Help the babies – Knitting group special meeting on Saturday 25th February

We have received an urgent appeal for singlets, blankets, bootees and jackets for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Wellington Hospital. The library knitting group will hold a special meeting this Saturday 25th February to work on items for this appeal. If you could spare a little time on this day your help would be gratefully received.

Share some fun and fellowship while doing some good in the world!
Wool and patterns will be provided. Being small, the items will be quick to knit.
We will meet behind the escalators on the first floor of Central Library from 1-4PM
A continuous and substantial afternoon tea will be supplied.

CONTACT : Sue Dale
E-mail :
Phone : (04) 801 4146

Books to inspire you:

Syndetics book coverKnitting for good! : a guide to creating personal, social & political change, stitch by stitch / Betsy Greer.
“Every time we knit, we have the opportunity to create positive change in ourselves, our community, and in the world. That’s Betsy Greer’s fervent belief, and in this book she shows us how. Betsy explores the ways we can use knitting to slow down in a fast-paced culture, while using the craft to benefit charities in our communities, to advocate for worthwhile causes, and to support individuals and communities across the globe.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitting green : conversations and planet friendly projects / Ann Budd.
“Detailing a wide range of perspectives and approaches to environmental issues, this unique crafting manual offers ideas for knitting conscientiously. Leading figures of the industry, from designers to yarn company executives, share their methods for integrating green principles into their work and lives.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverTogether : how small groups achieve big things / Henry Hemmings.
Together is about the extraordinary revival of small groups in Britain today.What happens when a room full of people decide to work towards the same dream? Why is it that when we come together in small groups we are so much more than the sum of our parts?” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnitting yarns : writers on knitting / edited and with an introduction by Ann Hood.
“The impressive collection of writers here have contributed essays that celebrate knitting and knitters. They share their knitting triumphs and disasters as well as their life triumphs and disasters.” (Syndetics summary)

iPad vs. paper : win-win

Syndetics book coverIn The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti the books themselves become the craft material – it’s full of projects that require you to gut, slice, fold and glue old books to create a range of adornments, containers and decorative yet functional items. You could choose to make a Bestseller Bookshelf, a Pagework Quilt or a Literary Lamp!  A great way to reincarnate old books that you can pick up cheaply at booksales.

The project that caught my eye was the Kindle Keeper.  I adapted the concept to make it work with my iPad – the perfect combination of my favourite digital device and the aesthetics of a hardback book.

iPad keeperThe first step was rummaging around at the booksale to find a book that was just a bit bigger than the iPad, then I was underway.  Lisa Occhipinti suggests using velcro strips to hold your e-reader inside the recovered bookcover.  I felt this would be a little insecure and instead combined her idea with the classic “book safe” where a cavity is cut into the book block.  I used a craft knife to remove an iPad sized chunk from the middle of the pages …  this takes more time that you might think!  Then I glued the remaining “frame” made of pages together and to the back cover of the book.

perfect fit!
perfect fit!

Now my iPad can nestle safely inside.   I used purple sugar paper to cover the frame made by the cut pages. This looked a lot better than the left over edges of the pages and also disguised where my cutting was less than perfect.

A stripey lining glued into the back of the cavity made a satisfying contrast and I replaced the original cover with a piece of heavy paper in a leaf design.

inside with stripey lining paper
inside with stripey lining paper
new dust jacket
new dust jacket

I really like the way there is still a hint of the old red book that this once was.

I had thought my next project might be transforming a vintage cookbook into a kitchen utensil holder.  Though after seeing the trailer that includes the author making a bookmobile (shown on the book cover above) I might just get the glue out again and try that first …

Do check out her blog for further inspiration.

Red hoodie for winter

red hoodie frontNow that it’s a bit colder, I’m taking every opportunity to wear my cosy new red hoodie. This is designed by Ysolda Teague, one of my favourite knitwear designers and a bit of a knitting rockstar. Her patterns balance cute, feminine details with very well-constructed, flattering tailoring and they are a total joy to knit. red hoodie side

red hoodie bkHer book Little Red in the City came out last year, and as well as having 7 lovely jersey and cardigan patterns, it has a solid reference section with extensive information on tailoring, technique and garment care. Wellington City Libraries also has a couple of zines, Whimsical Little Knits & Whimsical Little Knits Two, which are treasure troves of modern, sweet treats like this Ishbel shawl.


(click on the photos to view larger version)

Handmade at the office

Laura Bennet’s new book, Handmade Chic:  Fashionable Projects That Look High-End Not Homespun featured on a recent new books list.  It caught my eye as I’m a big Project Runway fan and Laura was one of my favourite contestants.  Her book has great designs that are sophisticated and in her words, not homespun.

diaryShe uses a lot of leather in her designs, and machine stitches with a heavy needle.  I had quite a few vinyl scraps at home from a previous project and thought the designs could easily be hand stitched.

I started with the business card holder.  I used magic tape on the vinyl to draw the stitch line, and to hold both of the pieces together while I sewed.  I was really pleased with how the card holder looked, so moved on to the book cover.

I made the book cover for my diary.  I used  three pieces of vinyl and  again used magic tape to hold the pieces together and to draw my stitch line on.  I picked the tape off opendiary1when I had finished.  This gave the project a very tidy finish.  I had so much fun making these items, I designed my own smart phone case!

As well as projects for the office, Laura’s book includes a number of sophisticated designs for the corporate wardrobe: belts, bracelets and handbags. While the patterns do look good, I’ll stick to accessories.

open phone case phone case

Canine Craft Weekend

Autumn is round the corner and my dog tends to feel the cold, with her greyhound like thin constitution. Having come across a gorgeous woolen tartan at a fabric sale, I decided to make her a cosy coat she could wear outdoors on crisp winter mornings, or indoors, when she needs that extra bit of warmth.

So, at the end of a crafty weekend, I went for a walk with Manu and took a few pictures of the model.

Check out our collection of dog knits books for stylish ideas to keep your pooch happy in the cool months ahead. (Click on the image to check our catalogue)

syndetics-lc      syndetics-lc     syndetics-lc

Making things with Milly Molly Mandy

The Milly Molly Mandy books by Joyce Lankester Brisley were among my favourite stories as a girl.  I felt very nostalgic recently when I came across the book  Milly Molly Mandy’ things to make and do by Sam Hay; based on the stories by Joyce Lankester Brisley. It’s packed with all the favourite things Milly Molly Mandy, little friend Susan and Billy Blunt loved to do.

french knittingIt was fun trying to  remember  which story the activity came from; like the one when Milly Molly Mandy learns to cook with Teacher. My daughter and I started with  French knitting.  She was so excited at the sound of  knitting, she announced that she was going to knit a blanket. I persuaded  her to instead knit a  length long enough to make a small knot that would be big enough to embellish  the end of a hair clip.

While Milly Molly Mandy suggests making a bracelet for a friend, we got the  idea for the hair clip from the book State of Craft edited by Victoria Woodcock.  The book has pulled together a lot of ideas from different makers and designers.  The French knitted hair clips are a simple idea, that can easliy be modified for the beginner.

Instead of two strands of knitting, we used one, and made the length quite a bit shorter then suggested, so not to waste any of our precious knitting.  The clips look very cute, and now that my daughter has got the hang of French knitting, she’ll be able to get started on that blanket she’s so keen to make.  But in the mean time, we’ve got a lot of activities to try in our Milly Molly Mandy Make and Do book.

More make and do books for children

Cherry cake and ginger beer by Jane Brocket

Ripping things to do by Jane Brocket

50 things to make and do by Fiona Watt