Make It Your Own

Make it unique. Make it yourself. Make it your own

Make your own t-shirt 29 May, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Travel,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 2:02 pm

Hi there and happy Tuesday

This week there have been happenings in the Adelaide yarnosphere and I’ll give you some tips on designing your own t-shirt.

On the weekend I did some woolly things with a woolly friend. My friend objected to being called woolly but we still had a nice time. First there was the Adelaide Hill Spinners and Weavers open day at the Littlehampton Hall. Represented were all the stages of wool to see and buy: fleeces, tops, sliver, yarn, dyes, wheels, and finished objects of the knitted, felted and woven kind. No actual sheep though. Oh well. Spinners and Weavers are very friendly people. I bought some grey English Leicester tops for spinning and some hand dyed wool. For the uninitiated, tops and sliver are wool that is washed and brushed and ready to spin. Too much wool is never enough.

Next on to Lobethal to see the Gumeracha spinners compete in the Back to Back Wool Challenge. All those years of living in the Adelaide Hills mean that I can drive from Littlehampton to Lobethal without really thinking and I know at least 5 different ways to do it. The Back to Back Wool Challenge is a competition where teams from around the world try to take the least time to get wool from a sheep’s back on to a person’s back in the form of a knitted jumper. The sheep must be hand shorn (no electric clippers), hand spun and hand knitted. Sheep are very patient creatures. Here is one being hand shorn the old fashioned way and some sweet-faced sheep.

Hand shearing



Well not quite make it but find a plain one and make it your own with your own design.

You will need a t-shirt of any colour, a colour photocopier, opaque iron on transfer paper (the kind that will transfer on to a dark coloured t-shirt), an iron, a picture or design of A4 size or smaller. Your design can be made with paint, pencil, pen, collage or any other medium as long as it is flat and can be copied. Iron on transfer paper can be bought at the larger stationary and office supply stores. It costs about $20 for 5 A4 sheets. If your designs are small, you can fit 2 on one sheet and save a little money.

First make your picture or design. Paint a picture, draw a logo, or write your business slogan in large letters. Make a design that is unique and sums you up or just something that the recipient of the t-shirt will like. Make sure the design fits on to an A4 sheet of paper.

Colour copy your design on to a sheet of plain white paper. How does it look? Will it fit on the t-shirt? When you are happy with the design, copy it on to the iron on transfer paper, following the instructions on the packet.

Transfer the design on to your t-shirt, following the packet instructions.

You now have your a personalised t-shirt. It doesn’t say anything you don’t want it to. In fact it says something about you and your t-shirt is unique. If you want to make more than one t-shirt the same, just copy the design on to another sheet of transfer paper. This is a very easy way to make a small number of t-shirts all the same and an easy way to advertise your business, promote your hobby or create a uniform for your team. I think it is an excellent way to create individual clothing on a budget.

On a white or pastel t-shirt you can also use clear transfers which are cheaper. The main drawback is that you must have a scanner to scan your design. Clear transfers are a little different and the design must be printed on in mirror image form. By using the opaque transfers, all you need is a copier (though you could still scan and then print your design on to the transfer paper) and they can be used on any colour background.

This could be a great activity for the kids in the holidays and if their designs are cute, the family could all receive a t-shirt for Christmas designed by the kids.

Here are a couple that I have been wearing.



We have been picking beans, lettuce, carrots and coriander. That’s about it at the moment. All the beans came out on the weekend and they are going to be replaced with spinach, baby broccoli and peas. The chickens continue to lay happily and their mobile house has been move on to a nice grassy patch. They are becoming more tame and actually let me pat them.


This week’s book review is The Backyard Permaculture Garden by Linda Woodrow. Go to the book reviews page to read it.

That’s it for this week. Next week: grow and make your own herbal tea. Remember to live your life and make it your own.



Hand Knitters’ Guild of SA 22 May, 2007

Filed under: knitting,Uncategorized — makeityourown @ 5:05 pm

Hi again,

Here is some info about the Hand Knitters’ Guild of SA. The guild meets on the first and third Saturdays of each month (except Dec and Jan) at 1-4pm at the Unley RSL on Arthur St, Unley. The first Saturday is a meeting for about an hour and then maybe a workshop or a guest speaker and then sitting around knitting and chatting. The third Saturday is a Knit and Natter. Each meeting costs $3 if you are a member and $4 if not and includes tea, coffee and biscuits. With your yearly membership of $25 ( I think) you get access to the small library, voting rights, newsletters and a 10% discount at the four Adelaide yarn stores. The Guild holds an exhibition every second year and usually has a display at the Quilt and Craft Fair in November. A lot of the members knit for charity and piles of knitted items get donated to the charity coordinator to distribute.

