The BEST Swing Set in the World

cow

On our way home from Toowoomba and the very epic Easterfest, we had a few adventures ūüėČ

dino

The first was finding a crazy dinosaur on the side of the road. ¬†I can’t remember what small little town it was but we decided to stop the car, turn around and all get out for a few photos ūüėÄ

nundle

Secondly, we visited the Nundle Woollen Mill. ¬†Nundle is a small little country town about an hour out of Tamworth (think Golden Guitar and Keith Urban) and about 5 hours drive from Sydney. ¬†I was positively beside myself with glee at this little adventure and couldn’t wait to get there.

The mill itself is set back from the road a bit and there is off road parking, however Nundle is such a quiet town that parking on the street is no drama.  Outside is a lovely place to picnic, there are a few tables around and some trees to shelter under away from the hot Australian sun.

mill outside

Inside is knitters heaven! ¬†When you walk in the door you are immediately in the shop. ¬†On the left hand side is yarn, lots and lots of Nundle yarn that has been spun on the premises (and possibly some Noro). ¬†There are lots of colours to choose from and a few different weights and blends. ¬†There was also a beautiful display of Art Viva knitting needles, made from Tasmanian oak in Tasmania (ok, they were arranged in a tin bucket but that doesn’t sound as nice “display”)

The night before we went to Nundle I sat with my phone trying to decide on what pattern to buy yarn for, I was thinking of knitting up a cardigan, but when I got to the mill I realised that I would need around 1000 yards of yarn and that seemed to be a bit too much for my bank balance. ¬†So I settled on the Hopsalots slippers by Tiny Owl Knits. ¬†I came across this pattern a week or so before we left on our adventure and was totally in love with the idea of knitting and then felting slippers – something that I haven’t tried before. ¬†The only thing that concerned me that there was no mobile phone coverage in Nundle and I couldn’t access ravelry to find out how much yardage I needed.

On the right hand side of the store were a range of clothes, socks, locally knit scarves – I didn’t pay a great deal of attention to these as I was there for the yarn, not the already made goods. ¬†At the back of the store was a door that lead through to mill viewing area. ¬†Essentially the mill is a 2 storey building, with the shop and the viewing area both being on the top floor. ¬†Unfortunately I think everyone was out at lunch so I didn’t get to see the mill in action, BUT just seeing the machinery pretty much put my excitement levels into overdrive and I almost cried (I’m an emotional being). ¬†There was also more yarn, a lounge to relax (and possibly knit) on, more clothing items, Ugg boots, lots of different books for both knitting and crochet, and a basket on a table full of beautiful ready to spin braids that have been dyed locally.

lunch

After settling the kids down outside for lunch (they were going a little silly in the mill) I went back in to make a decision about my purchases. ¬†That wasn’t easy. ¬†In the end I settled on 4 balls of the 100% Merino 8ply in hot pink, perfect for felting (and if you’re wondering, my guess about yardage was spot on ūüėÄ ). ¬†When I got to the counter I asked the lady a few questions, trying to suss out if the yarn was completely 100% Australian, and happily it is (the ball band even has the Australian Made symbol on it). ¬†Although that’s not true of all the yarns available from Nundle, it was for this one and I walked out of the store so happy to not only be supporting the Nundle Woollen Mill, but supporting the Victorian processing plant and the hard working Aussie wool growers.

goodies

By the time I had finished my rather large family had moved from under the tree where they were enjoying their lunch to the playground that sits just to the side of the mill.  For such a small town it was one of the best playgrounds I have come across, with a cubby house, slide, swing set, and other various climbing on and over things.  It was great and the kids were having such a ball, it was hard to get them back in the car.

cubby

The entire playground had a farm/ yarn theme, which for a fibre enthusiast left me wanting to play too. ¬†Above and beyond all the sheepy and farm¬†inspired¬†equipment, there was one thing that stood out from the rest…

needle

 

A swing set, made of knitting needles and yarn :p

swing

 

Wish I could have one in my backyard!

