Remembrance poppies

It's ANZAC Day here in Australia. So here's a little poem and a bunch of crochet poppies - in memory of all the servicemen and women who gave their lives in wars and conflicts.


Why are they selling poppies, Mummy? 
Selling poppies in town today. 
The poppies, child, are flowers of love. 
For the men who marched away. 

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But why have they chosen a poppy, Mummy? 
Why not a beautiful rose? 
Because my child, men fought and died 
In the fields where the poppies grow. 

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But why are the poppies so red, Mummy? 
Why are the poppies so red? 
Red is the colour of blood, my child. 
The blood that our soldiers shed. 

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The heart of the poppy is black, Mummy. 
Why does it have to be black? 
Black, my child, is the symbol of grief. 
For the men who never came back. 

But why, Mummy are you crying so? 
Your tears are giving you pain. 
My tears are my fears for you my child. 
For the world is forgetting again.
* Poem: The Inquisitive Mind of a Child, author unknown
** Crochet pattern: Patons Remembrance Poppies
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A shop update

It has been a while since I have talked about my Etsy shop here - not properly since I launched my first product line in fact. Remember the ruffle bibs?

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Well the shop has moved on a lot since then. As a general rule I don't talk about the shop much here on the blog. Down Grapevine Lane is first and foremost a craft blog, and not a marketing tool to drive traffic to the shop. In fact the shop was almost an afterthought - I first set it up because I kept getting asked if I would sell some of the items I made as personal projects  (and that's why the shop is heavily skewed towards baby/kid items, as most of the stuff I make these days are for my kids). It is important to me that I make (and sell) things I enjoy working on, and I don't pay any attention to how much revenue something is likely to generate when I pick my next project. If the item has sale potential, great. If it doesn't, no biggie. The shop's certainly not going to make me a millionaire. But every little helps - I do have a very expensive fabric addiction to finance!

So here is a quick overview of some of the new lines I have added to the shop since opening it at the end of January. I have already shown you the crochet items before (cloche hat, owls, and amigurumi bunny), so here's the rest.

Cuddly blanket toys for babies are probably my most popular item of all. They have a fluffy minky backing and a crinkly layer in the middle that makes that delightful scrunchy noise that babies go nuts about. I make them in 20 different fabric options, here are a few and some of my favourites. The name tags are hand embroidered.

And, of course, more bibs. Patch-work style and personalised, these are especially popular as gifts. They come with a soft minky backing (dot or smooth), and are available with a top snap or a side snap.

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Another popular gift item is the baby gift set - consisting of coordinating cuddly blanket, bib, and burp cloth, with hand embroidered name. Available in 20 different fabrics, including boy and unisex options.

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The 'Simple Life' fabrics by Tasha Noel have been very popular - and unsurprisingly so. Look at the lovely coordination of colours and patterns. The aqua colourway is especially gorgeous and a particular favourite of mine. My heart sings when someone orders one of these.

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And finally some images from my production process and shop 'floor'. I am not showing you the rest of my sewing table as it's nothing like those fancy sewing room images you see on Pinterest - every inch is covered with stuff. But I am a firm believer in the motto "creative mess is better than idle tidiness".

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So there you go! If you wanted to visit the shop there is a link on the left and also the top of the page.  I ship all items worldwide and am happy to send directly to the gift recipient and include a  hand-written card with your message at no extra charge.

I have two upcoming projects which I am also intending to put in the shop - crochet flower garlands and personalised name bunting in coordinating fabrics in my signature style. If there is anything else you would like to see in the shop, please leave me a comment!

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Getting ready for winter

Winter is almost upon us here in the Southern Hemisphere. We are still enjoying beautiful blue skies and summer-like days, but at night the temperature drops sharply. So the house is absolutely freezing when I have to drag myself out of my lovely warm bed at 6am (thanks to my 6 month old human alarm clock, sleeping in is sadly not an option). This is Alice's first winter, so I started by making her a crochet hat.

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The pattern is called 'Little Sister' by Linda Permann and is available on Ravelry. I just 'lurve' that scallop edge! The flower is from a Cherry Heart tutorial.

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And she is one spoilt little girl as today she received a parcel from my good friend Katherine, who hand-knitted this stunning cardigan for her. It fits her perfectly and just in time for the cold weather too. Alice says 'thank you', auntie Katherine!

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By the way, I promise this is not turning into a blog just about crochet. It's just my new thing, you know? So please bear with me for a little while (next post will be about something else, I promise).

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More winter goodies to come - including two more hats (for both my kids), and a clamshell pram blanket that I am particularly excited about. But more on that later.

Have a lovely day, wherever you are in the world!

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A parliament of owls

That's what a group of owls is called - apparently. I have no idea why, perhaps because people consider them to be stately and full of wisdom?

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I saw these owls first on Attic24 which is written by the very talented Lucy (and is a super-popular blog in the crochet community). She used a pattern by Bunny Mummy, you can get it here if you wanted to have a go at making one.

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I gave them to Alex to play with briefly so I could take some cute photos for the blog. I asked him how many owls there were (we are learning to count at the moment), he said there were 'two two owls'. Two is his favourite number at the moment. Four - not so much. (Or maybe he was just making an owl sound, you can't always tell with toddler speak.) He was totally not impressed with me when I took them away after the photos, but I had to, something about small parts and stuffing not being safe for under threes. Even though the eyes are safety eyes and Alex is far too sensible to try to eat polyfill, best be safe.

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I also wanted to photograph them in the garden, hanging off a branch with a nice green background. But I only had half an hour to do the shots and it was raining, so on the fridge door they went.

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They also make a surprisingly good pincushion! Discovered by accident when I had a few pins in my mouth and my pincushion was out of reach, and there was an owl sitting right there in front of me.