If you compare the SA Guild with other guilds around the nation and the world, the SA guild is more of a club or a social group of knitters. Someone will teach you to knit if you ask but there is no planned tuition course. There are some lovely people to talk to, some hidden talent, and a few creative souls amongst the pattern followers (I’m not knocking pattern followers, there is nothing wrong with that kind of knitting) but don’t expect a forward thinking, edgy, artistic group that will push your creative talent to new heights.

The fact that there is no website is kind of indicative of the kind of group this is. Add to that the fact that it was only last year that the newsletter started being produced on a computer instead of a typewriter and photocopier and you can see why some of us media savvy, hip, young (and not so young!) knitters get a little frustrated.

Don’t get me wrong and please don’t not join because the club (with all that boring constitution stuff) is a little last century. Getting together with other knitters is part of what makes knitting and crochet such great hobbies. Just don’t expect to find what you’d find in other guilds.

Hope that is helpful. Sarah.


Criminally Easy Felt 22/5

Filed under: Craft,knitting,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 9:35 am

Hi there. Wow it’s starting to feel like winter here. Today it will be 17 degrees maximum which doesn’t sound that cold but there is a chilly wind and it’s raining. Yesterday was the coldest day in 9 months. No doubt as the months go by it will get colder. Oh well; more time to stay indoors and do indoorsy type things like whipping up some felt and listening to podcasts.

THE EASIEST WAY TO MAKE FELT or what to do with an old jumper

God bless the person who invented washing machines. They wash our clothes without a fuss, spin wet pieces of knitting ready to block, and make felt-making easy. Don’t expect too much! If you want beautiful, artistic, picturesque felt, you’ll need to learn properly, use the right materials and use your hands. If you want utilitarian, strong, no-sore-arms felt, the washing machine is an excellent tool. Every house should have one! (I expect if you own a computer and read this blog, you have a washing machine, unless you are some kind of uber-greenie who runs the computer by wind generator and you hand wash your clothes in the nearest stream with soap-root extract.) Anyway…top loading washing machines are the best if you are felting a piece of knitting and need to keep checking it to see how much it has shrunk. We have a front loading machine because they use a lot less water so I don’t have the luxury of being able to open the machine and check my felt. However, my usual felting efforts involve taking a worn out wool jumper (or any garment really) and chucking it in the machine at 60 degrees and seeing what comes out at the end. Even wool that is supposedly machine washable will most likely felt at 60 degrees on a heavy cycle.

So…to get some nice firm felt that will be useful for sewing bags, toys, potholders, book covers, tea cosies and cushions, that will be very cheap and use up an unwanted or old knitted garment, follow these easy instructions

1. Put the knitted item (must be wool or nearly all wool) in the washing machine with the same amount of detergent as if you were going to wash the garment

2. Set the machine to a long, hot cycle and turn it on

3. Go out for an hour or two and buy some wool or plant some vegetables. If you are in a dry area, save the rinse water and put it on the garden. (Please don’t put the rinse water on your vegetables; fruit trees and shrubs are fine.)

4. Take your newly made felt out of the machine and let it dry flat

5. Cut the felt up however you choose and sew it into something beautiful or useful or both.

Here’s some I prepared earlier. The aran jumper made a wonderfully textured felt. I love it.

Old wool jumpers.

Jumpers ready to felt

And here is my freshly made felt, cut into pieces and ready to use.



Over the last few months I have become a podcast addict. I love them. For the uninitiated, a podcast is like a radio program on any number of topics that you can listen to on an mp3 player or on your computer. There is a list in the sidebar of the podcasts I subscribe to. If you are a knitter or crocheter or a doer of craft, the podcast is a wonderful way to keep your mind active while you work on the less interesting parts of your work. Podcasts make the time fly while you work stocking stitch in the round on 250 stitches for 100 rows. You will churn out knitting (or whatever you do) and improve your mind at the same time. I learn all sorts of things as I knit. Knitting podcasts will keep you inspired and science, history or news podcasts will keep you informed. You only have to listen to the topics you are interested in and you’ll never have to listen to excruciatingly annoying talk back radio for some company ever again.