If you’re ever in Tamworth, make sure you take a trip out to Nundle, it’s totally worth it.

Have you ever seen a knitting themed playground? ¬†If so, where? ¬†I’d love to see it – even if they are only pictures ūüėÄ .

Christy

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Route 86

strangling

About a month ago the local Christian radio station that we listen to, Hope 103.2, was running a competition for tickets to Easterfest, Toowoomba. ¬†Easterfest is a Christian music festival that’s held in Toowoomba, Queensland and has been going for the last 13 years. ¬†I registered my name, not thinking that I would win. ¬†I wrote on the cow blackboard (yes, I have a blackboard in the shape of a cow) that is hung near our kitchen what I needed to say just in case the radio station rang me. ¬†I never thought that I’d win.

Easterfest 2013 005

Day 1 of the competition, I listened as I organised my kids out the door, no phone call.

Easterfest 2013 009

Day 2 of the competition, the older 3 had just left for school and G was nagging me to put the tv on. ¬†I walked over to the radio to turn it off and they had just started the call out. ¬†The phone rang on the radio and my heart dropped a little in disappointment, the phone continued to ring and eventually the broadcasters cut the call and started on call #2. ¬†Again, the phone rang out and as the presenters were discussing the possibility of no one answering their phones that morning, my phone began to ring. ¬†I quickly picked up the phone and said very timidly (just in case it was someone else) “Hope 103.2 send me to Easterfest”. ¬†I instantly heard cheering on the other end of the line. ¬†I won, I won a family pass to Easterfest 2013 with a premium upgrade. ¬†I honestly couldn’t believe it!

flat

The next few hours were spent in a flurry of activity as I tried desperately to find¬†accommodation for a family of 7¬†in the already packed to the rafters city of Toowoomba. ¬†Finally – after a few tears – found accommodation in Postman’s Ridge, about a 15 minute drive out of Toowoomba, down in the Lockyer Valley (yeah, you read right, the place that had all that flooding, although I didn’t realise that until we were there). ¬†I was quite hesitant when I rang Six Mile Country, the camping ground that amazingly enough had cabins big enough for my family, I wasn’t expecting them to have any spots left, so I was beyond pleasantly surprised when she said that the 8 berth cabin was available. ¬†And the price, oh my, so affordable, especially in comparison to what we would have paid if we’d stayed in a motel. ¬†After that it was easy to find accommodation on the road to and from Toowoomba – for those playing along at home, it’s about a 12 hour trip from the Blue Mountains in NSW (where I am) to Toowoomba, QLD (where we were going). ¬†I guess if the kids were older we could probably have done the trip in 1 day (and to my darling husband, I don’t think I will be ever up for trying that!) but 5 -6 hours in the car is not fun, especially for the kids. ¬†Plus with all the toilet and food stops it generally ends up being a lot longer than what we expect.

Easterfest 2013 018

It wasn’t until the week before we were supposed to leave it hit me that we were going away for almost a full week and then the pressure was on to get all the washing done, dry and folded, ready to pack. ¬†What I accomplished in that week still astounds me, especially considering that I still managed to blog and get some knitting done in that time :p .

eyes

There were moments on our journey that we both wondered what we were up to (me more than Mr HKWT, seeing as I won the tickets and he was only along for the ride) especially once we got to the camp ground.  There were only 2 showers and 2 toilets for all the people camping, and while that was fine on Thursday night/ Good Friday morning, by the time Friday afternoon rolled around and all the other guests had arrived, that was a lot of people using only a few facilities.  And folks, this may come as a surprise to all of you, but I am no camper!  I found the whole sharing amenities a little confronting Рbut for the sake of my personal hygiene I did get over it :p .

elmo

But in the end it was more than worth it and I would do it all again in a heartbeat. ¬†The people in the caravan/ tent set up across from us were also going to Easterfest and their daughters played so nicely with my kids. ¬†They were also kind enough to lend us their GPS so we could find Queens Park (which really wasn’t that difficult to find) and told us where the “secret” parking was – aka free parking.

