Make It Your Own

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

A short post for a sunny day 24 July, 2007

Filed under: Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 10:29 am


I don’t really have a lot to talk about this week. Since it is a very sunny and beautiful day I don’t want to stay indoors and write book or yarn reviews. I’d rather get on top of the pruning before the plants start to put on their spring growth and perhaps do a little knitting in the sun. The recent rain has made our weeds very lush and green and healthy and they are getting a bit big for their boots. Little do they know they are about to reach the end of their lives. Lots of them came out on the weekend and more are coming out today. Die, weeds, die, ha ha ha (evil laugh).

I do have another left over sock wool pattern though. It’s quick, easy and uses about 25g of sock wool. Have a look at the Free Patterns page.

Thanks to everyone who has left comments over the last few weeks. I love comments! Keep them coming. Antia – I’m not sure what you mean by a tea cosy that’s darned inside. Perhaps you have a picture? Vellan – you said you are envious of my potatoes. Well I’m envious that you can grow cherries where you are. It’s too hot here on the plains. Go on, plant that cherry tree.

A while ago I mentioned that I had joined the Spinners and Weavers Guild. I went twice but it is so cold in the old hall where they meet that I’ve decided not to go again until the weather warms up. Last time I went my hands got so cold that I was hard to make the wool do what I wanted it to. In the mean time I will spin at home, where it is warm and where hot drinks are easily made.

For those interested, the Mt Pleasant Wool and Fibre Festival is coming up. It will be on Sat 11th August in the Mt Pleasant Soldiers Memorial Hall from 10am to 4pm. I’m planning to go. Mt Pleasant is a very pleasant place (well duh). The drive there from Adelaide is equally lovely and less than an hour from the city. Why not go for a drive and take a picnic? If you go up via Gorge Rd, you’ll drive alongside the Torrens River which is very pretty and you’ll drive through Cudlee Creek, Gumeracha and Birdwood, all of which are classic Adelaide Hills towns. (For those not from around here, Birdwood is the home of Australia’s National Motor Museum. If you are into vehicles of any description, you’ll enjoy it.)

I’m going to enjoy this rare bit of warm sun and soak it up before it gets cold, wet and grey again.



Left Overs Socks 16 July, 2007

Filed under: knitting,Vegetable gardening,Weekly useful stuff — makeityourown @ 11:35 am

BEFORE I BEGIN…DON’T FORGET that this Saturday 21st July is the Hand Knitters Guild Trash and Treasure sale and I’ll be selling my hand dyed yarn and hand made tea cosies and some gorgeous cupcakes. So if you live in Adelaide (or even if you don’t) come along and buy something or at least come and have a look. The sale will be in the Unley RSL hall on Arthur St Unley from 10am to 4pm.

OK, now that I have that out of the way…this week I’ll describe and give the pattern for my left overs socks, show off some of our potato crop and explain how to grow them.


I love making things out of left overs. A long time ago I had a pair of patchwork trousers made out of fabric samples and last year I had a pattern in Yarn magazine for a jumper made out of a bag of assorted acrylic yarn from my Auntie’s shed. I’ve made lots of socks over the last few years and have plenty of left overs and some unused sock yarn. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a pair of socks from left over sock yarn for a while now and the Hand Knitters Guild “20” competition gave me the push I needed to make a start. (The Guild will be turning 20 in a few months and to celebrate there is competition for knitted creations with a theme of “20”.)

Waste not, want not…don’t let your left over sock wool go to waste.

Left Overs Socks

If you want the pattern, go the Free Patterns Page.


We find that in Adelaide’s Mediterranean climate we can grow potatoes almost all year round. They are generally considered a mid-season crop, grown in autumn and spring, and dislike very hot and very cold weather, especially hard frost. In our backyard, we grow them whenever we feel like it excepting mid summer. We have had some very cold temperatures over night lately, such as 0 and 2 degrees but our potatoes have not suffered. In fact, one of the plants in a raised bed was ready so we dug it up and found heaps of beautiful kipfler potatoes. We always forget which varieties we plant where and so we usually get a surprise when we dig them.

kipfler potatoes


Potatoes are pretty easy to grow. They like plenty of sun, water and food to produce a good crop. To start, all you need to do is put a small potato in the ground. Dig a hole about 20cm deep, put a potato in the hole and cover it with some compost to about 10cm. Water it and wait for it to grow. When the leaves are just above ground level, fill in the hole with some more compost. Water it regularly but don’t drown it; the soil should be damp, not wet or dry. When the plant is about 30cm above the ground pile lots of mulch and compost around it up to the top 10cm of the plant. Keep watering it and feed it if you think it needs it. As the plant grows, keep piling up the mulch and compost around it. After 2-3 months the plant will flower and then start to get brown and dry and it will look like it is dying. When it looks dead and shrivelled, your potatoes are ready. Dig up the plant and you’ll find several potatoes around the base of the plant. Since they send roots out to the side, dig around the plant as well to find any more potatoes. Put the potatoes in a dry place out doors for several hours, but not in direct sun, to let them dry and harden slightly. After this, store them in a cool, dark, dry place. You can plant a potato that you buy in a grocery shop or you can buy seed potatoes from a garden supplier. I’ve done both and both work just as well as the other. It is better not to plant a potato that you have grown yourself because diseases can build up in your plants over a couple of generations.

