Monday, June 22, 2015

darning in the ends



The other day I was standing with a gorgeous friend and my dad when my friend asked me if I was organised. My dad laughed and told her that if she was asking me that then she obviously didn't know me very well.

It's true. He's right - I am disorganised.

And that is particularly difficult right now when we are speeding towards a deadline. Hurtling at it so hard and fast that I can practically see my last few hours and days at home disappearing before my eyes.

We're going away at the end of this week. And while our adventure isn't quite as huge as the one I wrote about a year ago in this post, it feels pretty big just the same.

And with only a couple of days to go until blast off, I'm finding myself wandering around in circles. I'm crossing things off my to-do list NOT because I've done them but because I've run out of time to do them. And I'm thinking less and less about the me that I am now and more about the me that I'll be next time I'm here, and what would make that me the happiest. And of course I'm scrubbing everything in sight, wanting the people moving in here to think I am the greatest house keeper that ever there was. (It does bug me that they get to live in a much sparklier house than we ever do).

So basically this post is about darning in the ends. Tying them up and tucking them neatly under a few other stitches out of sight. I feel like my whole life is a bit like that at the moment actually.


So firstly thank you all so very much for your gorgeous comments about my Amanda cardigan. I have worn her every day of the past two weeks and she is everything I hoped for: snuggly, warm and so very comfy. Although I am super excited to be skipping winter this year, I look forward to wearing Amanda upon our return and for many, many winters into the future.

Mama Shara
Julie Maloney

To the lovely ladies above - please message me your postal addresses and I'll get your squishy TONOFWOOL sample out to you SOON!

The love gloves above I made for someone going through a tough time right now. I love that craft allows me to send love in the mail and hopefully bring a smile to someone's face.


Over the past few months I have received SO MANY messages asking me where we bought farmer Bren's spoon carving knives from. If I haven't gotten back to you or if you were wondering too - please have a look at these links Mora knives and Ben & Lois Orford. We bought the Mora knives for our farmer boy and then he developed his knowledge and love by watching loads of youtube clips and found more knife makers himself. Hope that helps.

In about six weeks we'll be at Spoonfest so expect a big chunk of spoon love then.

And the last thing I want to talk about is this video that our family made. Farmer Bren wrote, filmed and directed it; we wrote and illustrated it and Indi sang it.

Our girls go to the most beautiful little Buddhist school in Daylesford, The Dharma School. It is a school that values kindness and compassion, that looks after and cares about each individual, and a school that, along with the usual academic stuff, teaches our kids how to be great human beings. Honestly, I feel like this school is not only changing our girls' lives but ours too.

The words below are from the fund raising brochure and express the school's philosophy better than I can:

Our children are our future. They are the hope of humanity as the challenges that face us around the world continue to escalate. These challenges call for a new kind of humanity and a new kind of leadership - one that is not based on power and will alone. But a humanity that is guided by the enduring qualities of wisdom and compassion. These are the qualities that lead to right action. One-pointed and altruistic, with the highest good as our goal.
Over time we are seeing a new kind of child emerge at the school. One who adopts an attitude of open-heartedness.
Who chooses to act from a clear sense of what is right.Who is learning to master conflict resolution. Who considers their impact on the world around them. Who is guided to seek the highest good for all.
We believe the world needs more children like this, children who will grow into adults with values and qualities than can make a true difference. Loving parents,compassionate leaders, benevolent business operators, caring workers, wise teachers, truthful politicians, true peace makers.
This is why the Daylesford Dharma School is important.

For the past few years the Dharma School has been renting a couple of rooms at a local tennis club, but now our lease has run out and we need to move. We've found a block of land on the outskirts of town and our friend Mel has drawn up beautiful plans for buildings and gardens but first we need to buy the land.

And this is where you guys come in. We've launched a crowd funding campaign and I'd really love it if you could have a look through it, share it through your social media and if at all possible donate too. We can't do this alone and we'd be so grateful for your help.

Please click this link - Our school needs a new home.

Thank you SO MUCH!!

See you later alligators!!

Big love xoxoxox

(Oh and if you have a book suggestion for me I'd love that too).

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Amanda cardigan



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You guys I knitted a fisherman sweater!!!!

Last New Years Eve I resolved that if I really was going to call myself a knitter then I would have to knit a heavily cabled woman sized jumper before the year was out, and I totally have.

I think the idea originally got planted in my head last year when Karen Templer along with a panel of experts hosted an Amanda cardigan knit-a-long. Over the period of a few months my instagram feed was filled with Amandas in all stages from swatching all the way through to wearing and all hashtagged #fringeandfriendsknitalong.

I totally wanted to join in on the fisherman fun but the timing was wrong for me as I had just discovered socks. So I watched from the sidelines and fell deeper and deeper in love with the pattern as each pic and blog was posted.

Then in March, I decided it was time to make good on my New Years' resolution and when gorgeous  Kylie of TONOFWOOL offered to send me the wool, I knew my Amanda cardigan time had come. So I ordered the book the pattern  came from and once it arrived I wound the wool, set myself a first day of winter deadline and cast on.

And I knitted the back, the two front pieces, the sleeves and then I joined them together and knitted it into a cardigan.