spider

There was a dedicated kids programme run by Scripture Union Queensland. ¬†While Mr HKWT and I were rather tied to that particular area due to needing to supervise our children, the kids had a ball. ¬†There was phenomenal face painting, a jumping castle thingy, a ball pit, a petting zoo full of little farm animals including the cutest tiny little piglets, games, activities galore, a sand pit, colouring in, a circus school – not once did I hear the word “bored” in the whole 3 days. ¬†The kids had a blast! ¬†And Mr HKWT and I did manage to get out individually to see some of the other things that were happening around Easterfest, plus drink some of the best coffee I have ever EVER tasted!

flowers

Saturday was the epoch of the weekend for me and will probably go down in history as one of the best days of my life! ¬†In an amazing twist of fate (sometimes having kids has it’s bonuses beyond the love, cuddles and kisses) I managed to not only meet the guys from NewWorldSon but I also had my picture taken with them, all the while listening to Audio Adrenaline, who were just over the fence, sound check. ¬†Then I had my Audio Adrenaline cd – Under Dog – signed by Audio A. ¬†That cd is now priceless! ¬†To top off an awesome day, Saturday night was spent singing and grooving along at the Audio Adrenaline concert headed up by their new front man, K Max, originally from DC Talk. ¬†E. P. I. C! ¬†Now I know the vast majority of you will be wondering who I’m talking about and if you ever walked past any of these fellas you wouldn’t even bat an eyelid and that’s ok. ¬†It was my epoch, my day to savour, my weekend to be forever thankful for, a memory that will always bring a smile to my face (especially after being told by 2 of the artists that I admire so deeply that I was wearing a cool t shirt) – and yes, I’m still smiling now, almost a full week later at the joy that weekend bought me.

NWSI’m the one in the middle that’s smiling so hard her face is about to explode :p

What did you get up to over Easter?

Christy ūüėÄ

Dawn

This morning Sunny was awake at about 5am and wasn’t willing to go back to sleep. ¬†After spending 40 minutes trying to encourage her to go back to sleep with no luck I decided to get up. ¬†I’m generally not a morning person, but I really wish I was and I think (as much as I don’t do New Year Resolutions) that I will make it my goal for this year. ¬†There is something so peaceful and beautiful about that stillness and quiet of the early morning. ¬†Before the hustle and bustle begins, before the noise of the kids and the tv or radio. ¬†It’s a great time for contemplation and letting my brain wake up slowly, instead of the usual “hitting the floor running” start to my day. ¬†It’s also a great time to blog without the distractions of the kids or the other day to day stuff (except I do have Sunny Girl on my lap trying to help me type).

Last post I promised to tell you what I book I picked up on my visit to Canberra and the yarn I bought with my Christmas money. ¬†I love Canberra, I especially love shopping in Canberra (not that I get to do that very often). ¬†The Canberra Centre (where Mr HKWT and I visited Christmas Eve) has a T2 store, something that I don’t have locally, so that was one of my first stops. ¬†Then on to Dymocks to pick up our nephew’s Christmas present – I think it’s hysterical that we travelled all the way from Sydney for a book :p. ¬†Of course, being book lovers Mr HKWT and I started off by browsing through the shop before getting the book we had on hold. ¬†I headed straight to the crafting section and I was pleasantly surprised by the range of knitting books on offer. ¬†I was looking through one of them when Mr HKWT walked up to me and told me that he was leaving the store (Sunny Girl was not enjoying the book shop) and that I could buy the book. ¬†As he walked away and I put the book back on the shelf I noticed another knitting book, Socktopus by Alice Yu.

