Wednesday, 24 December 2014

and so 'tis the eve....

And so we come to the last shop day of the year.
Let's be honest, what a bugger of a year it has been. It has slammed so many people I know hard, like really hard and between another broken wrist, two lots of surgery and the general malaise this sort of thing brings on, I have not had the greatest of times. The last three months has gone in a blur of making and trying to play catch-up and I am looking forward to closing the door to the shop at 5-ish this afternoon and having a well deserved break. Nothing special, just a lot of snoozing and reading and drinking of tea, of windows thrown open and perhaps a bit of a house clean and sort if I can in anyway be arsed (it's a bit of a shambles around here at the moment).
So we will be open today from about 10am until around 5pm, of course if the street empties as it often does, then we might shut a tad earlier. You will then have to wait until the 5th of January for the shop to re-open but remember if you are in town and would like to make an appointment then leave a message on the phone (03 9419 2430) or drop me an email ( to arrange a time. Just don't expect the shop to be vacuumed or dusted.
I hope you all have a lovely Xmas and New Year and thank you for all your kind words, encouragement and purchasing throughout this shit of a year. Here's hoping 2015 will be a right glorious one!
Take care and love to you all

Saturday, 13 December 2014

well hello stranger....

Well I (barely) survived the Big Design Market last weekend and this week has been picking up the pieces and trying to get more work done. Exhausting. So I managed a few more smocks and we have now got 4 1/2 oz denim in regular and long, black linen in regular and long and one one beautiful patched raw linen one. I have to admit there is only a few in the denim and the linen at this stage but at least we have stock in the shop. There are also 3 quilted jackets left if you had wanted to get to the market and didn't make it, and I have to find somewhere to display the canvas and leather bags....

And this week we had our biggest shipment of handwoven Turkish towels and they are stunning! 

We are desperately waiting for new stock of tin plates (we still have loads of designs in the shop but are restocking on sold out ones and new designs), Stanley vacuum flasks and the beautiful Ghanian handwoven recycled plastic baskets have left Africa and hopefully will arrive here in time.... and of course I'll be back in the studio making again next week.
Don't forget I am shopgirl today and yes we are open on Sundays right up until Xmas!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

i forgot to tell you..... BIG DESIGN MARKET!

Sorry for the very late notice on this one, I had had plans to send out an email and shout it from the rooftops but... well that just didn't happen. Putting in 17-18 hour days making and running about like a loon and the promo side has fallen in a heap. We were at Big Design Market yesterday and will be again today and tomorrow. We've launched a whole new run of our pennant designs and our harvest smocks and quilted jackets have been flying out the door (should have made some more I think... ooops!). We haven't taken the whole shop, just special stuff like our new batch of vintage canvas and leather bags, how I wish I had had the energy and time to get so many other things finished! Lordy this post sounds so whiny, blame the lack of sleep pure and simple.
So 10am until 7pm today and 10am until 5pm tomorrow, 220 stalls, All Day Donuts and coffee and booze available, come and visit!

And before I forget, the shop is open 7 days a week right up until Xmas. Jethro hates December, it curbs his window worshipping timetable.... not for worshipping windows but for being worshipped in the window of the shop by his adoring public.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

helmet head

I don't want to have another week like this one has been again.
Just too flat and boring and sad, full of ennui and angst.
And now the first migration of Xmas birds has arrived to warn me that I am running out of time to get my shit together for Big Design Market and the festive season. Mind you I had to smile when I pulled this bird out of the box, he's got his own 'do helmet!
There has been other stock arrive as well, little glass and zinc hanging frames, lovely glass display boxes and peg chains that would be perfect to hang cards from or a row of lovely glass baubles. I have to order more of the beautiful Ghanian recycled baskets and Lisa B socks but I have been avoiding the computer this week.... if you have emailed I will get back to you this weekend!! Promise!
OK, better go hunt Jethro down. He's got his mischievous pants on today because Orlando from Scout House wook his photo in the window this morning and posted it on Instagram. Brat.
I'm in the shop if you are looking for me.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

well hello there...

