Friday, December 23, 2011

Beret Blocking Process at Shazzas

My Berets all go through a very important process before they are deemed ready to sell to the public. The knitting process is only the first step and really is just a floppy hat with very little shape to it. Once it is off the needles it gets a bath in warm water with baby shampoo added to it, I use Johnson's Baby Shampoo because if it is good enough for babies it is good enough for my hats. I let the hat soak for about 20 minutes so that the fibres are nice and relaxed, hey it is a bath after all, I rinse in more warm water and gently squeeze the excess water out. It is wrapped in a dry towel and left for about half an hour and then it is ready to block on my very special hat blocking board made for me by my a friends father. I used to use my mothers pavlova plate as it was the perfect measurement, 31cms (12 inches) in diameter, but as the plate has very special memories for me it was too much of a family heirloom to risk breaking.

The beret is then stretched over the blocking board and you will see how the lace pattern opens up beautifully as the wet fibres are stretched into shape, this then all sits for about 12 - 24 hours in a warm place to dry completely. The beret is carefully removed and any ends sewn in, I never sew them in first as they need to mould and settle into their righful place and any that are sewn in too tightly may cause pulling.

There you have it, a nicely shaped beret ready to wear, definately worth the extra effort of blocking.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Crocheted Scarf

Found this great 1970's pattern for a scarf, changed it around a bit to give it that modern vintage look that is so in fashion right now! I made it in Bendigo Rustic 12ply Berry.

I have discovered Pinterest it is an amazing visual site where you can have pin boards and pin images that you find on the internet and search what other people are finding, love it! Oh and if you would like to see what I pin you can check out my pin board.

oh well till next time,
happy knitting

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Babies Hats and More Tea Cosies

I made these tea cosies for a friend and love how the simple flower works so well. All made with Bendigo Classic 8 ply of course, what great colours!

Baby aviator hats, must have item for your little ones, made to order in sizes 0 through to 24 months in Bendigo Luxury 8 ply which is gorgeously soft against babies skin and best of all, machine washable.

I will be having a stall at The Branch Handmade market which will be held Friday, September 30 · 6:30pm - 9:30pm at The Branch Christian Church Innocent Street, Kings Meadows Launceston behind the bowling alley. I will have the little watermelon hats plus a lot more handknitted goodies for sale, come along and say hi if you are in the area.

Monday, August 08, 2011

New Tea Cosies

Someone recently commented to me 'that nothing beats a handknitted tea cosy for keeping your tea warm but they are oh so daggy'! Well this sent me on a quest to create a handknitted tea cosy that would look good in the most modern of kitchen. While I had an idea in mind it wasn't until I was browsing Loani Priors Really Wild for Tea Cosies that I saw a base shape similar to what I had in mind. So not wanting to tread on copyright toes, emailed the lovely Loani and asked if I could use the shape of her Short Black with Two. She granted me permission and so with a few simple changes to get the look I was after my new modern knit tea cosy range was born, thank you Loani!

I unveiled them at a local market on the weekend and sold one, received an order for another so I was very pleased and relieved as it is always like sharing a bit of your soul when you put your work out there to the public.

Finally but certainly not least, a pair of fingerless mitts made from the gorgeously soft Filatura di crosa Zara, while a bit expensive it is well worth it as the stitch definition is amazing and comes in a great colour range, they are available made to order.

till next time, happy knitting!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Winter Time Slipper Time

I have been working on this slipper for a while now, it is the old Patons Knick Knacks one which uses 14 ply wool knitted on size 4mm needles. As 14 ply isn't readily available anymore I use 2 strands of 8 ply doubled and also knit the front part in the round to eliminate the bulky seam. They are a fun knit and great for using up those extra couple of balls of yarn that we all seem to have lying around.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cold Weather

It has been very cold here in Tasmania, not to mention the rain, so that has meant a lot of staying indoors which to a knitter means........lots of knitting. On top of the usual orders for customers are some new hat designs.

I have taken my trusty aviator hat shape and given it a winter makeover, complete with fair isle snowflake pattern and a pom pom and made from Bendigo Classic 8 ply. The idea came to me as I was browsing a vintage Villawool knitting pattern and found some ski hats, apparently every skier would not be without one! Well I thought I had better add one to the range, there will be more colours added as I sit by the fire this winter, ahhhhhh a knitter has got to love winter.

Found this pattern in an old Patons pattern book and thought it was destined for a Shazzas Knits makeover, I discovered Cleckheaton Perfect Day a gorgeously soft alpaca/wool mix in natural colours and knew that it was the perfect yarn for the Cossack Hat. It would suit anyone and can be dressed up or down, I can imagine a cigar smoking Clint Eastwood in his younger days wearing it but it is also very Dr Zhivago-ish.

Last but certainly not least, you may recall I bought a lot of Bendigo Rustic ochre yellow with the view to knit myself a jumper, well when it arrived it was not really the shade I had in mind so I have been looking for another use for it. I think these fingerless gloves work well with the yarn, the colour is more suited for smaller objects.