I immediately picked it up as it’s a book that’s been on my wishlist for a little while. ¬†I started flicking through and thought to myself that I didn’t need another book, that was until I noticed all the new techniques that I could learn from the book. ¬†Seeing as Mr HKWT had already said I could buy the other book I had been looking at, I figured I was allowed to substitute Socktopus for the other one. ¬†There are a few patterns in the book that I’m really keen to knit, the first one being V Junkie. ¬†There’s something about those “cells” that get my sock knitting mojo back, something that seems to have disappeared after starting Cookie A’s Pomotamus.

When we opened Christmas presents after church and I was given some money from my MIL I immediately decided to put it towards a skein of sock yarn. ¬†I spent some time looking on etsy at hand dyed yarns but couldn’t find anything that I really wanted to work with. ¬†Then I remembered The House of Wool, a tiny little LYS that opened up in Blackheath late last year. ¬†They’re only open Friday – Sunday and have a very limited range (which is growing) but they do specialise in Aussie hand dyed yarns. ¬†Sunday my M.I.A and I went on a trip up the mountain and I got a skein of sock yarn from Hawthorne Cottage Yarns, a Victorian based indie dyer.

It’s a lovely variegated red with just a touch of purple (which you can’t see in this pic). ¬†I’ve nicknamed it Sangria considering there is no name on the band, just a number. ¬†I think it’s going to look pretty good worked up the V Junkie pattern which I’m super keen to start but I’m resisting temptation and trying to get through some of the other projects I’ve got on the needles (let’s see how long that lasts :p).

I also picked up 2 pairs of kids knitting needles at The House of Wool. ¬†Both my girls have expressed a desire to learn to knit, so of course they need their own needles. ¬†Finding 2 pairs of the kids size needles was a bit of a boon and I let M.I.A choose a set for her and her sister. ¬†I’m looking forward to teaching them but at the same time I’m a little bit apprehensive as I know I’m not the most patient person in the world. ¬†Any tips would be appreciated.

One of my favourite things about Canberra is the sunsets. ¬†So I will say good bye for this week and leave you with a photo I took from my brother-in-law’s front verandah on Christmas Eve ‚ô•

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I have a confession to make, I’m a bit of a Christmas Grinch. ¬†There’s many reasons for this, all of which I won’t bore you with, but put simply I don’t like Christmas very much. ¬†Well, I usually don’t like Christmas very much but this year I actually looked forward to it. ¬†I didn’t get into the Christmas carols very much (I never really do) but I didn’t approach the season with the same sense of loathing I generally feel. ¬†Maybe it’s because it sneaked up on me a little, or maybe it’s because we were spending Christmas with people that I really like…. or maybe it was a combination of both. ¬†Anyway, needless to say I actually really really enjoyed my Christmas this year. ¬†Mr HKWT and I even went shopping on Christmas Eve (with only 1 child) and the shops weren’t crazy (and I got some great stuff for me :p).

Christmas Day was¬†jam¬†packed with loads of presents for the kids (too much I think, too much remarked my 12 year old nephew and even the mother in law – who was concerned we couldn’t get it all home, not enough said my 4 year old), amazing food, great company and my Gingerbread House which has become a tradition in our house ‚ô•. ¬†Even the weather was pleasant. ¬†Not too hot which is always a¬†nice surprise.

I think the highlight of my Christmas Day was the gift my sister-in-law made for my Sunny Girl. ¬†She is by far the best sister in law ever! ¬†She’s creative and generous, she’s an amazing artist and an excellent cook. ¬†I always love visiting their place as I know I will always be fed well and my children are loved like they are my brother in law and sister in laws own. ¬†When my husband opened the present and showed me the hat (the little sunshine is a badge that we can reuse on all other future hats) it quite literally made me teary. ¬†It is the most thoughtful and beautiful gift ‚ô•

The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People was burning a hole in my knitting bag so I gave it to my niece as an early birthday present.  She loves it and it went so nicely with what she was wearing (still too hot for wearing too much wool though).  I hope she gets a lot of wear out of it in the coming cooler months.  I have plans to make a cuffie with the left over yarn, I started on a design that I had in my head, but it needs some tweaking and a smaller needle, so I ripped it out and bought the yarn back home (do any knitters take all their needles with them when they go away?).

