Sunday, 10 October 2010


Just wanted to let you know, dear blog friends, that I won't be able to post here for quite a while. I'm busy busy busy getting ready to move out of my home so that I can get my flood damaged floors replaced and I know that work is going to be really demanding for the next ten weeks too. When I get the chance, though, I'm still planning on dropping in on you!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Sweet Spring

It's still officially winter in Australia but Nature is definitely saying it's spring.
The mornings are warmer, the days are longer, the birds have begun to gather nesting material, freesias and jasmine are sweetly scenting the air...I love this time of the year. I spent the weekend in my garden,
sweeping and weeding and repotting,
clearing up the damage from the March flood,
kept company by industrious bees

and small, squabbling honeyeaters.

Amongst the debris from the storm, lots of flowers were blooming,
including a delicate native flame pea

and the coral gum I planted when I first moved here.

It was a lovely way to spend Saturday and Sunday.

I spent time crocheting a new blanket too. I'm making one with Lucy's Granny Stripe pattern. I haven't taken any progress shots yet but I have managed to take a picture of the yarn I'm using. I've chosen colours to go with my living room. It's going to be bright!

In other crafty news,

which I have given to my good friend Robbo,

  • I've worked on a stirling silver and copper ring:

which I've since oxidised and polished

  • and, lastly, I have had the pleasure of seeing my What the Dickens Fingerless Mittens being made by somebody else! A lovely and busy blogger from Holland has crocheted four pairs, which you can see here. I really like the yarn she's chosen.

And you?
I'd love to hear about what's happening in your corner of the Earth.


Monday, 16 August 2010

Tah Dah!

I haven't meant to be away from here for so long
but I've been busy busy busy getting my mittens pattern ready.
It's actually a very simple pattern, but it's my first and writing it has been time consuming. Since I last posted I've worked out the thumb holes and successfully crocheted the pattern in different yarn weights. I've managed to put it into a PDF format (hooray!) but have been completely stumped by computerised crochet charts (boo!);
I think I could go on tweaking it forever...
But mitten wearing weather is almost over in Oz

drum roll,

click here for the What the Dickens Fingerless Mittens PDF pattern.

Please note: the PDF pattern has charts that should make the instructions (especially for the thumb holes) really clear.

Re~edited to say: You should all be able to access the PDF pattern through the link above. If you can't please let me know. The What the Dickens Fingerless Mittens pattern is now listed in Ravelry. And, if you scroll down a little bit, you'll see that the text only, no diagram version of the pattern is still in this post.

As I said in my last post, the mittens can be made out of 8 ply or 10 ply yarn (the pink mitt has been crocheted out of 10 ply wool and the black mitt has been crocheted out of 8 ply), they're hooked in the round so that you can fit them as you go, and they're super quick to make.

What the Dickens Fingerless Mittens

Yarn: 8ply (light worsted weight) or 10 ply (worsted weight) yarn.
Approximately 70 grams of yarn.

Hook Sizes: Small/Medium use 3.5mm (E) and 4.00mm (G) hook.
Large/Extra Large use 4.5mm (7) and 5.00mm (H) hook.

Skill Level: Advanced Beginner

US Terms:
sc = single crochet
sl st = slip stitch
ch = chain
dc = double crochet

Note: What the Dickens Fingerless Mittens are crocheted using US terminology. Mittens are worked in the round. Do not turn at the end of rounds.

Special Stitches:
Shell = 2dc 1ch 2dc in one stitch.
Crab Stitch = Reverse single crochet, sc from back to front of stitch.

Chain 28, join with sl st through back bump of first stitch to make ring, being careful not to twist chain.

Round One: (Small/Medium ~ use 3.5mm hook.) (Large/Extra Large ~ use 4mm hook.)
Ch 3 in first ch, 2dc 1ch 2dc in same chain (shell made) * skip 3 chains, 2 dc 1ch 2dc in next chain* repeat around. Skip last 3 chains and join with sl st to 3rd chain of beginning ch 3. Do not turn. Stitch count for all rounds (except rounds 10 and 14) 6 shells.