Well that is about it for now, all the above items are available for purchase in both my Etsy and Madeit shops.

till next time,
happy knitting.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Owls Off To A New Home

Some of these little guys are heading off to Oatlands Handmade, Rowena is doing a great job sourcing local arts and crafts which she sells from her lovely store in Oatlands.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mini Tea Cosies

I have two teapots, a 4 - 6 cup and a 1 - 2 cup for my tea just for me moments! After a special request from a customer to make a ladybug and koala tea cosy to fit her 1 cup pot I got to work and reworked the pattern and I am very happy with the results. They certainly look cuter and fit my 1 - 2 cup pot perfectly. I will work on getting a mini owl next, but for now these are available made to order through my Etsy Shop.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

Found this recipe in The Real Living Magazine and knew they had to be the Easter treat this year! Disgustingly sweet but oh so yummy!

They look lovely displayed on my 3 tier cake stand made by Tea Jennys using upcycled vintage plates.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When Old Is Made New Again

Found this old desk at Goods in Remission Invermay and knew that it had to become my new sewing table, at the moment whenever the urge to sew strikes I need to transport all items to the dining room table which obviously is not very practical or enjoyable!

It did have some bookends built in on the top but I removed those, sanded down the lovely pine to remove stickers and grafiti, previous owner was obviously a student. Stained it a nice rich maple colour and added a cutting board. This serves two purposes, covers the marks left by the bookends which no amount of sanding would remove and also makes it an all purpose craft table as well as a sewing table.

Very happy little camper I am. Stay tuned there is an old vintage chair being made over to match. Till next time happy knitting and of course sewing!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Vodka and Vanilla?

After being introduced to the amazing thermomix I just had to learn more about this clever little machine and discovered this forum. There was a discussion about making your own vanilla extract using vanilla beans and vodka, so vodka and 12 vanilla beans purchased and I now have a vanilla infused vodka in my kitchen cupboard. Now this process doesn't happen overnight in fact it will be 6 months before my vanilla extract will be ready for use! I also have to remember to shake the bottle daily so have placed it next to my dish washing liquid, so I will see it and hopefully remember to do this.

Did I buy the thermomix after all that, well no as it does have a very expensive little price tag which is why I am doing my homework well and truly before I purchase so any comments negative and/or positive, I would love to hear them.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Winter Evenings

I'm afraid to say the days are drawing in and the evenings getting colder which of course means one thing, winter! A season that many dread, but the knitter absolutely loves, well this knitter does. I mean there is nothing better than the wood fire glowing, knitting in hand and a nice drop of Irish Cream Whisky. Now in the past I have always made my own but this year I have discovered a wonderful Tasmanian made Whisky Cream Liqueur produced in Burnie at Hellyers Road Distillery. It is absolutely delicious and as they home deliver, two bottles made their way to Shazzas this week!

Ahhhhh knitting and whisky cream liqueur, life doesn't get much better than this.

I have also been working on another hat, this one is full of lovely cables which I adore knitting and made with a very soft luxurious pure wool, this is a must have for anyone who loves to wear a slouchy beret and is available at Etsy and Madeit.

Oh and here is my recipe for Irish Cream, till next time, happy knitting!

1 small tin condensed milk
1 small carton of thickened cream (300ml)
1 cup good quality whisky
1/4 teaspoon of coconut essence (my friend prefers peppermint so either will do)
3 tablespoons of chocolate topping
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of instant coffee

Blend all ingredients in a blender or food processor, bottle and store in the fridge.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Retro Food Mill

Asked my mother in law if she still had her food mill, sure enough she did! It had been retired after many years of making Dutch apple sauce and the workings were a bit rusty but a soak in brown vinegar together with a lot of scrubbing with the steel wool and the results are amazing, 'Mouli' is like new again.

and what better way to be put to use but making tomato sauce and relish with lovely tomatoes from the garden.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

More Fruity Hats

Freshly picked Fruity Hats made from gorgeously soft Bendigo Luxury 8ply in traditional pastel baby shades, now I am not usually fond of pastel baby colours and would much prefer bright, but I am very happy with these.

Available in pink, blue, mint and yellow and made to order in sizes prem through to 2 years from Etsy and Madeit.

After our Torchwool get together the other night and seeing a very retro scarf hat or scoodie as they are referred to now, time to revisit another pattern and have cast on the winter warmers scarf hat in Oatmeal.

till next time, happy knitting!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Berets for Winter

I know that it sounds way too early to be talking winter, but here in Tassie at the moment it is f r e e z i n g!!!! So I have finally got some new hat designs out of my head and onto the needles ready for autumn/winter.

My love of feather and fan stitch finally found its way into this slouchy beret.

Crocheting granny squares, ahhhhh my favourite thing to do while sitting by the fire, so obviously this too has evolved into a beret.

These will be the staple hats at Shazzas Knits this year together with the diamond star beret.

Oh well at least the cold weather is great for knitting and crocheting so until next time, happy knitting!