Why all the piling up of mulch and compost? The compost is partly to feed the plant but mostly the piling up is done so that no light can get to the forming potatoes and turn them green and poisonous and so that more potatoes can be formed on the stems that are covered up.

If you want baby new potatoes with tender skin, pick your potatoes when the plant is flowering. You can easily rummage around the base of the plant and pick a couple of new potatoes as you want them too.

Why bother growing potatoes when they are so cheap at the supermarket? Commercially grown potatoes have more chemicals used to grow them than any other vegetable. The ground is sprayed even before they are planted and they are frequently sprayed with chemicals and fed chemical fertilizer during growing. Homegrown potatoes taste fantastic. They are less watery and starchy than those commercially grown and have a wonderful rich texture. They taste like a potato should and are great to cook with. You can taste the difference between the different varieties too. When you pick them, it is like finding buried treasure and kind of exciting (I know, small things amuse small minds, but I like to think of it as a simple pleasure).

Potato plant

NOW IS A GOOD TIME TO PLANT…lettuces. Lettuces like cooler temperatures. Plant some seedlings now for salads in spring.

Lettuce seedlings

That’ll do for this week. Stay warm (or cool if you live in the north).


Beanies!!! and another felt project 10 July, 2007

Filed under: Craft,Home cooking,Travel,Uncategorized — makeityourown @ 11:35 am

Hey everybody, it’s Tuesday again. Sorry for not posting last week. We were in Alice Springs enjoying the exceedingly warm weather and the exceedingly good Alice Springs Beanie Festival.

This week I’ll report on the Beanie festivities, review The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook and give you another project to make with the felted wool jumper. At the risk of indulging in self-congratulation, I’ll show off my cupcakes too.


For the uninitiated, the ASBF is a celebration of the outbacks’ favourite garment, the beanie. You may not think that you’d need a warm hat in the middle of Australia where it is nearly always sunny, but believe me, it gets very cold at night. Artists and crafters from around Australia and the world, including indigenous artists, send in their handmade beanies and hand spun wool to be sold. Over four days the beanies are sold to whoever comes to buy them. This year over 4700 beanies were submitted and over 3000 were sold. Aside from the mayhem of the beanie selling, there is also a competition for the most artistic head gear, with a different theme each year. There is also a tea shop selling soup, toasted sandwiches and divine cakes, all made by locals. All the workers are volunteers.

Matthew and I had a great time. We travelled up on the train in a sleeper cabin and I found a fellow knitter and festival volunteer to knit with. We volunteered, ate too much cake at the tea shop, I did two classes, tried on numerous beanies and generally imbibed the good vibes and bright colours. I came fifth in the world’s fastest beanie maker competition. Maybe next year I’ll do better.

Here are some photos to whet your appetite for next year…

Possum beanie


Above are some of the beanies just before the hoards came to buy them. Within 15 minutes of opening, you could bare move in there.


Here’s another project for using a felted jumper. If you’ve just joined us, put an old woollen jumper in the washing machine, set it to hot, put some detergent in and turn the machine on. When it is finished you’ll have some felt in the shape of a jumper that you can cut up and use for various projects. A few weeks ago I gave instructions for making a tea cosy. This week’s project is coasters. They are good for using up the smaller pieces of felt such as the sleeves or other leftovers and they are very easy. So easy in fact that I barely need to write instructions.

1. Cut a piece of felt about 8cm square. Round off the corners.

2. With some pretty yarn or thread and a needle, work a row of blanket stitch around the edge.

3. Sew some beads on to the corners.

4. Make as many as you want. If they are for a gift, tie up a group of them with more of the yarn used for the edging.

Easy peasy, hey?



My dear cousin gave me a wonderful cupcake book for my birthday along with some sugar flowers and cashous. I had a few hours of fun on Saturday afternoon and the family dropped in to enjoy the results. Making your own food to share is a brilliant way to reinforce family and friend relationships. Putting some love into the preparations shows how much you care and anyway, decorating cupcakes is excellent fun. Even if you don’t have a dedicated cupcake recipe book, most general cook books will have a cake recipe and an icing recipe. Then you can go crazy with food colouring, a piping bag and decorations.


THIS WEEK’S BOOK REVIEW IS The Crabapple Bakery Cupcake Cookbook. Go to the book reviews page to read it.


On the 21st July the Hand Knitters Guild of SA will be having a Trash and Treasure Sale at the Unley RSL, Arthur St Unley (behind the Unley Shopping Centre), from 10-4pm. I’ll be having a stall selling hand dyed yarn, tea cosies and maybe even some cupcakes. Others will be selling knitting and bric a brac.

I’m off to the Central Market now. It’s far too cold to go on my electric bike so I think I’ll go on the tram. Our car is sick which is a big pain since I have places to go.

Bye for now. Sarah.