So there I was thinking that it was only a few weeks since I last wrote a post a post on this poor little blog... how wrong I was! Almost two months!
Well hello little blog!
And sorry this is going to be short.
Things have happened (a holiday, more surgery to the bung wrist, time in the studio, time in the shop) and now there is the sudden realisation that Xmas and the end of the year is about to come crashing in. I'll make no promises that I will be regular again here, try checking @cottageindustrystore out over on instagram if you need a daily fix of stuff (and Jethro).

I've been sewing Harvest Smocks and have just started a whole new run of wax print chemises. I have so much work to do over the next few weeks that I think my head might explode. Big Design Market is coming up on top of everything else.....
OK, time to pop the kettle on for another bucket of tea and insert my brain into my skull for another day in the shop. Four this week. Oh I am looking forward to a 'day off' tomorrow.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

unpacking boxes

Bit of a crazy morning. Racing about like a loon. Discovering my pocket managed to post a photo to instagram without me knowing (just of three colanders, it's OK) and as everyone liked it before I realised I decided to leave it up!
The last few weeks have been stressful and upsetting and a bit blah, I've been as flat as a tack, then all the parcels of new stock started arriving and I managed to get a couple of days solidly making Harvest Smocks. I'm exhausted but really too tired to have the strength to feel blah. I've a lot to do in the next week.

So this week we've had new Romanian enamel arrive (not all, we have more coming in early September), more of our lovely brass handled scissors, old padlocks and keys, great old soda bottles that I have had no chance to photograph, giant old Indian slotted spoons that are just stunning and then yesterday the Stanley thermos flasks arrived (I shouldn't use the term 'thermos' as it is a brand in itself but I've always known them as thermos...) and there is even a couple of 'old skool' American construction workers lunch boxes.... I love these!

I'm sure there are more things that I have forgotten....
The new Harvest Smocks made this week include a lovely lightweight watermelon pink 'hemstitched' linen top (sold out in store but the last two will be in next week), the mid weight red checked linen top in the photo (two), the lovely striped mid weight blue linen top (one left) and the black and white check we have had a little while ago is available in one regular length and one top (this is the last of this fabric... all gone). Oh and I almost forgot, tops in a lovely cotton check, white ground with a mid blue in a 2/2 plain hopsack type weave, perfect for Summer boating.
I'd better get moving if I am to put the shop to rights before I open for the day.
Oh oh oh! I almost forgot, the tin plates stock has arrived too! New designs and restocked on the original designs we sold out of.
See, it's been a busy week!

Saturday, 9 August 2014


Hello all!
Been neglecting you, sorry about that. I raced out of the house last Saturday morning for appointments at the trade shows and had no time to write even the vaguest of posts. Today's will quite probably be rushed too as I am in a flat mood after a weirdly low level shitty week. Trying to leave the house to actually get to the studio at a decent hour just didn't happen, appointments and issues and stuff cropped  up everyday and the usual money issues that come to a head at this time every year have started. Painful and annoying.
On the up-side I'm waiting for the date to be set to remove the metal from my wrist break and whilst they are in there they are going to do a bit of work on the carpal tunnel.... yep, busiest time of the year and more surgery but I might just put this almost year long wrist debacle to rest and get some feeling back in my fingers. I've booked a holiday and probably can't afford to go back to the scene of the crime and stick two fingers up at the universe for making me go through the mind numbing crap of three broken wrists within five months and there consequences.
Also on the up-side is the new stock arriving in store, vintage storage boxes, fabulous old industrial waxed paper bags, Creamore Mill paper seedling pot makers, new scrubbing brushes and stainless funnels and the lids have finally arrived for the 'french' style dairy bottles.... what else? And I made a new batch of 'hot water bottle' wheatbags and the denim Harvest Smocks finally managed to get finished and I made some new Harvest Smock tops in a lovely strawberry gelato pink lightweight linen that is striped with a woven 'hemstitch' line through it. That's the one in the photo.
OK. Better get moving. I'm going to open a little earlier today (although on a Saturday no one seems to come in before 11) as I have to CLOSE EARLY today. It's Hana's first birthday and I have biscuits to deliver. I'll be closing about 3.45pm, sorry! We very rarely close early but first birthday's only come around once and I'd like to catch the last hour or so.
Lots of photos of new stock coming through over on instagram at the moment (@cottageindustrystore) if you are interested!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