I only listen to a few knitting podcasts, but others listen to as many as they can. Lots of people like the Lime and Violet podcast but I find them annoying. I prefer the dulcet tones and philosophy of David Reidy of Sticks and String podcast and the vibrant and interesting banter of Guido 2skiens Stein of It’s A Purl Man. To cater to the gardener and frustrated farmer in me, I love the Alternative Kitchen Garden and Geek Farm Life. AKG is narrated by a lady who sounds like she should be narrating a British kids’ cartoon. She’s bright and friendly and makes vegetable gardening sound like fabulous fun. GFL is about two computer geeks who bought a farm in Indiana and keep animals for wool, meat and eggs and do their best to be self-sufficient. They record the show live in their barn so you can hear the goat kids baa-ing and the turkeys gobbling in the background. Well, they are probably my four favourites but Dr Karl certainly deserves a mention. He does a science question and answer show each week on Triple J Radio and is full of amazing information on the human body, nature and the cosmos. Learn about the wonders of the universe as you knit or work. Cast On with Brenda Dane is very popular and deservedly so. My husband Matthew, being a computer programmer, quite likes the Java Posse and the IBM Developer Works Podcast. I don’t get most of it, but the Java Posse intro song is cute. I use i-Tunes to download podcasts (they have gazillions of them).

If you have an mp3 player of some sort or a computer (and if you have a washing machine and are reading this blog, lets assume you have a computer), listen to a podcast today while you do something. Keep your mind active and inspired; it’s good for you.

Pleeeeeeaaassseee leave me a comment. I like to know who reads my blog. Thanks to those who have commented. I appreciate you and like making new friends. I hope I’ve been teaching you new tricks and keeping you inspired to make your own stuff. Yeah, Yeah, I know, I haven’t done a book or yarn review this week. Aren’t some podcast reviews enough? Anyway I am coming down with the dreaded lurgy and need a little rest.



Projects 15/5 15 May, 2007

Filed under: knitting,Weekly useful stuff,Yarn reviews — makeityourown @ 8:58 am

Hi There. This week I’m going to show off a couple of projects as well as do the usual yarn review and book review. Not much gardening happening this week. Just a little harvesting and I sprayed my little snow pea plants with some bi-carb spray to ward off mildew. If you’re in temperate Australia now is a good time to plant the winter vegies such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, peas, snowpeas, leeks, onions and carrots. You’ll probably be able to grow some potatoes but only if you don’t get frost.

Did I manage to whip something up for my mother? Yes I did. I made a tea cosy which she rather liked. When I popped in to visit this morning they were just finishing breakfast and the teapot was dressed in it’s new outfit. It’s very gratifying when one’s gifts are appreciated and being used straight away. There is a photo and the pattern in the Free Patterns page so you can make one too. It’s pretty, one-size-fits-most and will use up some scraps of yarn.


I have just finished knitting “Ellen’s Stockings” from Folk Knitting in Estonia by Nancy Bush. They were fun to knit and I am wearing them as I type. Very comfortable. I changed the heel and the turning to fit me better because I have a large instep and prefer a rounded turning to the square kind she uses. In the photo you can also see some wool I hand spun from a packet of mixed roving.

Coming up next is a pair of socks in 20 different sock yarns. The Hand Knitters Guild of SA are having their 20th birthday soon and are having a competition to celebrate. The idea is to create something with a theme of “20”. My socks will include 20 socks yarns and have lots of “20’s” in the numbers of stitches. I’ll definitely post a picture when they are done. I only had 18 different sock yarns in my cupboard so I needed to go and buy more of course ; )

socks and yarn


Design It Yourself, Edited by Ellen Lupton. A fantastic, wonderful and amazingly useful resource. Go to the Book Reviews page to read the review.



Hand Painted 4 ply 100% Pure Fine Merino from The Knittery (100g, 450 metres)

I have just finished crocheting a large project for the next issue of Yarn Magazine in this yarn and I can truly say that it is divine. It is fine, smooth, light and very soft but still strong. (Does that sound like a toilet paper ad: Soft Yet Strong?). At 100g a skein, there is plenty to make a beautiful pair of socks and for a hand dyed yarn it is an excellent price: $20 a skein. Since it has no nylon in it, perhaps it is better suited to luxury socks (rather than ones you will regularly wear and then throw in the wash) and knitted at a firm tension. The colourways (all hand dyed to order) are gorgeous, from bright spring colours to muted pastels and deep tones. The colour “chocolate” really does look like chocolate! If you feel like a bit of cashmere in your socks, The Knittery also has all the same colours available in a wool/nylon/cashmere blend. Beautiful, beautiful yarn, the kind you want to rub against your cheek and squeeze in your hands. Click on the link in the side bar to see the full range and order on-line.