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I feel like I have neglected the blog recently. I have been busy creating and making things (you know when you are on a good productive streak sometimes?), and I have been working very hard on the secret squirrel project for Homespun magazine which needs to be completed within the week. And the usual shop orders as well. Business has been booming.

And of course not to forget my two little monkeys who have been rather a handful lately. Alice especially has been a very busy lady, she is now on solid food and learning new things every day. But she hates it when I leave the room and every sleep is a fight at the moment. I was reading Alicia Paulson's blog Posie Gets Cozy the other day (one of my faves). She also has a daughter about the same age as Alice, and I chuckled when I read what she wrote about her sleeping: "Not too interested in napping today. I personally would like nothing better than for someone to zip me into a polar-fleece sleepsack, turn out the lights, and beg me to sleep for two hours in the middle of the day." Spot on Alicia. If you haven't discovered her blog already get out of that cave you have been hiding in and head over there to check it out, her creations are stunning with a lovely vintage-prairie-chic feel and photography to die for as well. Anyway here is my little nap-refusing madam, enjoying the company of the amigurumi bunny. By the way both the bunny and the owls are now in the shop (sorry, the little madam isn't for sale, though I reserve the right to change my mind on this if she keeps on refusing naps).

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So there will be a few blog posts coming in the next couple of days to 'catch up' to where my life is at the moment. I share a lot more on Facebook these days which is odd as I see the blog as my first priority always and I really hesitated before setting up a Facebook account for it. But sometimes it's easier to just post a quick photo and update on Facebook, if you know what I mean?

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And the winner is...

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Congratulations to Jelby, who guessed the correct answer - crochet owls! They will be in the shop shortly. Jelby please contact me to organise delivery of your chosen item from the shop.

Thank you to everyone else who took part in the giveaway - and hope you enjoyed our little guessing game. It gave me some great product ideas!

More owls coming in the next post - they are busy breeding at the moment ;-)

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Giveaway time!


I started this blog in December 2012, not knowing if anyone would ever read it or if it would ever 'take off'. Then I started a Facebook page and opened an Etsy shop at the end of January 2013 to expand the 'enterprise'. During this time, the progress of Down Grapevine Lane has surpassed even my wildest expectations. Only 3 months in the Facebook page has over 250 'Likes' and the blog has had over 22,000 pageviews. I also have quite a few loyal followers on Bloglovin' and Feedly (and the soon to be retired Google Reader). I even have a magazine deal in progress! To say I am delighted is an understatement!

So as a big 'thank you' to all my readers and customers for all  your amazing support and encouraging words, here is a little contest.

The Prize
The first person to guess the correct answer will win an item of their choice from the Etsy shop (bundle deals, gift sets and amigurumi excluded).

How to enter
- You must be a 'liker' of the Down Grapevine Lane Facebook page and share the giveaway image from that page
- To enter, just leave a comment under this post guessing the answer to the following question: 


CLUE 1: the item is decorative, and not a toy or apparel.

Knock, Knock!
Who's there?

- One entry per person only. If you have put down more than one guess I will take your first guess as your entry
-The contest will run until midnight 12 April, even if the item has already been guessed correctly. I will reveal the winner here and on the Facebook page on 13 April. If there are no correct guesses I will select the 'closest' guess as the winner. I may also give more clues, depending on how the contest is going ;-)
- If you are leaving a comment using the 'Anonymous' option please make sure you state your name so I can contact you via Facebook if you win. Please do not include your email address for privacy reasons.
- Please try to be precise in your guesses for a better chance to win. For instance, putting 'wall art' or 'soft furnishing' as a guess is too broad.
- I have to moderate comments due to a large number of spam the blog gets, so your entry will not appear straightaway.


Homespun feature

Just a super quick post this evening to share some very exciting news with you. Down Grapevine Lane has been commissioned by Homespun magazine to do a special project for them for their September issue. In every issue Homespun magazine publishes '10 original and exciting projects from leading Australian and international designers' and I am truly honored that they picked little old me to be one of those designers. In fact I had to pinch myself when I got that email from the managing editor!

We have just completed the 'design' stage and I have started working on the project itself. I cannot share what it is yet, but suffice it to say, I love it already and I am really enjoying making it! I am taking photographs of the production process and will be writing step-by-step instructions, and there will be a little feature piece on me and Down Grapevine Lane as well.

So very exciting!

Solo crochet adventures

Having completed the online crochet course, I was ready for my first project, flying solo. So I went to my crochet Pinterest board and selected a tutorial that looked clear and doable for a beginner - African Flower squares by Made in K-town. I chose this tutorial not just because of the lovely pattern and clear steps. It was preparation for my next project - an African Flower pincushion by Cherry Heart. This pincushion was one of the first things I had pinned on my Pinterest crochet board (in other words, one of the first things that made me wish I could crochet!)

And here they are, the flowers and the pincushion. Both were quite easy, thanks to the clear tutorials. I only made the flower part of the squares, I am thinking of making a few more flowers and putting them on a chain to make a little hanging for Alice's room.


With my confidence boosted, I decided to have a go at the amigurumi bunny pattern I had purchased when I first discovered the world of amigurumi. You may remember when I posted about that - it was what started me on the crochet journey in the first place.

And here it is - an amigurumi Spring Bunny. The pattern is by A Morning Cup of Jo Creations.  There were some tricky bits, but thankfully the instructions were very helpful. I picked up a few advanced techniques too. It took a week to make, but definitely worth the effort, I am so pleased with it!

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Alexander loves his new 'babbit' (well he is mostly trying to strangle it or drag it on the floor, but that's toddler version of 'love' for you). I think it may be the beginning of our amigurumi zoo...

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