Thursday, 27 November 2014

*%^&#^@* Technology

After the highs of thinking good things about our technology (a craft show in Adelaide run remotely and fully integrated to our inventory database server plus adding exciting new books with enhanced features to the database and online), there comes the ugly reality. 

Never think technology is actually on your side! In the last week, we have been invaded by a very nasty virus that has crippled our server and made life extremely stressful. Thanks to excellent support from our good friends at LIV IT, we managed a work-around to put together the December catalogues over the weekend and will be mailing on schedule this Friday – an early thank you to Highway Press and their mailing houseso please, please, please…!
Hopefully we will be back to some semblance of normality on the technology front by Monday as well and should have the December PDF catalogues online soon after that. 

Thankfully, the web site order function is working brilliantly, but a few minor gremlins are appearing mainly related to images. Again, these should be cleaned up shortly.
Amazingly, we are processing and dispatching orders with the usual same day service, but will be relieved when the makeshift process needed to achieve this has reverted to our excellent systems.
By the way, the virus is rumoured to have come from the “Russian Mafia” which is a bit of an oxymoron, I would have thought. Getting the problem fixed is the first priority then we need to find out how it happened. The lesson is to be even more vigilant with protection measures – you might think about your own situation!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Wonders of Technology

Ah, the wonders of technology! Book publishers are becoming increasingly inventive in the products they are creating and how these are being promoted. Books published by Quiltmania have a handy “look inside” feature highlighting content that has been specifically selected with quilters in mind. Michelle Yeo’s Of Needle, Thimble and Thread is just one example.
Search Press, using a different technology, also offers enhanced “look inside” features to give crafters more information about the content and look-and-feel of books. 
The Textile Artist: Appliqué Art is just one good example of what is available.

Of course, we are putting these links into our product descriptions online and have even tried a little experimenting of our own. We have created two trial catalogues  Gift Ideas for Crafters and For Fibre Artists – using Issu one of the interesting page turning technologies available. Try linking to one of these and let us know what you think. Perhaps we need to move away from the current layout for our catalogues which works well in print and PDF format … something to think about in the quiet time, whenever that is!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

New Projects for Noro Yarns

Knit Noro 1 2 3 Skeins has just arrived and is stunning with all those yummy Noro yarns and 30 great projects. The projects can be made with 1, 2 or 3 skeins, so it is possible to make some beautiful items without investing a fortune.

As a teaser, here are four projects.
The Garter Ridge Shawl requires three skeins and shows the lovely photography and stylish layouts used for the projects – the final result are illustrated in colour, of course, often with the front and back of the garment, and of course there is the pattern details.
 Garter Ridge Shawl

 Garter Ridge Shawl


The Open Back Vest uses two skeins.

 Open back vest

The lovely Flower Broach uses only one skein.

 Flower Brooch

Finally, I just loved the colours in the Twig Lace Shrug and it is a three-skein project. Yet another one for my “to do” list!

 Twig Lace Shrug

Happy knitting

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Going On Bear Hunt!

Dear me, but this new book brings back very fond memories of evening baths for the kids and then a book for them before bed! Wow, that was 25 years ago!
To celebrate the anniversary this classic has been republished with eight realistic press and play sounds to bring the story of the bear hunt to life like never before. You'll love it as much as the children.
We're Going on a Bear Hunt.
We're going on a bear hunt.
I can picture some of the little ones under the cover when the bear arrives but giggles will certainly follow.
Be ready for many readings of this wonderful story and endless playing of the accompanying sounds.

