Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Thank you, dear sister

Although our xmas this year is somewhat subdued, my favourite sister's creativity and generosity continues to astound and please us. Handmade xmas gifts galore!

Thursday, 13 December 2012


As the sun set off the Western Australian coast, we tried to comfort each other in our individual sorrows of losing our loved one.

Communication takes time, sure – maybe a minute or so.  It takes a bit of effort, certainly – one actually has to pick up the phone and talk or punch out a text.  But, truly, just do it.  They might leave without saying goodbye.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

1-2 Dressember

A hot start to summer meant light, billowy dresses for the first days of Dressember.

For my first day of Dressember I wore my cotton and silk Cafe dress, bought from Department of the Exterior in Manuka last year.  (Have you been there?  I love it.)

Coincidentally, Sunday's dress was also from the same shop, but several years ago now.  It's Ammo and very, very comfy. It's probably my favourite dress but starting to look a little worse for wear these days.  However, it was an ideal choice for Sunday morning coffee and cake with mates.

Fear not, there will not be daily posts of 'what I wore'.  I'm planning end of week posts and end of weekend posts for the rest of Dressember.  I'm looking forward to the challenge of wearing the same dress to work every day this week.  Yikes!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Just practising

Dressember, anyone? I’m not usually one to participate in the likes of Me Made May or Self Sewn September where every day for a month you wear an item that matches the theme (both of those examples are clearly for self made items of apparel), but I’ve decided to take a related plunge and participate in Dressember – with a twist.

Not having many clothes (no, really, I don’t) and being a fan of limited consumerism, I have long held an admiration for The Brown Dress Project, where Alex Martin of Seattle wore the same little brown dress every day for an entire year, as part of a performance art project and a statement against comsumption.

For the past couple of summers, I’ve tried to do my own Summer of Skirts, with varying degrees of success. But this year, for the month of December I am going to wear a dress every day (there’s 31 of those) but the twist is that I am going to wear the same dress every working day (there’s 15 of those). It’s a simple soft denim shift (Trenery from Material Pleasures) with a lovely exposed brass zip down the back that I can complement with cardies, shoes and belts. And just to practise, yesterday I wore this every-working-day-in-December dress to work.
Other dresses will be weekend dresses, beach dresses (for my couple of days at the beach) and a xmas dress or two. I am going to wear only:
  • dresses I already have in my meagre wardrobe (a week ago there were only two of those),
  • dresses I buy second hand (I now have five of those – from Vinnies, Material Pleasures and last weekend’s Vintage Frock Fair) and 
  • dresses that I make (I have, er, one on the go, but plans for a couple more throughout the month).
 See… plenty of dresses…
Can I do it? I think so. But wish me luck, anyway.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

My weekend by nettie

For twenty-one long and tiring (but oh so exciting) hours over the weekend at Tharwa Valley Forge, I heated and hammered steel ...
 into the vague shape of a blade....
 heated some more...
 ground and sanded those blades on noisy, fast-moving, spark-producing machines...
 sorted through blocks of wood that would eventually become handles...
 drilled (more loud, fast-moving machinery) and assembled wood with blade ...
 glued and clamped....
 sanded and sanded and sanded....with more loud and dangerous machinery as well as laboriously by hand....
 dipped in oil, polished and finally produced two hand-crafted by me, beautiful and practical kitchen knives.
Definitely not knitting.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Paris - je t'adore

Du pain chocolat et cafe creme pour le petit dejeuner...

 du vin rose any time of day...

I visited La Joconde.  She gazed, bemused, at the noisy crowd around me and gave me a sense of peace again. It's been many, many years since we last met.

I wandered, as royalty once did, through the gardens of le Grand Trianon.

I worked and walked and laughed and ate and drank and wondered at the history and beauty of the place and its people.  I shall return.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Tour spinning

Each year, during le Tour de France hundreds of spinners on Ravelry take up any of a number of spinning (wool, not legs) challenges, whilst enjoying views of the magnificent French countryside and watching the exhibitions of strength and endurance that is le Tour.

My first Tour de Fleece was 2011 when I watched our Cadel do us proud and I practiced and practiced my spinning night after night.    I took up the challenge again in 2012 and, yes, I do know that it is now some weeks since the lovely Bradley Wiggins won le Tour, but I have been somewhat remiss of late in posting my tales of fibre-related progress.  So, here is my parade of Tour de Fleece 2012.  I present them below in the order in which they were spun and, even if I do say so myself, I think that I can see progressive improvement in my spinning.

Merino from Southern Cross Fibre in Wave Rock colourway:

Merino from Southern Cross Fibre in Equinox colourway:

Corriedale from Southern Cross Fibre in Spinnaker colourway:

Corriedale from Southern Cross Fibre in Immortal colourway:

And the winners podium :)

A little heathen fibre did make its way into mon Tour.  It was my first attempt at spinning from a batt, and I have to say that I'm not very happy with my product.  It's a batt of blended merino and milk protein that I bought from Wooldancer at the Bendigo Wool and Sheep show a couple of years ago.  I will persevere with batts, because I can only get better, right?

And now, to knit the stuff!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Lots of plain old knitting

In trying to get through my somewhat substantial sock yarn stash, I aim to have socks on the needles at all times, even if they are plain vanilla socks.  These lovelies are made in Lorna's Laces in denim stripes - bought at Purl Soho on my first wondrous visit to NYC many years ago.

More plain knitting:  the ubiquitous Colour Affection in Wollmeise purples and blues.  Lots and lots of garter stitch makes for great mindless knitting - of which I need a lot, just to soothe my brain after another day down the coal mine. (No, I don't literally work in a coal mine, but I'm sure you know the feeling.)  It's wide and drapey and perfect for wrapping around the shoulders or neck, dressed up or dressed down.  I love it.

