Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Thursday, June 20, 2013

A new home...

Hello my dears!  I see you're still subscribed to the Stitchybritt feed - what a wonderful committed bunch you are!  I bet you thought I had abandoned you, as I haven't been blogging here for a little while.  Well I did have a little sabbatical but I have not quit - rather, I have just moved to a new home.

I have started a new business, known as The Culture Classroom, which is all about sharing global traditions in living and making.  You know I've always been fascinated with celebrations, events, crafts and foods from around the world?  Well now I have decided to write about them and share them - you can find my new blog over at

So I'll still be blogging about crafty goodness, as well as a whole bunch more.  And I'll also be running some workshops quite soon - so head over to and stay tuned for more info.  I'm looking forward to seeing you there.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mini break

This and other fantastic images can be found here

Excuse me for my brief hiatus. I gave myself a bit of a break from blogging, and from sewing and creating, just for a little bit.

Lately I've felt the need to spend time thinking, questioning, plotting, planning. I've been feeling tired and run down - work has been exhausting, and even during these times I tend to keep the pressure on myself to keep up my usual stitching, cooking, exercising and blogging routines. This time I decided to give myself a break.

I heard a good analogy yesterday: an axeman is in the woods, chopping down trees, working vigorously and getting quite tired while his axe gets more and more blunt. A passer-by notices this and says "Axeman, why don't you stop and rest for a while? You can sharpen your axe and regain your strength, and you'll be able to finish the job sooner". The axeman replied "I can't stop, I've got too many trees to get through" and continues chopping.

We all need to take time out to sharpen our axes. In a few weeks I'm going on holidays to Tasmania, and it's going to be EXCELLENT. I can't wait to share my adventures with you. I'm also taking some steps to fix some minor health issues, and generally care for my wellbeing.

So dear friends, I didn't want you to think I'd dropped off the planet. I'm still here and will resume normal blogging programming shortly. And whaddayaknow?  I think I feel the urge to knit coming on...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The veggie patch

As you might remember, we moved into our new house about three months ago.  With Spring approaching we knew we wanted to start planting our veggie garden but we had one problem - the sunniest part of the yard didn't have a garden bed.  So we called in our local landscaper (so local, he lives in our street) and asked him to build a veggie garden bed for us.  

The newly built bed looked great, and once it had soil in it we were keen to get planting!  We put in some herbs...

(how cool is pineapple sage?  It really smells like pineapple!)  and some tomatoes...

Though they look happy, they still have a long way to grow...

And there are two rows of radishes that we are expecting to pop up very soon...

We have a big order in with Diggers for some wonderful heirloom seeds, but until it arrives we continue to water and watch every day.

What are you planting at the moment?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pleated Trousers

Here's a little project I've been working on - the Pleated Pants (Trousers) by Papercut Patterns.

First I'd like to say how much I like Papercut Patterns - not only do they have an excellent range of sewing patterns, but they also have a sustainable angle, with a goal to use 100% recycled and recyclable products.  As they say on their website "A good quality, well made garment can last a lifetime, so lets keep our earth alive long enough to appreciate our craftsmanship". I coudn't agree more.

Although I seem to have cut the pattern a size too big for me (me, make a muslin?  I don't think so!), the trousers still worked out quite flattering.  I think you can get away with 'a bit too big' in black.  Papercut pattern instructions are very well written and extremely easy to follow.  I thought sewing trousers would be a bit of a challenge for me (zip? fly? lined waistband?) but in reality they were actually quite easy to make.  Unlike many patterns I've made recently, I didn't have any "you want me to put what where?" moments.  The pieces all fit together amazingly well - even the waistband seams and side trouser seams match!  That never happens for me - at least, not without an amount of swearing and unpicking.

I'm really pleased with these - they will become a staple in both my work and casual wardrobe.  I'd really like to make another pair - this time the right size - and in another colour.  Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

More pickles (because we love them)

Sunday afternoon at our house means two things: cheese and pickles.  We are completely addicted - smoked cheddar, blue castello, often a brie or a camembert.  And the pickles: sometimes gherkins, sometimes onions, sometimes both.  Making your own pickled onions is actually quite simple if you can find small onions, and they work out quite tasty too.

The most difficult part of the process is peeling all the onions.  I recommend wearing ski goggles for this part.  No, really.  This is not a task for the un-masked.  Then brine the onions overnight.

Give the onions a good rinse the next day.  At the same time, make heat a mix of vinegar and your chosen spices.  We like to use apple cider vinegar for its flavour, and a mix of ground allspice, mustard and a bit of brown sugar .  Let this mix cool.

Pop your onions into sterlized jars along with bay leaves, slices of chilli and peppercorns.  Then pour the cooled vinegar and spice mix into the jars and seal.  The onions will be ok to eat after a few weeks, but to get really pickley ones I recommend leaving them for about a month... if you can resist!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The socks are finished!

The good news is that the slow/fast socks are finished!  Yay!  What I hadn't mentioned before is that these socks were actually a gift for a friend of mine - hence the hurry at the end to get them finished.  I'm really happy with how they turned out, and I think I've figured out a knitting pattern that I really like - I will try to write it all out and share it here soon.

In other news, another of my colleagues is off to have a baby this week, and so I crocheted some face washers in soft organic cotton as a small gift.  I crocheted into the back of the stitch to give a ribbed effect - looks pretty neat, huh?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Teeny Tiny Beanie

There seems to be loads of women at my work who are pregnant at the moment.  And while I'm trying not to stand too close for fear that it is catching (joking), I am enjoying making all sorts of cute little gifts as their maternity leave time approaches.  This week another work friend of mine is off to have a little one, so I whipped up this tiny crochet beanie (gender neutral as I didn't know if it will be a boy or a girl).

I took the opportunity to try out making a fork pom pom.  This is a good technique to use for making very small pom poms.  This is how I did it:

Start with your yarn between the tines (spokes) of your fork and start to wind the yarn around.

Continue winding about 50 times.  Then tie a second piece of yarn tightly between your middle tines.

Slip the bundle off the end of the fork and cut the looped sides open.

You'll then have a flat pom pom.  Just roll it around in your hands to make it fluffy!

I still can't get over the size of newborn attire.  I always doubt that this could possibly fit on someone's head! But usually it ends up being too big.

Also, thanks everyone for your ethical fabric recommendations.  I have updated the link list on my blog (on the right side).  I also went and checked out all the links and now I have a terrible itch to go and buy new fabric!  Please keep your recommendations coming in for eco, fair-trade or otherwise ethical fabric so that I can continue to grow the list.