Rounds 2 - 6
Ch 3 in first stitch (on top of chain 3 below.) Skip 2 dc of shell below * 2dc 1ch 2dc in middle chain of shell below (shell made) skip 4 dc * repeat around. Join with sl st to 3rd chain of beginning three chains. Do not turn. For longer gauntlet add one or more extra rows here.

Rounds 7 – 9
Switch to larger hook. Repeat as for rounds 2 – 6.

Round 10 ~ Left Hand
Ch 3 in first stitch (on top of chain 3 below). Skip 2dc of shell below. 2dc 1ch 2dc into middle chain of shell below (shell made). Loosely chain 7, skip one shell below, 2dc 1ch 2dc into next shell (thumb hole made.) Continue in pattern for remainder of round. Do not turn. Stitch count for Round 10 Left Hand: 3ch 1 shell
7 ch 4 shells.

Round 10 ~ Right Hand
Ch 3 in first stitch (on top of chain 3 below). * Skip 2dc of shell below, 2dc 1ch 2dc into middle chain of shell below (shell made) * repeat for 3 more shells. Loosely crochet 7 chains, skip one shell below, 2dc 1ch 2dc into next shell, sl st to top of beginning 3 ch (thumb hole made and round completed.) Do not turn. Stitch count for Round 10 Right Hand: 3ch 4 shells 7ch 1 shell.

Round 11 ~ Left Hand
Ch 3 in first stitch (on top of chain 3 below) 2dc 1ch 2dc into middle chain of shell below. Skip 3 chain 2dc 1 ch 2dc into 4th chain, skip three chain, 2dc 1ch 2dc into next shell below. Continue pattern for remainder of round. Do not turn.

Round 11 ~ Right Hand
Ch 3 in first stitch (on top of chain 3 below) 2dc 1ch 2dc into middle chain of shell below, continue pattern for another 3 shells. Skip 3 chain 2dc 1 ch 2dc into 4th chain, skip three chain, 2dc 1ch 2dc into last shell below. Sl st to top of beginning 3 chain. Do not turn.

Rounds 12 ~ 13
Repeat rounds 7 – 9.

Round 14
Finishing Round. Ch 1 and crab stitch (reverse single crochet) around top. Fasten off.

© inkberryblue
You are welcome to use this pattern for personal use or charity work.

Thank you to everyone who gave me feedback on the name. Your suggestions were really helpful. I do hope you like the pattern, I would love to know if you make some mittens and I'd really appreciate any feedback if you do.

I have lots more to share.
I've made more jewellery in silver smithing classes,
crocheted a cowl,
taken photos out in the bush whilst I've been away on a beautiful retreat,
found some yummy recipes
but there's only so long that a girl can stay sitting in front of the computer in her pyjamas (don't tell anyone, but I was here almost all of yesterday) so it will have to keep for another post.

Have a wonderful week.

Monday, 19 July 2010


I've written my first pattern
...for fingerless mitts!
It's winter here in the Land of Oz and it has been very, very chilly in the mornings. I have really needed something to keep my hands warm
and I've come up with these:

They are made out of 8 ply wool, although the pattern is easily adapted to 10 ply, they're crocheted in the round so that you can fit them as you go
and they're super quick to make.
I'm planning on posting the pattern in the next couple of weeks (once I've finished tweaking the construction of the right hand glove and when I can fit blogging into this crazy, busy life of mine.)
I haven't come up with a name for them yet. I'm considering something Dickensian ~ fingerless mitts always make me think of Dickens and I actually crocheted one of these while watching (and loving) the television adaption of Little Dorrit. I could call them Little Dorrits, perhaps? I've also thought of naming them Crisp Morning Mitts, which is a play on my name. My pun loving sister came up with What the Dickens. Or maybe I should go with something more sensible like Lacy Fitted Mitts?
What do you think?