That’s it for this week’s news and reviews. Wherever you are, I hope it’s raining. (But not on Saturday, we’re going to a wedding.) Sarah.


Autumn 11 May, 2007

Filed under: Home cooking,knitting,Thoughts,Vegetable gardening — makeityourown @ 5:31 pm

Autumn is beautiful in Adelaide and Adelaide is beautiful in Autumn. The harshness is gone from the sun and it slants through the trees in a golden way, making the shadows long, even in the middle of the day. There is sweet dew on the ground each morning on the grass, which has become lush and green after being dry and crisp all summer. If you drive up into the hills the deciduous trees are gradually warming in colour and a frost will bring out their true Autumn hues. Many people have written poems about Autumn but they are usually from the Northern Hemisphere. In Australia it is a little different in that everything becomes green as the weather cools instead of the green growth of Spring after heavy frost and snow. Autumn days in Adelaide are mild and golden, the best for enjoying the great outdoors, or just sitting on a cane chair in the garden with a bit of knitting.


Here is a little harvest picked from the garden just a few minutes ago with eggs collected this morning and yesterday morning. This will be the basis of our dinner: omelette filled with young silverbeet, mint, basil and parsely and some beans and carrot on the side. All I’ll add is some cheese and a splash of milk in the omelette, a little oil and salt and pepper. It will be very fresh, very tasty and half the fun was wandering around the garden in the golden afternoon sun and picking everything. Ahhh, what a life.

Pick your own dinner

Autumn veg garden


A friend, Hoi, has asked me to apply my talents to his jumper. The ribbing is coming undone at the edges and it is too short, both in the body and the arms. Here is what I plan to do: snip a thread just above the ribbing, unravel that row and let the ribbing fall off; pick up the revealed stitches and knit a little pattern or a stripe in some complementary yarn for a few centimetres; work a new section of ribbing; cast off; give it back to Hoi and hope he approves of my colour choices. I bought the wool today. The lady in the yarn store (the Needle Nook) found a murky green colour for me. There is no green in the jumper (it is grey, grey-blue and cream) but the green looks great so I am going to add that in with some grey and cream.

Hoi’s jumper


I have decided to whip up a little something for my Mum to give her on Sunday. That gives me tonight, tomorrow morning and Sunday morning to do it as we have other things to do on Sat afternoon/evening. Can I do it? We’ll see. I’d better shut up and go start.

To everyone who wants kids but can’t, has lost their Mum or kids, don’t get along with their Mum or kids or is far away from their Mum or kids…I hope you survive Mothers’ Day; it’s not always a happy day.

To everyone else…have a nice day on Sunday. A special hello to Mum (mother), Mum (mother-in-law), Kath (step-mother) and Celia (aunt who I lived with who almost considers me one of her children).


Gentle Pullets 8/5 8 May, 2007

Filed under: Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 9:39 am

Hi there and Happy Tuesday. This week: chickens and Breeze yarn. Thanks to those who left comments. If you visit my blog and haven’t commented, please leave one; it would make me very happy.

We have six lovely New England pullets (also known as point of lay hens). We bought them just before Easter for $13 each and 2 of them have finally decided to lay. When you buy point of lay hens you usually expect them to start laying within a week or two. I guess these were still a bit young. Pullets lay tiny eggs, like Bantam eggs. I don’t mind, I’m just pleased they’ve finally started. We have two geriatrics in a different area of the garden and one of them is laying sporadically. Eight chickens and only an egg every second day is not enough! New England chickens are medium brown with a collar of lighter feathers. As they grow, their combs will grow too and become dark red. They coo and cluck and gently scratch around, stretching their wings occasionally.


We’ve kept chickens for about six years and they are very rewarding. The obvious benefit is the eggs, beautiful, deep yellow, fresh, delectable, untainted eggs. Nothing you buy can compare to a fresh homegrown egg and a perfect fried egg next to some good bacon is food made in Heaven. If you are into poaching eggs (I am), fresh is best and I mean laid a few hours ago. Chicken manure is very good for the garden. They eat all your left over food and scraps. Don’t underestimate how useful this is. You need never feel guilty about wasting food again; just give it to the chickens and convert it into eggs. They’ll eat most things and what they don’t eat will turn into compost on the ground. Chickens make nice pets. Ours are probably closer to livestock than pets to us but I still enjoy talking to them and hearing their soothing gentle clucking in response.

