children's children.
       Peace be upon Israel.

 I don't have any of my own work to write about at the moment, although the bag is nearly finished, but we've received some beautiful knitted and crocheted gifts and a beautiful quilt, so I'll post about those next time. I'm also really glad I left a message on Melynda's blog, French Press Knits, which I've been reading for a while, as I received a lovely reply from her - I love it when people are as nice as they come across in their writing, and I really admire how far she's come in the year since she started her blog. Thanks for being so inspiring Melynda :)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Passing the time and a possible pattern

Well today I am officially one day overdue. I can't imagine what it will be like to begin labour - I mean, I suppose it just starts pretty suddenly and you have to wait and count the time between contractions etc to work out if it is actual labour or not, but I haven't had any Braxton Hicks, or if I have, I haven't felt them, so I reckon when it does start it'll be the real thing. Its funny, before yesterday I had no problem with waiting up to the due date, but now its gone over I suddenly feel like I don't know what I should do with myself. I even did a little sketching today, which convinced me that I have gone over to textiles in a big way. I was never one to be able to sketch something very quickly and it turn out amazingly, and I always seemed to have a rubber to hand. Long, closely observed drawings were usually what I produced, with probably too much detail or too much time spent on small aspects. Perhaps I feel with knitting and working with fabric that the mistakes which can be made are of a different sort, and somehow cleaner; and I'm a very precise, clean person, so that figures!

Anyway, a few weeks ago now, I decided to design and make a baby changing bag as most of the ones I'd seen were not at all appealing and really rather ugly. I thoroughly planned the project and was very pleased that as I went through I had thought of pretty much every eventuality and barely had to make any amendments to my original design.

Here is the bag:

The fabrics I used are some that Ma gave to me ages ago which have been sitting in my fabric chest waiting for a suitable project, and this one was ideal. The nursery rhyme fabric is sweet without being childish, so suitable for something a parent will be using, but still very much with a childhood theme. The other two fabrics are a light and a dark brown checked brushed cotton which perfectly harmonise with the nursery rhyme fabric but also make it not too feminine, so my husband won't mind using it!

To be honest, the reason this project is so exciting is that I've decided to make a pattern and try to sell it. My husband is all for the idea of selling the pattern rather than a finished product, because of the initial expense in purchasing the required amounts of fabric but also because of the amount of time it takes me to make stuff. Unfortunately, I didn't do a very good job of documenting my making process, so I have had to buy new fabrics to make a new bag for the pattern. You may also have noticed though, that my photos are rubbish and not anywhere near good enough quality to include in a pattern I wish to sell. So my plan is to make a new bag, taking beautiful photos with my husband's camera which is a big, posh one I haven't a clue how to use, and make a beautiful pattern, to be available as a PDF and also printed if people want. The question now is, do I wait until after the baby is born and I've settled into some kind of routine, or do I just start tomorrow; I mean, who knows how long the baby will take before it decides when to come out!

Along with this, I know, goes the need to publicise my blog and to get myself recognised online. I'm planning to sell the pattern on Etsy and also, hopefully, through the blog, though I haven't a clue how to go about that yet. Lots of research to be done! And I know I'll need to pay my poor blog more attention than I have been. Maybe that means it'll be a bit baby focused for a while. I have some more designs in the pipeline as well; some bags and some clothes, but they're still very much at the drawing board stage, though I'm quite excited about them.

In the mean time, I'm slaving away at my hand applique for my bird cushion and knitting another Kim Hargreaves cardigan, Thea from Precious. I actually started it ages ago to try and get back into knitting. Not that I got out of it, I just hadn't done any for a while. Its not the most exciting knit, but when I get down to it its fairly quick and it will look nice when its finished. I've definitely learnt though, that knitting is very much for the process and not just for the finished product. The knit has to be enjoyable and challenging. In fact, I think challenging somehow equals enjoyable because, however long it takes to rectify a mistake, the satisfaction gained is immense. Challenging, in my opinion, will also include the learning of new skills or methods, or methods used previously but in a different way, such as lace work.

Well, I hope to have something to report soon, I just don't kniw if will be baby related or project related!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Ongoing experimental project

I think I mentioned this project in my last post and that I would elaborate on it. Since we got into birdwatching I've been trying to think of ways to incorporate birds in my work. There are so many designers and artists who use birds so I really wanted to think of something original, which is pretty hard. I started by messing around with some applique ideas, making different layers for different parts of the birds, and came up with these...


I began by doing a basic (for me) sketch of the bird, cutting that out into a template and then deciding which parts of the bird I wanted to emphasize with the use of different fabrics and applique. Then I made templates of those bits and when I had all the parts I needed, I cut out the fabric using the templates.