I came up with my own pattern after making two sets of Shell Lace Fitted Fingerless Gloves:

This is one of the most clearly written patterns I've ever worked from and really helped me to understand how fingerless mitts are constructed.

In other crafty news,
I received this gorgeous knitted washcloth and soap in a Ravelry swap from the wonderful WendyLew, my swap partner

and Little Red Hen gave me one of her beautiful HANDbags when we met up for coffee:

It's constructed so cleverly and I love the pretty floral fabric.
As well as generously giving me some of her handiwork Little Red Hen engaged me in a really interesting conversation that covered, amongst other things, travelling, teaching and selling art which was very thought provoking. I never usually sell any of my work but after talking about how validating it can make you feel, as an artist, I'm thinking that I might exhibit some of my paintings some time in the not~too~distant future.
Thanks for the inspiration, Dette.

I've enjoyed cooking comfort food during this cold snap. I made a Bread and Butter Pudding for a family dinner that was so nice I came home and cooked another one just for me!

The recipe asks for vanilla beans, and demerara sugar that's sprinkled over the pudding to create a crunchy, caramelised top. I left the crusts on the bread and that made it even crunchier, a fantastic contrast to the egg custard beneath.
Yum. Yum. YUM.
(It was so delicious I had it for breakfast too.)

It's been too cold to do much outside
but my garden's bloomed,

Flowers bring me so much pleasure.

I hope this finds you enjoying the comforts of home too.


Sunday, 27 June 2010

Little Pockets of Joy

I have sat down at the computer with the intention of posting here quite a few times over the past month but the words just haven't wanted to come. It's been very, very busy at work and I've been doing loads of reporting, interviewing, commenting, reviewing...
And I think I'm just all talked out.
(Which some members of my family will find very hard to believe, I know.)

So today I'm just going to share photos,
of things that, in amongst all of the hard work, have brought me joy.

I've walked around Lake Monger in the soft light of dusk:

I've also spent an afternoon with my mum,
where we drank tea, talked honestly, and busied ourselves with crochet and knitting ~ Mum making bandicoot bags for the local wildlife rehabilitation centre, me working on yet another Sweet Lorraine scarf.

I have admired the little posy of marigolds that's been sitting at my sink,

finished the ring I've been working on in my silver smithing classes (hooray!)

and met the charming Little Red Hen for afternoon tea at Fremantle Arts Centre.
But more about that in my next post...

I'd love to know what's been bringing joy to you.


Sunday, 30 May 2010


I'm almost done for the day ~ after I post this I'm going to curl up on the couch with my cat, some crochet and Dr Who on the television for company.
It's been another good weekend.
There's been enough balance between paper work and play for me to feel relaxed and to have been really productive...not something that happens often and definitely something to savour...

I spent part of Saturday in my silver smithing class working on this ring:

You can probably tell from the photos that I need to finish riveting the glass bead to the silver cup, and that I also need to clean up some solder and straighten it all too but,
I hope,
I'm almost done.

I've also been sewing up the Monroe Lacy Stole that I crocheted last Winter:

and I have been admiring this gorgeous array of wool (and the little glass button) that I received in my Ewe Beaut Fibre Sampler Box:

(If you follow the link above and look at the contributors for the April 2010 box you'll be able to find out who created all of this hand made goodness.)

I've been enjoying the change in season too.
My poetic friend Jen (who writes beautifully and very very honestly)
says that Winter is a quiet, sacred, restorative time.
I do so agree.

I love wintery skies:

and late roses:

and daisies that bloom valiantly despite the rain:

I hope you, too, are enjoying the time of the year,
wherever you live on our beautiful Earth.


Sunday, 16 May 2010


I've had to spend most of Saturday and Sunday writing reports and I'm still nowhere close to repairing all the damage that was done when my home was flooded...but I have had a nice weekend anyway!

