Friday, 29 February 2008


I recently bought myself a copy of Weekend Knitting by Melanie Falick.
I love this book,
especially the way it celebrates simple, nourishing~to~the~soul, domestic comforts.
Amongst other things, it has sweet patterns, recipes, beautiful photographs and quotations. This quote really spoke to me:

In the midst of complexity, handicrafts provide simplicity.
In the midst of movement and noise, they make space for silence and solitude
~ Susan Lydon

Last night, after a working~day chock full of challenges, I decided I wanted to make something soothing and easy. I picked up one of my hooks and I started crocheting a cotton washcloth ~ what could be simpler?

The pattern's called the bark sedge stitch washcloth ( and it's from the LionBrand website so, even though it's free, you have to be registered to access it.) The Sugar'n Cream cotton's colourway is called Summer Splash.
...I'm loving how the variegations in the colour are working with the sedge stitch.

Happy weekend everyone.

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Things have been quiet around here.
I'm back at work,
the weather has continued to be hot
and I have been very tired...
the fall~soundly~asleep~on~the~sofa~at~nine~pm~in~the~middle~of
~crocheting sort of tired.
So I have been going really slowly at home
(which, actually, has been kind of nice.)
I've been reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.
I've also been doing a little bit of baking, on the odd occasion when the weather's been cool enough.
Here is a photo of some oat gems I made from the ever~reliable Country Women's Association Cook Book:

I added a quarter of a teaspoon of vanilla extract to the recipe.
They are simple but delicious.
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find the recipe on~line to share here on inkberryblue, but I did find a link to some other, tasty~looking CWA biscuits, which you can find here.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Vintage Crochet

I have a gorgeous neighbour who, despite being 88 years old, has an enormous zest for life.
This time last Summer she was in an ashram in India.
She sometimes tells a less recent story of finding herself alone in the jungles of Papua New Guinea.
She adores the theatre
and we often go to outdoor concerts together.
Not only is my friend an adventuress, she is also a very good plain cook and often puts together a picnic tea to take to the performances.
Imagine my delight when I discovered this beautiful example of thread crochet in the picnic basket she had packed.
It was crocheted by her mother.
My dear friend kindly allowed me to photograph some of her mother's work so that I could share it here.
I've included some miniature roses in the shots to give an idea of scale ~ it is so delicate and fine.

Thursday, 14 February 2008


I'd like to wish you a happy Valentine's Day
and show you a memory wire bracelet I just made for a swap buddy in Alaska ~
it's going to be a belated Valentine's present:

because I'm an alternative kind of a gal,
I'd also like to wish you a happy International Quirkyalone Day.
For those of you who are wondering,
quirkyalone is a term used to describe people, like me, who are both uncompromising romantics and deeply single. It's also the title of a fabulous book that I read a few years ago ~ and the name of an online community that I sometimes visit.

Lastly, I'd like to share with you a picture of daisies, the official flower of the quirkyalone movement:

(Whicheverway, I'm wishing you a wonderful Thursday.)

Friday, 8 February 2008

Recapturing Creativity

When I was younger, I used to draw all the time.
I drew joyfully, creatively, effortlessly, freely...
somewhere along the way
I lost that easy pleasure.
Art school knocked some of the joy out of me. Not that I regret going ~ the experience provided me with some invaluable lessons but it developed my inner critic in a big way.
And, these days, I always seem to be too busy. I'm expected to be very serious at work. Sadly, I can't imagine anyone approving of me doodling through meetings.

Even so, I manage to nurture my artistic side a little. I still draw sometimes. I occasionally get to go to drawing courses. I went to some fabulous lessons with an artist, educator and creativity advocate called Dawn Meader. Dawn now lives and works in Santa Cruz but I still draw inspiration from her ~ I receive an ezine she produces every month and really enjoy reading the creativity exercises and looking at the beautiful reproductions of her work.

Here are some of the pastels I completed in her classes:

These drawings are enormous by the way ~ they cover my double bed. (Dawn had us draw on huge pieces of paper so that we sketched with big, loose gestures.)

I also keep a little sketch book in my handbag. My idea for the sketch book is that I draw in it for five minutes every day, sketching whatever's in front of me, disengaging my inner critic, accepting whatever appears (a bit like writing morning pages if you're following The Artists' Way.)

I've also found a gorgeous blog called Creative Every Day. It's written by an artist called Leah Piken Kolidas. Leah writes perceptively about the creative process and posts some really interesting links to articles and images. She also draws beautifully, creating her artwork with the ease and joy that I would love to recapture.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Learning To Knit

As I've already mentioned, I'm knitting CosmicPluto's Cavern Cardi:

(I've made the stitch markers too.)

This is my first knitted garment and my blog friend Christina, from Matroschka, has asked me how I'm learning to knit.
The short answer is: with difficulty!
The long answer is kind of convoluted and I hope it makes sense.
Here goes.
I'm finding that learning to knit is a really different process to learning to crochet, primarily because I'm not working with one live stitch ~ I'm working with dozens...and the more live stitches I have the more mistakes I can make. Therefore, I'm having to plan what I'm doing way more than I've done when crocheting.

I'm planning and problem solving by:

  • referring to the videos at Knitting Help (which are helpfully explicit, especially the ones that detail how to safely rip back work),

  • reading through my copy of Debbie Stoller's Stitch n Bitch (which is comprehensive),

  • approaching each new technique (raglan increases for example) with caution by practising on a swatch before I try using them on the actual garment,

  • looking through threads like the Anthropologie~inspired Capelet tutorial over at Craftster, because it helps to explain how a top~down raglan cardigan is constructed

  • and going to a knitting group. Even though I've only attended one meeting so far, the fabulous knitters who go too have already provided inspiration and encouragement.

Learning to knit is an involved process but a rewarding one ~ and in that way it is just like learning to crochet.