Sunday, December 7, 2014

Indie Gift-a-long 2014

The Indie Gift a Long is currently happening over on Ravelry

The Indie Design Gift-A-Long is a 2 month long KAL/CAL of holiday gifts made from patterns designed by a rather extensive list of independent designers which started on Nov 13 and finishes on Dec 31 2014 - so there is still time to sneak in a few christmas pressies.

I was fortunate enough to be able to interview Mary from

How long have you been designing? 
I’ve been working up my own designs for almost as many years as I’ve been knitting, but I only began publishing patterns in 2010.
Where do you get your inspiration from? 
I find inspiration in a variety of places: Sometimes in nature or a place, sometimes simply out of a desire to add a particular garment to my wardrobe. For years, I envied how knitters wore their beautiful lace shawls. I love knitting shawls but somehow find myself “shawl challenged”. When I try to wrap them over my shoulders, they just never sit quite right on me lol. So, I did a series of designs (Elphaba, Daydream Believer, Iolanthe, and Sleepy Jean) that incorporate various elements of shawl design…and I get to wear a shawl as part of a sweater.
Another set of designs (my Quabbin Series) was inspired by four central Massachusetts towns that were flooded back in the 1930s to make way for a reservoir that serves the Boston area. These designs were inspired by the sense of place and history of each of these former towns.
What do you do with your free time? 
What free time lol? “I don’t always put down my work, but when I do…” I can often be found singing, cooking (I’m a total foodie), and/or in my garden (I grow much of my own produce in the summertime…I even make huge batches of tomato sauce that I freeze to use throughout the year).
What book are you currently reading? 
The Principles of Knitting, by June Hemmons Hiatt. It’s a huge volume full of “physics of knitting” type of information. I love it!
What is your favourite music at the moment? 
That’s a tough choice! I love a variety of musical styles: Pop, rock, popular song (think: Ella Fitzgerald) and jazz, classical vocal music (I’m a classically trained soprano who performs locally). What I’m listening to right now is Audra MacDonald’s latest album, “Go Back Home.”
What are 3 of your best selling patterns? 
Elphaba and Simplicity have been two of my best sellers, but my recent release, Soubrette has been selling very well in just its first month and a half.
And anything else that you would like your audience to know :) 
I try to write patterns that are clear as possible. People shouldn’t have to spend their knitting time trying to decipher what I mean, so I do my best to provide a photo tutorial for an unusual construction, text boxes that clarifywhy I ask the knitter to do something in a certain way, etc…
I also strive to empower the knitter to modify a pattern to suit their own fit preferences. No two people are shaped alike, and even two people with the same bust size will have different fit needs. So, in most of my patterns, I include a “Thought About Fit” section that takes knitters through the process of choosing a size, and modifying to best suit them.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 - Knitting Challenge to Myself

This year I have decided to set myself a knitting challenge - to design 1 new blanket pattern every month.  12 New Blanket patterns for 2013.

I find blanket designing and knitting very relaxing and mostly done at night time while TV watching or on road trips :)

This is not saying that a new blanket pattern will be available every month for purchase, but that I have finished a design sample.  As the process after the sample being finished is
1. Writing up the pattern
2.  Sending the pattern off to the test knitters.
3.  Design sample sent to the photographer.
4.  Test knitting completed and pattern tweaked where needed.
5.  Pattern sent to the printers.
6.  After all that is done the pattern is available for sale :)

Some months may see two or three blankets patterns released at the same time.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Patterns and House Update

Where did the time go between my post last August and now?  It has been a hectic time on both a business and personal level.
I have currently just completed two new patterns, with two more near testing stage.  Below are the photo's of the two new patterns.  Abigail Shoes and Peek a Boo Blanket.

I am also in the process of changing the pattern format over on all the older patterns, ready to send to the printers ready for wholesale.  I am also in the process of changing over the copyright on the patterns, while you still cannot publish and sell the patterns in any forms, you can now create and sell the finished products. 

