I’m terrible at sitting still… outstandingly so. So what to do while on holidays?

Clearly packing my sewing machine to go overseas was not an option (remember all that fabric?), I packed my knitting needles instead. For those of you concerned about getting through international security with knitting needles, don’t be. I got them through security in my hand luggage in Sydney, Dubai, London, Paris, Madrid and Singapore. I think we can safely say I did a pretty thorough investigation of international knitting & airport security and came up trumps.

I decided that whatever I knitted needed to be easy and not require constant reference to a knitting graph or pattern. Not to mention survive jet-lag induced exhaustion idiot brain syndrome.

I chose Idlewood from Ravelry. It was perfect. I got some needles in Paris (I only packed the size for the body. Doh!). Knit Pro Symphonie needles. They are heaven.

Meet International Idlewood. Yarn from USA. Needles from Paris. Knitted in London, Madrid, Singapore, Sydney and Port Macquarie!

Idlewood by by Cecily Glowik MacDonald.

Yes, I arrived home to wet weather! Rambling about in a jet lag fog after lunch

This is essentially a tube. You start at the top and knit the cowl. Change needles, knit the yoke. Leave stitches live on waste yarn or holders for the sleeves. Knit the body (a tube with minor shaping). Then knit a few rows on the sleeves and you are done! There are a few rows of purl on the bands but other than that it’s plain knitting all the way! Perfect beginner knit & being a worsted weight it knits up quickly.

I started knitting Idlewood in London and finished the morning I arrived in Port Macquarie. These pictures were taken after lunch with ELH. If I look tired and sloppy…. I was… this is after 30 hours of travel and very little sleep!

The pattern includes patch pockets which I’ve omitted, I felt it looked a little hippy (in shape & lifestyle choice). I prefer it’s simplicity.

Idlewood - post international long haul flight from hell.

Idlewood – post international long haul flight from hell.

I wear this A LOT. I totally get that it’s not going to be everyone’s style – it’s not lacy, floral or pretty – heck it’s not even a girly colour! However I love a bit of grunge. This is totally my style on a casual weekend. And hello? COWL! Monster cowl! It’s snuggly and warm. The cowl is so big it can be pulled over and worn like a hood, that look isn’t for me I feel like an Ewok.

Idlewood by Cecily Glowik MacDonald COWL

Now THAT’S what I call a cowl!

I’d love another one sometime. I would knit it on a smaller needle as this is the smallest size and it could do with just being a smidge smaller.

Wool: Malabrigo Worsted. I buy mine from yarn.com. This yarn is delightful. Buy it. Buy it now!
Skirt: Vogue 1247. It’s ridiculous how much I wear this skirt.
Boots: Flore from Duo. These boots are gorgeous. I ordered these in London from the Duo shop in Convent Garden – they shipped them direct to Australia for me for free – minus the VAT. Awesome – and you can get the same deal on the website. I was served by the delightful Laura and guess what!? She’s a sewing blogger too – a newbie – go and say hi!
What is so amazing about these boots is they come in calf sizes as well as foot sizes – so there is a perfect fit for everyone. I struggle to get boots to fit my toothpicks. Worth every penny. I also got a pair of Aralia – which I wear to work almost everyday…
Bag: from Madrid – another perfect match for my less-girly grunge days. It’s a little weather-beaten looking like me. Love this bag!

And I also knitted…

Zuzu Petals for Mum

ZuZu Petals for Mum. Knitted with Malabrigo Worsted

I knitted this for my mum with the leftovers from Idlewood. 🙂 It’s Zuzu Petals Cowl by Carina Spencer- also from Ravelry. This has a 32 row pattern and I had to concentrate (and not drink at night LOL). it’s not hard but there is a lot of pattern!

On the needles now…

Marion by Andi Satterlund. It’s also on Tasia of Sewaholic’s needles and Leila of Three Dresses is swatching her Marion after all my tweetin’ about it! I’m on my second sleeve now…

Marion Cardigan

Marion – I love my Whole Wheat cardigan so much I wanted another cream one with longer sleeves

Tripped up by the trip – the first 7 days…

One thing I often get asked is: ‘how do you find time to do everything?’. Right now I’m wondering that myself.