And some real utilitarian knitting:  a watch cap for those outdoor workouts when it's cold and dark during this cold and frosty winter.

I spot a penchant for blue this winter!

Still to come:  Tour spinning and Olympic knitting.  Stay tuned.

The explorer

Woollen beanie?  Check. 
Explorer kit?  Check. 
Binoculars?  Check.
Tiara?  Check.

Off on a discovery walk in the bush.
Oh, to be five.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

A party with plaid pyjamas

I've joined Karen's pyjama party with some plaid pyjamas that presented some interesting challenges (apart from the fact that they give me the appearance of some real thunder thighs - so not flattering - luckily they are comfy).
 I started with my oft-sewn jammie pattern, for which I usually use nice soft vintage sheets.  This time I found some lovely brushed cotton in the stash.  Perfect.

A breeze, I thought.  I've done this before.  And some winter duds would be just the thing for these cooler nights.  Yes, I'm an accomplished sewist.  This will be a cinch.  I'll even get a little bit fancy.  I'll use flat felled seams, to start with.  So.... I proceeded to sew up both the outside leg seams as well as the inner leg seam, and trim one seam allowance on every seam. Can you just have a think about how hard it would be to do flat felled seams in this scenario?  No, I didn't think about it either, until they were all stitched up and trimmed.  Sheesh.  Looks like I'll just go over the straight stitching with an overlocking stitch then.
 And matching those plaids was interesting.  I thought about matching the horizontal striping, and cut out accordingly.  But you sort of have to get the vertical striping to be a bit matchy as well.  This photo shows that I sort of did OK.
 I used a little ribbon tag for the back, as suggested by Karen (I save my Tessuti ribbon for this very purpose).

Not as quick and easy peasy as I had originally thought, but I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  Thanks, Karen!

And what am I reading in my new cosy pyjamas?  Well, this time last year, Rhonda and I were listening to the delightful David Mitchell at the Sydney Writers Festival.  I loved everything he had to say, but had never read his words.  So I went to the Festival bookstore and bought, amongst many other books, all five of his.  Ghostwritten is his first.  It has been languishing on my bedside table for all that time.  And I'm loving it.  Why didn't I start sooner? 

Maybe I just needed the right jammies.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A little bit of knitting

There was a bit of knitting done at Chez Nettie over the summer (what summer?).  One was a special request from ma minette for 'stripey socks all the way up to my knees please'.  In fact, they go over her knees, so should fit for a year or two.

Back in December, I received a xmas swap parcel that included some xmassy yarn - hand dyed Bendi Luxury in candy stripes.  It just had to become a cardi for the same four year old.  The pattern is Langston, which is a shrug, however I just kept on knitting so it's a longer cardi.  I think it will go well over a white skivvy and jeans - she's a bit of a jeans girl usually - she just happened to be in her dancing clothes in this photo shoot.

And on this cold and windy Anzac Day, I dug out the sewing machine from the mess that is my sewing room. I'm joining a pyjama party and a certain sister will be pleased to hear the Meringue has been muslined.  But the sewing tales are for another day.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012


A quick decision saw us heading to the coast, pre-dawn.

We stopped briefly for a take-away coffee for me from the Braidwood bakery, then off down the mountain to Moruya for breakfast - we were their first customers for the day.
We have a longstanding family connection to Broulee.  It has been a few years since I've been there, but many more for my favourite sister.

Paddling in the ocean.  What could be better?

Crafty preparations

There are a couple of Big Shindigs happening at chez nettie this weekend.  We will celebrate my Dad's 80th birthday and almost all the family is coming - yikes!

Luckily for me, my favourite sister is here to help with the preparations (actually, she came to relax and chill out, but I have put her to work).  We have spent some time getting the outdoors ready for the Shindigs.  Finding tables and seating for so many people was a bit of challenge, but we pulled out some old and cruddy tables from the, cleaned them up and covered one with oilcloth (Kaffe Fassett, no less. Sorry Kaffe)....

...and the other with this gorgeous vintage shower curtain plastic - picked up brand new and unused at... I forget where.  I love the retro stripes.
 We trekked around camping stores and outdoor furniture stores seeking a replacement canvas for my deck chair.  Too hard.  None to be found.  But I think Anna Maria Horner would be proud of the way we used her Volumes design to make our own deck chair seat.  Sister cut, ironed and pinned.  I sewed.  We love it.

(Now, if only my sister would stay, we could do this sort of thing all the time.)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

An occasional walk - Goorooyarroo

Being on hols gives one the chance to make spur of the moment decisions on what to do for the morning.  My favourite sister and I had been up since 5-ish. We'd walked the dog, had breakfast, done the shopping for Friday's curry night and so, at 9.30 am, we decided to take a quick outing. 

Perusing my trusty Canberra Nature Parks map, we decided on Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, out Gungahlin way.  No dogs allowed, so Ms Lily stayed at home to guard the curry ingredients.

Along with the adjacent Mulligans Flat Woodland Reserve, this is one of the largest Yellow Box - Red Gum Grassy Woodland stands in the region.  There are beautiful stands of the Yellow Box and Red Gum as well as fallen timber in parts, then gorgeous open grasslands.  The swathes of kangaroo grass are magnificent (if you like that sort of thing - and I do).
There are hills to climb (or, in our case, sort of partly climb) and pristine dams buzzing with dragonflies.
It turned into a warm morning once those storm clouds dissipated, and my sister and I returned to the car hot, thirsty and happy in each other's company.  (PS  I wish she would stay.)