Even one or two will fit into most backyards and they are not expensive to feed; definitely cheaper than your average cat or dog. They need to be enclosed if you have a garden, have ready access to water and shelter, a comfortable, cosy place to lay and, of course food, every day. They also like mulch, pea straw or shredded paper to scratch around in to keep themselves entertained. Get some, man!


If you don’t like them. If you can’t be around to feed them everyday (missing a day here and there won’t hurt them but you wouldn’t want to do it regularly). If you don’t eat eggs. If you live in an apartment (well, duh).



Breeze by Heirloom, 30% wool, 69.6% cotton, 0.4% lycra, 50g, 95 metres.

Heirloom Breeze

Breeze is a very comfortable yarn to wear and and is enjoyable to knit with. I have knitted a pair of socks with it and they have the comfort and feel of a pair of cushioned sport socks. The high percentage of cotton makes for a cool garment, the wool counteracts the heaviness of cotton and the lycra gives elasticity, which is usually lacking in cotton. From others who have used this yarn, I hear that it lasts very well, especially if hand washed. It knits up to the same tension as an 8 ply so you could substitute it for other yarns easily enough. Because of its lightness and bounce, you should have no worries substituting it for pure wool and you will end up with a cooler garment (if that is what you prefer). There is an extensive range of colours and it retails for around $5.50. Excellent for cushiony socks, summer and mid season garments, garments for warm climates and baby gear.

Sorry: no book review this week. No excuse, I’m just lazy.

Tune in next week when I’ll probably be showing the fixing and altering of a friend’s woolly jumper and maybe some of the things I’m working on. Plus a book review and maybe a yarn review and maybe a podcast review and maybe…we’ll see.

Have a good week. Sarah.


Dishcloths and beans 1/5 1 May, 2007

Filed under: Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 8:53 am

Hello there,

As you can see from the title, this week I’m talking about dishcloths and beans. An odd combination I know but that’s what I’ve been thinking about and who can fathom the way the human brain works?


200 Crochet Blocks for blankets, throws and afghans by Jan Eaton. Go to the Book Reviews page to read it.

Sorry, no yarn review this week. Selby was taking a bath.

Selby in the bath


What is so amazing about a bloomin’ dishcloth?? And why on earth would you want to make one yourself when you can go the supermarket and get a pack of Chux or sponges for a couple of bucks? Am I taking the do-it-yourself thing a bit far? Actually, they have many, many redeeming qualities and there are very good reasons why you should bother to knit or crochet dishcloths.

1. If they are made from 100% cotton, you can wash them in very hot water to kill germs

2. You can wring the guts out of them after use and hang them on the tap to dry. They dry quickly and so germs can’t grow (germs like soggy sponges)

3. You can wash them in the washing machine over and over and over again and they will still look good

4. They last a very long time and so produce less waste than sponges or cloths that you need to throw away

5. When made using a textured stitch, the bumps on them help remove grime

6. They are very absorbent

7. They are much, much prettier than anything you can buy

8. You can make them to match your kitchen decor

9. They are very cheap, satisfying projects

10. If you don’t know how to knit or crochet, they are an excellent way to start, being very simple to make

Well, I hope I have convinced you to make at least one dishcloth. The best way to do it though is to have stack of them. I currently have three in rotation; one being used, one in the wash and one in the drawer. I would rather have more. Now that the four below have been photographed, I can add them to the pile.

Go to the Patterns page for 4 different dishcloth patterns and suggested yarns. Or ignore me and just make a bordered square. It’s not rocket science.


beansJust thought I’d give you a photo of some beans I picked on Thursday. Partly to inspire you to grow some and partly to make you envious that we have beautiful beans and they are $8 a kilo in the shops. Ha ha.

Beans (both the dwarf and climbing varieties) don’t like it too hot or too cold so they are best grown in Autumn and Spring if you live in a temperate or Mediterranean climate. In late summer I poked some dwarf bean seeds in around my other summer veg. When the summer veg had finished and were pulled out, the beans were growing nicely. They produced very little until the weather cooled a little in April. I’m hoping they continue until June but that will only happen if there is no frost. I’ll put some more seed in in late Winter around the cabbages and caulis.

That’s is for this week. Get up off your couch and make something this week! Or at least read a good book. Sarah.