I've been admiring this lovely begonia as I've been working on my computer:

I have also managed to get out to a jewellery workshop at Fremantle Arts Centre where I've had fun playing with texture:

(These are little copper samples that I embossed with an onion bag, some upholstery fabric and a dried leaf.)

started to make a new silver ring:

and enjoyed the beautiful surroundings:

(This carved lino floor was installed in the Centre's main hallway as part of an exhibition which was held at the end of last year. Isn't it gorgeous?)

Importantly for me and for my sense of well being, I have been listening to Pema Chodron, a Buddhist nun, who has, I think, a fantastic perspective on life and its challenges.

It's also become cold enough in the morning to wear scarves. Hooray!

(I'm currently crocheting this Sweet Lorraine scarf. It's my second ~ I really like the pattern.)

...and I am just about to eat a large piece of delicious home~made white~chocolate cheesecake.
(Thank you Nikki!!!!)

I hope, dear readers, that your weekends have been full of simple sweetness too.


Sunday, 25 April 2010


Those of you who follow this blog will know that my home was completely flooded in a storm last month. I've been fixing up flood damage ever since and it's a big job. All of the flooring has to be replaced, so yesterday my dad and I scraped old underlay off the floor in one bedroom and tomorrow we're going to tackle the other bedroom. The underlay is dusty, a little mouldy, makes me wheeze ever so slightly and I can't wait to see it go.
But today I am taking a break!
I thought I'd treat myself to some blogging. I've got some crochet to show you (surprise!), some musings and some long forgotten pen illustrations to share as well.

Here are the drawings:

(The picture above is a stylization of a nocturnal gecko that's native to Perth. I currently have one of these dear little guys living in my garden shed and another one living under the bird bath.
They're very shy and very sweet.)

I rediscovered the drawings when, after the storm, I was salvaging belongings I'd stored in my spare room. They are part of a set of posters that I made waaaaayyyyy back in the 1980s when I was studying Education. These pictures are pretty modest little efforts but I'm fond of them, and I am very happy that I didn't lose them to the flood. Actually, I'm amazed that they survived without any water damage. They were packed in a big box that got wet but, miraculously, the box's cardboard absorbed all of the moisture.

I think that one of the reasons these old pictures are precious to me is because I do so little drawing these days. I'm always making resolutions to get back into drawing...but never getting around to it. Next year, though, I'm going to apply to work part time and, if I get an extra day to myself and all of my creative dreams, I hope I'll be able to summon up the energy and focus and commitment that I need to draw. In the meantime, I love the inspiration I can gain from people like Paul Heaston and Kelli Nina Perkins, who's been interviewed at Janeville (thanks to Judy for this link). Do you know of any other inspiring artists?

Crochet, on the other hand, is a very well developed habit.
Since my last post, I've finished felting my Marvellous Mini Tote:

I've also started crocheting squares for the Save The Children Fund's Knit One Save One campaign:

(The pattern's called the 6-7-8 Square and I'm sure it will look much prettier after it's been blocked. )

I've crocheted a necklace too, which I really like:

I used a slightly modified version of this tutorial. I worked with tigertail instead of craft wire ~ tigertail is much easier to crochet with than craft wire because it's more flexible. Unlike craft wire though, tigertail doesn't hold it's shape so I had to finish off the necklace with cord tips rather than the wire wrapping that's suggested in the tutorial. You can see the cord tips (they're little clamps) in the photo below:

This worked up really fast ~ it only took a few hours to create and I'm sure I'll be quicker next time.

I don't feel that I can finish this post without marking that today is Anzac Day, the national day of rememberance for Australians and New Zealanders when we honour those who died and served in military campaigns. Anzac Day is always a day of reflection. This year I've thought of some of the places I saw in Vietnam, which made the horror of war very real, and I've thought of some of the people I met in Vietnam who touched me with their capacity for forgiveness. Anzac Day has personal signifance for me too: my grandfather and great grandfather lost their lives in World War 2. They were both very brave men and their loss, of course, has had a huge impact on my family.
Lest we forget.