I finished Mud Puddles. ¬†I didn’t have the right needle for the bottom edge so I continued with the 4mm and I think it looks fine. ¬†Now I’m just waiting for the buttons to arrive. ¬†Shortly after I finished that (and tinkered around with the cuffie) I started on J.J’s Artichaut. ¬†I’m trying out the seamless version. ¬†Now that I’ve made one I understand the instructions and know what I’m doing, when I started the first one the instructions for the seamless version was like reading another language. ¬†J.J is thrilled to bits that I’ve started on hers, I gave her the option of the seed stitch pattern or just a plain version. ¬†After staring at her sister’s for a while she settled on the seed stitch pattern. ¬†I’m not so sure about it but if that’s what she wants that’s what I’ll knit for her.

M.I.A took every opportunity while we were away to wear hers and I couldn’t be more thrilled with her showing it off ‚ô•. ¬†If anything, seeing how good it looked on her made me want to knit another one more than ever. ¬†I’m happy to be knitting J.J’s and hope that it looks as good as the first one once complete.

I also started the Aestlight Shawl but being too pedantic for my own good I ripped the whole thing out last night and started again. ¬†It’s a long story, but in order to give some explanation for such a rash decision (I’d almost finished the garter triangle), one of the loops along the edge was sitting differently to the others. ¬†I noticed this as we were driving home from our visit to Canberra, I ummed and ahhed over it for a few moments (it was quite a few rows back) and then decided to not worry about it. ¬†When we stopped for afternoon tea I mentioned it to my husband, within a few seconds of looking at my work he pointed and said “It’s there isn’t it?”. ¬†That made the decision for me, I ripped it back and picked up the stitches but since then there have been loose stitches all over the place and I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. ¬†Last night I made the decision that I couldn’t live with those mistakes and started again. ¬†I’m happy with the decision and I guess that’s the main thing.

I’ll be back by the end of the week with a new book I picked up and some yummy yarn that I got for Christmas (ok, I was given the money and then I went and chose the yarn….. I doubt my MIL ever expected me to spend it on yarn :p) to show you.

How was your Christmas?

Surprise!

This is intended to be a very quick post. ¬†I finished the Sunlight Shawl for Sad People and wanted to let you all know. ¬†I’m so happy that’s it done. ¬†The ending was a little tragic due to not knowing how much yarn it would take to do the picot bind off. ¬†I started and realised (among other things) that I didn’t have enough yarn, so I ripped it back and started again. ¬†Now that it’s finished I can see I could have knit a few more rows. ¬†But, on the upside I have enough yarn left over to make a little cuffie.

Giving it a severe blocking to :p

 

I’m a little concerned as the colours seem to have faded a bit during soaking but from the pic it looks ok (the water in the bucket is a really lovely plum). ¬†I’ve blocked it out rather firmly, stretching it out as much as I could. ¬†I can’t wait to see how it looks and drapes once it’s dry.

I’m also very very excited because I started Aestlight last night. ¬†It’s my Christmas present to myself, ha! ¬†I was organising my knitting for our Christmas break (I’m seeing the MIL and she always seems displeased with my knitting – so I have to seriously plan what I’m knitting in order to not heap condemnation on my head) and decided that I could afford to start Aestlight considering that the Sunlight Shawl is finished. ¬†The plan is to knit Aestlight whilst travelling and when MIL is otherwise occupied. ¬†At all other times I will be working on Mud Puddles and I have packed the yarn to start J.J’s Artichaut (which she is very happy about).

So in love!

I’ve admired Gudrun Johnston’s work from afar for a very long time and had at least one of her designs in my rav queue for the last few years (pretty much ever since I discovered knitty and ravelry that top has been in my queue). ¬†It’s so exciting to be finally working on something by one of my favourite designers :D.

From my somewhat crazy and very wonderful family to yours, a very happy, merry and wonderful Christmas.

Have a goggling good time :p

Christy

xo