I only used two templates for the nuthatch as this was the first attempt so I kept it simple. I then ironed vilene onto the backs of all the parts to stop them fraying when I stitched the fabrics together on the machine. Then I pinned and tacked them down onto a plain surface ready to be sewn together.

I was really pleased with how these turned out, for a first attempt, but I was not entirely happy with the edges as the sewing machine still made them fray even with the vilene. So when I planned an actual project using this technique, being the perfectionist I am I decided I was going to hand sew the fabrics instead of machine them!!! Arrgh!!! So many months later, as happens with projects you make take longer than they should by using methods which are not the fastest, I am making a colourful bird and nest box cushion for our living room.
Here are some photos of the work in progress.

The birds are a Goldfinch and a Greenfinch, both birds which frequent our garden.

Close up of Goldfinch.

Close up of Greenfinch.

I just love the fabrics I found to do this project with, and they go so beautifully with the embroidery thread I'm using to applique them together. I had wanted to incorporate a lot of embroidery into the finished piece, hence my little samplers you can see in the first of these three photos, in the top right, but I don't know yet as this small little project is taking a big long time! I'm already planning a quilt I want to make in a similar style, though I'm thinking how I can do it considerably quicker. I love the idea of having home made quilts in reception rooms, so you can use them as throws and snuggle into them when you're watching a film, or sitting by the open fire in winter (we're blessed enough to have an open fire in our living room and a wood burner in our middle living room) - mmmmm :) I doubt that will be ready for this winter though!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Time goes by

Well its been eight and a bit months since I wrote here. Thats not to say I haven't been thinking about it or doing any work, but being pregnant and having to push on the house so its finished for when the baby arrives has just taken up a lot of my time. Thats fine though. We've really enjoyed planning and decorating the house and I'm so pleased with how it looks now. Its so different from when we moved in. We thought it was so lovely, even though it was all magnolia, but now we look back and can't believe we thought it was so great - its a million times better now!!! No but seriously, I don't believe you can bring out the character of a period house with magnolia paint, apart from the fact that magnolia isn't even a colour (sorry if you happen to love it). The house is really cosy now and the only room left to decorate is the baby's room, which obviously will not be pink or blue, but will be a lovely warm, earthy red. Perfect for a baby who's used to being in a little, enclosed space, though it won't be going in its own room for a few months but will sleep in the Moses basket in our room to start with. I'll put up some photos of the house in another post.

We found out I was pregnant when we were in South Africa in December and January; we were staying on Marno's grandad's farm at the time, and waited until we got there to do the test as it was such a special place for him with so many memories. Well we certainly created a new memory! Finding out you are pregnant is pretty scary, even if its been planned and you pretty much know you are anyway.View over the farm from the mountain.

View of the mountain from the farm.

So the project I took to SA was the Swallowtail Lace Shawl. I so enjoyed knitting the lace cardigan that wanted to knit some more lace so I had a browse through Ravelry and chose the Swallowtail. It seems like so long ago I knitted it that its odd writing about it now. Never mind. It was a great project for the plane and airport as it was small and I used wooden DPNs so it wasn't detected, though I did ask if I could take it on the plane on the first flight. It took about a month to complete and I ended up wearing it all last winter as we had such awfully cold weather for so long.

This shawl was so enjoyable to knit and the pattern was so clever and simple but really taught me a lot while I was knitting it; about increases and decreases and how they work in making patterns. I also enlarged the shawl as I usually wear shawls rather than scarves and my current one is pretty big. Because I knit quite tightly but wanted to use my wooden DPNs and also my Bigwigs Angora, which I bought at Wonderwool in 2009, I thought it would end up being very tiny and probably unusable, so I managed to find a Ravelry link to Mintyfresh's blog where she explains how she enlarged the shawl, as you can't just add as many rows as you like because the pattern calls for an exact number. I have to say, the number of rows I worked out to add was correct, before I found the blog, but she really helped for the last few rows where you can't get the number of stitches totally correct and have to K2tog (I think, it was a while ago...) a couple of times to get the correct number of stitches. It worked out perfectly anyway, so I'm happy, and looking forward to wearing it again this year, though I don't fancy getting baby puke all over it!

I also finished the Robin hat I was knitting from Kim Hargreaves Thrown Together book. Unfortunately this is the only half decent photo I have of it...

...modelled with the Swallowtail shawl! I decided not to attach the bobble, though I did make one, but I thought it looked a bit stupid. Thats probably because it turned out to be massive and I got little bits of red wool everywhere from trying to sculpt it into a more acceptable size. I'm happy with it as it is though. I also have to say that I'm looking forward to wearing that jumper in the photo again, and having a slimmer face. I hope its true that breastfeeding uses upwards of 500 calories a day!