Friday, February 02, 2007

Let's have a long yarn about 2007

The summer break has been fantastic for the entire Jolly Jumbuck family! Matilda is growing at a frightening pace. Now I plan on re-opening up shop with a renewed vigour and creative drive to knit something for your baby, or help you make something extra special yourself. I've been working hard behind the scenes to make 2007 a bigger and better year for Jolly Jumbuck and all my valued customers.

Absolutely FabWoolous
I have heavily extended my range of wools so you can pick the ones that are right for you and how you knit. I will be offering samples of workable 10m lengths of wool -- pat it, dye it, knit/crochet it, swatch it, test on your baby, wash it, even felt it if you really want ;-)

There's a wool to suit everyone here, and now you'll be able to try it before you buy it! Wool will be sold undyed or joyfully handpainted (in a variety of techniques) by me in an outside dye studio (promised, but not yet a reality. Optimism helps though... as does begging).

It goes without saying :P that I will be re-naming my wool yarns. But among the selection you will find The Knittery fine 8ply merino, Wendy Dennis Polwarth, Purewool merino from Uruguay, and a delicious little local find - the softest crepe merino I've ever used. There is luxury, but also practicality. A wool for every budget is offered.

Gradual Gradients
I'm pleased that I've been having the opportunity to perfect my gradual gradient dyeing method. A few special colourways will be offered. I love this process but current family situations does not allow much time to dye this way as much as I would like. It must be done when Matilda is in a deep sleep or is with someone else. It's a very time-consuming technique.

This wool starts off at one end of the lonnnng strand of wool as one colour and charmingly blends onto the next subtle shade without striping or showing discrete bands of colour. Very pretty! Here is something I've knitted with Gradual Gradients wool:

Simply Scentsational

I've used a lot of different wool washes in my time and the ones from Naturally Luxe are the bestest, yummiest smelling and my definite favourite. Hand-made by a lovely WAHM in the US, it contains a whopping 50% of liquid organic lanolin. It was so hard for me to choose the scents, but I will have for your olfactory pleasure:

Yuzu - " Yuzu is a hybrid of grapefruit and mandarin, so it's got additional perfume notes. But not just mandarin or tangerine, but it's got a grapefruit blossom top note that's positively haunting." I LOVE this one, it's very crisp and smells delicious!!! I was sent a small sample of this and have just ordered a HUGE bottle for myself - it leaves a fresh tangy scent to dyed wool that lasts but is not overpowering.

Aquaflore - "A delightfully fresh and complex sea blend with citrusy-ozonic top notes of Italian bergamot, Egyptian geranium oil, and water fruit. Floral midnotes of rose damascena, gardenia, and lily of the valley lead to a lasting, mysterious bottom of white musk, East Indian sandalwood, cedar wood, and amber crystals." Can't wait to smell this one, I love fresh scents.

Sandalwood - "Because the essential oil is so costly, and comes from the virtually depleted Mysore forests, we offer a more ecological version in a fragrance oil. Fragrant grains of sandalwood are brilliantly polished with the sweetness of balsamic richness. Enchanting notes of deep mahogany lie in the heart of these precious woods." My personal favourite, so warm and inviting. Perfect for washing your woolies, leaving the scented lanolin water in the bucket, then settling down for a satisfying evening of knitting with scented hands and wool :) Bliss...

Spiced Plum - "A juicy, spicy, amazingly long lasting, and an "oh so yummy" scent. The quintessential year round fragrance." I love the sound of this one! Watch out I don't hog them all to myself though...

Baby Bee - "Soft and creamy. The scents of honey and buttermilk, will remind you of the sweetness of a freshly bathed baby." One word: YUM.

Monkey Farts - "A blend of fresh bananas, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, bubble gum and undertones of vanilla. Yes, a lush, yummy smell despite the name and you won't be disappointed!" The crowd favourite.

Richly scented, you will love using this wool wash. And because of the high lanolin content, you don't need a lot to wash your woolies. These wool washes will be sold in Simply Scentsational Sampler Packs of 2oz bottles, so you too can have two or three absolute favourites ;)

DIY Dye It Yourself
If you've ever wanted to try your hand at dyeing your own wool (warning: it's addictive!), these handy kits will help you out. I have purchased quality wool dye in bulk and repackaged it into these kits, because with this dye, a little goes a long way! You'll get enough dye in yellow, red, blue and black to create kilos of your own wooly rainbows.

You can get started dyeing straight away. Included in the kit is 200g of your choice of selected wool. No need to run to the shops for white vinegar either, these dyes don't need extra additives. If you decide that you like this dyeing fun you will receive 20% off up to 500g of selected wools.

Old Favourites

Do you miss your Picky Pants? Are you secretly (or not so secretly) longing for longies-wearing weather again? Or are you still loving the hot days of summer as little miss flits around in her Flirty Skirty? How about an easy-to-use knitted wool wrap for your newborn?