We are currently still in Ashburton until the end of this year for Dylan to finish year 8 and will then shift back up to Christchurch once we have the house ready (it is still structually sound - we figure that it is still standing after 4 good earthquakes so will continue to stay standing).   On the house front - it will not be touched for ages as it is in the major fixing/rebuild group, while they say it is fixable it's at what cost.  Here is a list of everything that has to be done... the house has to be lifted, ring foundation removed as well as all the piles, new ring foundation laid and new piles put it,  all summerhill stone removed and new put on (think we will opt for wood), while the cladding is all off they have to  refloor, make sure all the framework is level so that doors shut and walls are straight up and down. Remove roof and put in new support beams and rafters (we have peaked ceilings) and then redo every room inside the house.  Outside - garage has to be demolished and replaced, all paths and the driveway have to be removed and replaced, out terrace also has to be demolished and replaced.  As the guy said - the only thing they won't have to touch is some of the inside framing! The good thing is that we are no longer living in limbo and are starting to move on with our life with the knowledge from the insurance company that it is probably going to around three years before it is finished.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Commercial Photo Shoot

This post is well overdue with earthquakes, shifting towns and settling in, but have finally started to find a sense of peace and normality.

You have to check out Sam Mothersole Photography you will also find her here on facebook.  Make sure you like her page, especially if you are looking for amazing commercial product photos with children or live in the Auckland area and looking for photographer.

I will be using Sam and her camera - plus the cute models (thanks parents) again and again - her take on my very short briefing was perfect, which has seen the photos published on a US Photography blog recently Let the Kids Dress Themselves

Anyway, enough about Sam and her photography skills - which are fantastic - check it out for yourself - below are a few photos from the shoot.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Christchurch Winter Giveaway

This has now closed, I have received 28 emails for the babies in Christchurch this winter, all of which will receive a parcel, thank you.  All emails will be replied to this week and will include whether the recipient will receive the jacket and bootie set or the hat and bootie set.
Thank you to everyone that sent in emails.

Natural Star would like to do their bit with helping to keep the babies of Christchurch warmer this winter.
I am giving away 5 jacket and bootie sets (see pics above), plus an assortment of  20 hat and bootie sets.
If you yourself or a friend has been affected by the Christchurch earthquakes and is struggling to keep the house warm and dry and has a baby under a year...send me an email to with their name and address, babies age in months and boy or girl, plus if it is a friend a little message from you that you would like me to include in the parcel. 
The first 25 emails received will be entered into and five will be chosen by to receive a jacket and bootie set, the other 20 will be sent a hat and bootie set.

Please do not post their name in the comment section.

Brenda xx

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Introducing Rose

We have a new addition to the family, a 8 week golden lab who Emma has named Rose.  She is a gorgeous, well behaved puppy and we are all very excited that she is part of our family.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Blog Neglect!

Dylan Fly Fishing

While I have all good intentions to blog frequently, life has this habit of getting busy and I am the first to admit that when this happens the blog and the website are the first to be neglected.

We have had a few busy months with the business, picking up new stockists, researching products that will compliment my handknits and designing new patterns.  All of this I will share soon in it's own post.  This one is more of a catch up :)

Family life has been hectic, we have all been hit with the bugs and flus that are doing the rounds at the moment.  I have returned to work, doing what I did before Dylan's diagnosis and settling him into school at 5 years of age (I cannot believe that it was 6 years ago!).  Along with Natural Star, I am now working a 30hr week with 2 little new entrants with the same diagnosis as Dylan (ASD).  I am really loving it, life outside of the home!  Apart from the feeling more tired bit!

Dylan starts intermediate this coming year - which I know is going to be a hard couple of years for him and us as a family, the playground is not something he understands socially.  Thankfully we are seeing Alison Schroder - who runs Socially Speaking here in Christchurch.  There is the kids social clubs that Alison also runs that Dylan will be apart of.  This morning we have been to the Hospital Dentist as Dylan needed a tiny filling.  To have this done he has to be sedated and have a continuous supply of laughing gas for them to do it.  He is now lying on the sofa watching an endless supply of fishing DVDs.

Emma has her 6th birthday this month, she is such a girlie girl, but can also be such a tomboy.  This year we are having to make all the invitations (she is totally into crafts - I have trained her well, now she can tell her Dad that we are going shopping for supplies instead of me having to do it)!  Her favourite choice of clothes is dresses and skirts, as far as she is concerned these two items of clothing can be worn anywhere, even outside playing in the mud!  I am not allowed to buy clothes as a birthday present for her this year as she told me "Mum you won't buy what I like if I'm not there to help you", she also comes out with the quickest comebacks, the other day her father called her 'An Egg' she quick comeback was 'You Sausage'!