We're Going On a Bear Hunt

 We're Going on a Bear Hunt

I do love the wonderful range of children's books coming across my desk.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

The Knowledgeable Knitter

When I first heard that Margaret Radcliffe had a new book coming, I was very excited to see what she would deliver after her wonderful Circular Knitting Workshop. I thought that the book with a subtitle of “Understand the Inner Workings of Knitting and Make Every Project a Success” would surely be something special. Margaret’s The Knowledgeable Knitter has not disappointed!
Knowledgeable Knitter
The Knowledgeable Knitter

Her writing is easy to understand and supported by wonderful illustrations and step-by-step photos.
Weaving Live Stitches to Dead Stitches
Weaving Live Stitches to Dead Stitches
I agree with one of the advance reviews: “The ultimate resource for knitters who don’t just want to know how, but are also curious why … the perfect blend of practical and theoretical information …” This book is destined for my own reference shelf which is not a big as some might imagine!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Swing Jacket Number 2

I have now completed the second version of the Swing jacket as I mentioned in my previous blog. The fabric is a rayon and has a nice drape to it, Now for number 3 then it is time for some summer clothes.

Swing Jacket
Back of Swing Jacket CJ519

Swing Jacket CJ519
And the Front

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

My New Favourite Pattern

As I mentioned in my previous blog I have decided that shopping for clothes is not for me after a long and fruitless search for  something that fit, was not black or grey and didn't make me look like " mutton dressed as lamb"
Swing Jacket, Christine Jonson Sewing Pattterns
Swing Jacket
It took me three hours  to make which is the time I spent searching. I was able to fit my narrow shoulders and wider hips. Yes, I am a classic pear shape. I also have short arms and always have to roll up the sleeves of bought clothes. This is lucky for me this time as I only bought 2 metres and the pattern called for two and a half. 
 Swing Jacket

I am now on the lookout for a knit to make my second one.

Monday, 2 June 2014

I Am so Glad I Sew

I need a few new items of clothing to see me through winter.

The core of my wardrobe is black pants and a black top, either a T-shirt or Skivvy (such an old-fashioned word) depending on the season. Over this I  like to wear a bit of colour so off to the wonderful city of Melbourne yesterday to see what I could find. Well the answer is nothing. I was looking for few long line cardigans in almost any colour except grey or black. What I found was either too short, had a hood, would last through 2 washes, only in grey or black etc.

I also discovered that I don't like shopping in department stores now that they are divided into brand name boutiques. I would have had to go through all of them to rather than going to the knitwear department and soon became hot and disillusioned.

It looked like I would go empty handed but as Clegs is on the way to the station I had a look at what they had to offer and came away with a printed knit jersey which I am going to make using the pattern below.

 Swing Jacket
Swing Jacket by Christine Johnson Pattern
It should take me about the same time to make as I spent shopping. I will show you as soon as it is made,

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In my last newsletter that we email each month I asked you to show us what you have made.using our books as inspiration.
Jane responded with these lovely images using a book she bought from us last year.
The first three were drawn by Jane's daughter.

And this one was drawn by Jane's Granddaughter, stunning.

Thank you so much for sharing this lovely work with us Jane.
What have you been inspired to make? Please share by emailing to

By the way the book that inspired all this is 
 One Zentangle a Day

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

My Easter Weekend Achievements

It was really great to set myself some targets for the weekend of things I wanted to achieve, all enjoyable of course.

I made some soap using my luxury recipe that includes 5 oils and goats milk and added some lime and lemongrass essential oils. Now I have to wait 6 weeks  for it to cure. The topping is dried lime rind.

My Candle making session was fun too and I am particularly pleased with the funny looking blue one in the middle. The holey texture was created by ice in the mold. All made with soy wax of course.

Handmade Soy Candles

The wood fired oven received a serious workout and I was able to start the fire without using too much newspaper. I am sure newspaper doesn't burn like it used to maybe it is the coloured inks.

Bread from wood fired oven
Fresh out of the oven

Half Eaten bread
10 minutes later

Spicy buns
Spicy buns. No crosses as I made them on Monday.

The garden didn't get a look in and my little Yoko Saito project is still to be started.
I did make a start on the tea cosy from Pretty Funny Tea Cosies but not much to show yet.

The only sewing I achieved was a bit of mending but my sewing/craft room got the full treatment. It is now tidy, organised and labeled so I am ready to go next weekend.I will show you some photos in a future blog.