How about trying something new: a Hybrid2Rib (I love naming things, I'm sure you will have noticed LOL). There's something new coming to night soakers too, shhh don't tell the Sleepyhead Soaker!

New Friends
I have been rediscovering my embroidery roots and having a lovely time painstakingly embellishing a few tiny figures here and there...
"Howzat!" Hybrid Rib soaker - in honour of Australia winning back the Ashes :-D

Batik Baby
I'm delighted to have found a WA source of organic beeswax to use for batik. Please note that all wax is removed from the item in the dyeing process. Items are dyed with fiber reactive dyes and can (and have been!) washed with the family wash. I regularly put Matilda's shirts in with the white nappies and no colour transfer yet. The colours stay vibrant wear after wear, wash after wash.

These pieces are rare ;) Why? Not because I don't enjoy doing them, but because I'm an absolute perfectionist and many a shirt or wrap has been tossed asunder in a fit of frustration because the wax didn't hold and the dye ran. There's no frogging and redoing here I'm afraid...

I've figured out a way to use these shirts -- "Batik Black. Batik with a slight attitude." ;-)

I have some lovely light and soft cotton muslin wraps that I have dyed using batik. I use Gutermann 100% cotton thread to hem these so that there's no unsightly white stitching where the polyester thread didn't dye. I am working on importing some stitched-with-cotton clothing blanks from the US.

I have a love/hate relationship with batik. Try to catch me on the love phase.

Playfully Yours
Why should only the ones in nappies get all the Jolly Jumbuck goodies? I am working on crochet woollen toys for older kids. Fancy a market bag filled with yummy looking and feeling fruit and vegetables for your toddler to bring along when you do the grocery shop? How about a woollen tea set, complete with creamer and spoons if little miss or mister likes theirs white :)

Creating for Charity
I am pleased as punch to be involved with the Yarns United project on Ozebaby. The charity for February is Camp Quality.

This month I have done a very special set, plus part of a collaboration with another lovely WAHM (Shona from Over the Rainbow). You can check out all the wooly goodness at the Yarns United blog.

Creative Brews
My head is never out of ideas. You know you're hooked on the creative process when you can't even watch the Australia Day fireworks without planning the next stitch, the next project. Who knows whether which ideas will magically transform themselves into wooly love, and which will fizzle out.

The Small Print
(on soapbox)
I must admit, I am a huge advocate for pattern licensing. I support rewarding the sweat and tears consumed by the designer in writing a pattern
from scratch that is easily followed by crafters of all levels of knitting/crochet experience. I personally believe that if paying the added business costs of a license fee helps me to sleep at night, then so be it. I have, in the past and will continue to in the future, extensively modify the written pattern to suit my own and my customers' needs. However I gladly acknowledge that I couldn't have come up with my own designs, if those patterns had not existed at all.

Also please remember that the WAHP's who wrote these patterns, and freely shared it with the public, are mamas and papas just like ourselves. If you sell something knitted from the pattern, you are not cheating a faceless corporation, but a hard-working parent trying to look after their own families.

If you too would like to be a WAHM and sell from patterns or modified patterns, there are many licensing options available. Some licenses cost a lot, and some very little. I'd be glad to chat to you about it.
(off soapbox)

To that end, I am proud as a peacock to be a licensee in the following pattern lines:

Little Turtle Knits
Yes! I am a badge-wearing card-carrying LTKnitter! I am licensed to create and sell from all of Theresa's fabulous cloth nappying patterns - which include the Picky Pants, Flirty Skirty, Longies, Classic Soaker, Ribby Wrap and Hybrid Rib patterns (and any additional new patterns as they become available).

Fern and Faerie
Stell's ingenious knitted wool wrap was the first ever nappy cover I ever knitted for Matilda. They are fantastic for newborns. I have been licensed to knit a limited number (12) of these items per year since the very conception of Jolly Jumbuck.

Dandelion Dreamers
I fell in love with Patti's adorable crochet pretend play toys very early in my WAHM career. Since my preference is to knit over crochet, I didn't have a chance to create anything from the pattern until now. I am excited to be offering something for the older child.

Curly Purly (sample piece submitted)
I am in the process of applying to be a licensee for Marnie's unique Curly Purly pleated waistband. I hope to incorporate the waistband design into selected knits in a constant effort to improve my designs. Hence the Hybrid2Rib! It's a hybrid rib hybrided with the Curly Purly waistband.

I thank these wonderful WAHM's every day for enabling me to fulfill my lifelong dream of working at home creating and sharing my craft. Thanks also to Janie at Ozebaby.

Where?! When?!
is returning to Ozebaby in mid-February 2007.

But, we will also have a new home!
You will find useful information here regarding my products and policies, plus a huge gallery of past work.
Sign up for our mailing list to be informed in advance of releases ;)

If you have any comments or suggestions for me, I gladly welcome email.
Matilda and I would love to hear from you. She may be too cool to reply but I'm not! :)

Irene, Matilda and the ever-so supportive Roy *mwah*


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