Settling back into ‘life’ has been more challenging than I thought. My travelling life for three weeks was a whirlwind of planes, trains, places and faces. The last three weeks back at home has been a whirlwind of school fete, dance eisteddfod, dentist visits and oh… work…

The First Week

My April/May travels took me to London, Paris and Madrid. Was it great? Yes. Did I buy much? Yes – I’m sure I could have got more – except the thought of dragging it home stopped me many times!

I arrived in London (via Dubai in a huge A380 plane) on Saturday 13 April after 26 hours of flying (trip was much longer if you count the trip to the Sydney airport from home and into the city). It was COLD! I didn’t have much time to acclimatise as 7.30am Monday morning I was on a train to Paris.



I was in Paris for just three days – I had some work to do while I was there.

I arrive Monday lunchtime and had a little wander around Paris in the afternoon. I then had dinner with my husband’s cousin who has lived in Paris for 12 years now. We had a lovely night and it was such a great opportunity to get to know her better. Thank you Emma xox

I did manage to squash in some shopping with Barbara of Stitching up Paris. Barbara is a Kiwi (New Zealander) who has lived in Paris for 25 years. She’s a stitcher/knitter and knows all the places to take you in Paris – ALL OF THEM. she took me to lots and then left me with a list of more! Did I buy lots of fabric? No, not a scrap. Why? I knew Goldhawk Road was in my near future, courtesy of the Mega London Blogger’s Meet-up so I decided to focus on yarn and trims. I did visit the famous Montmartre fabric shops but if you want stories of fabric decadence then you better head to Roisin or Kim’s corner of the blogsphere.

Here are some of the things I got…

Barbara was fantastic, she was suggested to me by Busy Lizzie in Brissy. Thanks Lizzie! Paris and Parisians have slightly different shopping customs to Australia and also the language barrier was significant for me as a complete non-French speaker (it wasn’t compulsory at school – and I’m ok with that, this is the only time I’ve had to call on my v.limited French) – Barbara looked after all that for me!

I’m a bit of a second-hand clothes and charity/thrift/op shop nut. When Barbara discovered this over a cup of coffee, she took me along to one of best second-hand clothing charity shops in Paris where I found this Tara Jarmon jacket. I’m completely in love with it. I love it’s military styling, the silk patches, the rough stitching, the naïve embroidery, the zip gathered patch pockets. I’m definitely be going to make a jacket inspired by this piece in my future…

I love this idea of this jacket and it's a great weight for I like. I'm sure I will create a jacket inspired by this one day.

I love this jacket, it’s unique and fits perfectly.

My little room in Paris

My little room in Paris

I stayed with a lovely and generous French lady Agnes, a place which I discovered via Airbnb. She was so helpful and I felt like I’d found myself a new aunt by the time I left! I think I enjoy her company as much as I enjoyed Paris itself.

After my work-related appointment on Wednesday morning (more on that later) I hopped on a train to London and was back mid evening. Friday I spent at home and in downtown Brixton – where you can get the most AMAZING burgers at Honest Burgers in the Brixton Market. Then I went to the theatre on Friday – squee! I love theatre and this was a real treat – it was The Audience and starred Helen Mirren.Via Twitter, I had ‘bumped’ into Claire-Louise Hardie, a professional theatrical costumier and sewing consultant to The Great British Sewing Bee. I tweeted the fact I work in a theatre and shortly after she got in touch and asked if I would like to see The Audience while I was in London. Yes please! She organised seats for myself and a friend at a fabulous price and we sat right under the nose of Helen Mirren, smack bang in the middle of the front row.

Claire-Louise Hardie & me!

Claire-Louise Hardie & me outside the theatre: I’m not dressed very flash as I was cold and rather too tired to get fancy this night!