It took a while to get the hang of the cables and I undid it and reknitted it quite a few times but eventually it clicked and then it actually was a really fun knit.

I even reached my June first - first day of winter deadline!

But then I stalled. After all those hours and stitches and cables and buttons I just couldn't bring myself to try it on. What if it didn't fit me? What if it was too tight on the boobs, or too short on my bum or too long in the arms? Eventually, after a few days of watching it out of the corner of my eye sitting all neatly folded up on the kitchen sideboard, I convinced myself that it really didn't matter.

If it was too small then maybe one of the girls could wear it. If it was too big then maybe I could wear it with extra layers underneath. And if it really didn't work for anyone at all - then it would make a very snugly blanket indeed. It was after all a great thing that I'd followed through and knitted it without distraction and I know that I wasn't really very careful with the measuring and swatching in the beginning and couldn't really blame anyone but myself.

But then last Friday night while rushing out for dinner, I grabbed it, chucked it on over the top of the dress I was wearing and it worked!! It fitted well!! It looked great and it is possibly the warmest piece of clothing I have ever owned.

So YAY!!!

You can find all of my Amanda details on Ravelry here.

And in the meantime TONOFWOOL have given me five small 25 gram samples of their incredibly soft and squishy 10ply Cormo for five of you to try out.

If you are interested in having a play with my new favourite wool and you live in Australia, please leave a comment below.

Now that that enormous project is done, I think I'm going to go and cast on something quick and easy.

And then I'm going to get my cardigan off Indi. And hide it.

Big love to you guys, I hope you've got something fun to look forward to.


Monday, June 1, 2015

taking stock


OK here we go, new week, new month, new season - let's take stock!

Knowing - that I should go outside and keep planting the garlic.....but it's freeeeeeezing.

Wearing - my tennis skirt after a session on the elliptical trainer we just rented. I feel so much fitter when I wear proper exercise gear as opposed to my pyjamas, I wonder if there's some fact in that.

Needing - to go out and split some kindling to start the kitchen fire.

Questioning - how it was we came to live in one of the coldest places on earth.


Liking - the simplicity of a seven year old's world and wishing she would stay seven for a few more years.

Disliking - the amount of head space I give to the not very kind people.

Opening - the firebox to put more wood in. Often. Always.

Giggling - while listening to Miss Jazzy filling my Mum in on all the gossip.

Feeling - so incredibly grateful to Paula a gorgeous blog reader who sent me a 100% merino wool top in the mail. I love it!! Thanks Paula. xx


Making - teeny-tiny red mittens for my nephew. Small sized hand-knits never fail to make me so clucky. Details here.

Cooking - brussel sprouts, that we just picked from the kitchen garden five minutes ago, with garlic and butter and toast. Yum!!

Drinking - strong coffee and peppermint tea and not enough water.


Reading - Pip's Craft For The Soul. I love reading books written by my friends. I love the way I can hear Pip's sweet voice reading the sentences to me and telling me her stories. I remember so clearly reading Pip's word count updates on Facebook as she was writing this book and here it is all gorgeous and interesting and wonderful and published, that's so cool I think!

Marvelling - at how kind and thoughtful some people are, like lovely Mel who sent me a gorgeous package of doilies and pretties to sew with. Thanks Mel. xx

Wanting - my girls to help around the house more. I know, it's so boring but it's driving me crazy.

Looking - at the time and wondering if I should put the beans and rice on for dinner yet.

Playing - Miss Indi's new song. It's so good. I can't wait for you to hear it.


Wondering - if Miss Jazzy would actually wear leg warmers if I made her some.

Wishing - for a bit of sunshine for tomorrow as it's the start of pruning week.

Enjoying - the lovely and kind feedback I've had about this interview.


Waiting - to get our olive oil back from the people who pressed our olives.

Loving - making play lists of all my longtime fave songs on spotify.

Watching - Orphan Black, so, so good!! Are you watching it too? Do you love sestra Helena?


Pondering - my medlars. Should I attempt medlar jelly or should I pass them on?

Considering - painting a mural on our bedroom wall.

Deciding - what I should knit next.

Buying - new work overalls online. I forgot how often winter work wear needs to be washed.

Hoping - that the green manure farmer Bren planted last week germinates and grows like a jungle out there.


Thinking - about how much I love eating my porridge with my farmer Bren spoon each morning.

Smelling - wet poodle.

Following - the year nine dramas and trying not to take them personally.

Noticing - that I sometimes have to use google to understand what my kids are saying these days. For example - ship - did you know that?


Admiring - the autumn leaves. The last on the trees, the carpet on the ground and the piles that we've raked up. Spectacular!

Sorting - out buttons and trying to find six matching ones for my Amanda cardigan.

Getting - fitter and stronger. Hopefully.

Snacking - on almonds and thinly sliced granny smiths.

Closing - the farm stall today until the summer veggie season begins in another six months or more.

Bookmarking - recipes that use chickpeas, I'm obsessed!

Hearing - the beep that tells me the washing machine is finished. Gotta go.

Phew! That was quite epic.
Thanks for the list Pip!

How are you travelling anyway?
Are you reading/making/growing/listening to anything good?

I hope your house mates come home happily and helpfully.

Big love,

Kate xxxx

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