I met-up with Claire-Louise pre-show and had a little backstage tour and got to see the costumes, wigs, meet some of the cast and some of the costumes up close. This is a stellar show and a must-see. Apart from the legendary Helen Mirren and fabulous cast, the costumes are fascinating. A huge proportion of Helen Mirren’s costume/wig changes happen on stage (including wigs), she moves seamlessly from age to age and era to era – the trickery of dressing and undressing Ms Mirren on stage is genius. All I can say is Ms Hardie is quite brilliant – oh and she’s lovely. If you are thinking about sewing lessons, then this is the girl for you, she runs a sewing studio called the Thrifty Stitcher and has small group sewing classes in North London. I don’t have the opportunity to do these sorts of things where I live – but if I were you and lived in London what a fabulous way to improve your skills – with an expert AND in a working studio. Yes please!

I confess the first week was exhausting and I was slightly mad to attempt to do so much in such a short period after the mammoth flight from Down Under – but you live and learn!

The next day I was dragging a mammoth case (thank you Abakhan Fabrics!) across London to the V&A to meet up with Rachel of House of Pinheiro and another 50 or so bloggers… but that’s another blog post about the next 7 days…

And I have some blogger gifts to show you – just got to take pictures!


I have projects to share including a jumper, cowl and a soon-to-be-completed First Communion dress… soon…

and I’m mid-fabric search for this project…

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

By Hand London Victoria Blazer

And many many thanks for all your kind comments on my Elisalotte dress. It’s been facebooked, tweeted and popped up all over the web. It’s given me a real buzz!

Home & blogging again!


An evening in Paris…

Just a quick post to let you know I’m back and will be blogging again soon. I am slightly jet-lagged after the epic 30+ hour journey home.

I did consider blogging while I was away. The thought of tapping out posts on my iPhone did not fill me with joy so I decided to wait.


Madrid – I fell completely in love with this city.

I do have soooo much to tell you. Rather than write a huge post, I might break it up into several posts over the next couple of weeks.

In a nutshell in the past three weeks:-

  • I’ve been to London, Paris, Madrid.
  • I’ve bought fabric, patterns, notions, yarn.
  • I attended The EPIC London Bloggers Meet-up.
  • I went to the theatre, had a back stage tour and saw Helen Mirren in The Audience.
  • I met many gorgeous bloggers and stitchers.
  • I finished a skirt.
  • I started & finished knitting a jumper.
  • I’m participating in Me Made May 2013.
  • I’ve got a gorgeous Nautical Craft Swop to share.
  • and a Sewing Surprises Swop to share!

Is that ALL you have been doing in the past three weeks Lizzy??

You are a tough crowd to please! I personally thought finishing a jumper in less than three weeks while travelling between four countries was quite a feat! Never mind I will tell you more soon.

I’ve missed you!


Pimms at a London pub. You have to enjoy the good weather when you can!


Firstly thank you so very much for all your lovely comments on my last post. It was surprisingly cathartic to write and I really appreciate your comments. I never expected to win, I suspect my reaction/thoughts are simply the outcome of working in a highly regulated environment where opinion, personality & relationships cease to exist. Everything is done by ‘due process’… and I sew to escape it. So rather than looking for reasons, explanations, criteria – I’m just going to except there isn’t always going to be those things in my sewing world and that’s what I need.

£15 AUSSIE RETURNS: Abakhan Fabrics
I finished my £15 Aussie project for Abakhan Fabricsbefore I left for London. This month I chose a lovely grey wool suiting and I must say I was rather taken with it!

I used Simplicity 2451 – a skirt much beloved by bloggers. I added a lining and hand stitched the zipper in.

For £15 this is a brilliant work skirt. I loved wearing it. There will be more – no time for detail pictures, I had to fly to London! I should not have put my hands in the pocket for this picture, it looks like it pulls and it doesn’t.


And I’ve been busy sewing and knitting other things…

a detail shot of my just-finished Vine Bolero (Ravelry)


And a Japanese rayon knit Sewaholic Renfrew


and I’ve managed to squeeze a skirt out of this.


Must go. I’ve got to pack a bag for Paris…

PS: Abakhan sent me a ‘few’ things for the meet-up…