goodbye satchel

Morning all! Sorry I missed posting last Saturday but I raced out of the house at 6am for the studio sale and this poor little blog was forgotten for another week. I am back now and in the shop, as usual, today.
Finders Keepers is on up at the Exhibition Buildings today and the Projection Festival is on during the evenings so Gertrude Street is all abuzz at the moment. We caught Jethro performing for his adoring fans last night, there was an incident with a small dog and he charmed a pack of ladies by running to the door when I arrived home (he heard the car out the back).
In shop news we've decided that after over 3 years of stocking Cambridge Satchels we are going to pop them on sale to make way for new stock. We were the biggest seller of satchels in Australia for quite some time and were always complimented on our sales and serve with them but now is the time to move on. If you buy one it is 25% off, buy two or more and get 35% off (pretty freaking good I say!). Of course no exchanges or refunds on sale stock. We can post. We have lots of colours and sizes but please don't go asking for a red 13" one, the examples are all out on the shelves.
OK. Gotta dash! New pennant stock is appearing this weekend. And other stuff!
I'm here until 5!

Saturday, 12 July 2014

time to rumble (in the jumble sale)!

And an icy good morning to you all!
The sun is shining out there but I am having trouble warming the shop up, if it is too bitter I might have the shop door closed today but we are open!
Poor little blog is probably the last to be informed (well not quite, the mailing list is next) that we are having a studio sale.... RUMBLE IN THE JUMBLE! We haven't had a studio sale in ages, there was meant to be one in September (broken wrist), November (broken wrist) and February (broken wrist) and things have finally got so bad=full in studio that I had to chose a date and just go with it. It means I have a week, actually less, to pull this together. The stuff that I am unearthing..... hopefully next Friday I will announce the list of the really special stuff that is going in to the sale, I'll be posting all week over on Instagram (@cottageindustrystore) photos of things that I discover. It's been like a crazed archeological dig in the studio and we haven't even cracked open the boxes of stock....
While I have been going mad up in the studio there has been new stock arriving at the Cottage, 2 out of three boxes of Lisa B socks have landed, third one hopefully will arrive on Monday. Lisa has sent over new northern Winter  2014/2015 styles that have only just come in from the sock mills! We have new rugby stripe and big dot women's socks, new men's and bubba's birdseye design and have restocked on the women's classic dot socks and have 17 colours available at the moment! Let me just say today would be the perfect day to kit your feet out in these beauties and I dyed 6 new colours in gloves at the start of the week so hands and feet will be snuggly warm. OK I still haven't quite got back to the beanie knitting yet....
Time to shoot. The shop counter looks like a bomb has hit it, the floor needs a good clean and I desperately need another bucket of tea.
I'll be here until 5.

Saturday, 5 July 2014

giving jip

So yes, the smockage continues.
I seem to have quite a bit of smock suitable fabric stashed in the studio which might explain why I keep inundating you with 'smockbomb' photos. Also they keep selling so of course I keep making them!
This last week has been a bit exhausting with lots of things happening and long days at the sewing machine. Yesterday I had the nerve conductivity tests (checking for carpal tunnel problems etc) on my right wrist, electric shocks to the nerves which is either tickle-y or excruciating but mostly funny when you see your hand twitching about. As usual I had the doctor and scientist taking the tests a tad flummoxed. Apparently there is something wrong with the nerve but they can't pinpoint exactly where, there is a chance it is related to the when the taxi hit me in the shoulder during the Great Bike Accident. Most of all I just really want my surgeon to remove the wire in my wrist that is giving me jip. It is 10 months since the first break at Cradle Mountain and I am a bored with it all.

I've been looking around the shop and thinking it is looking a bit bare. We've had a run on blankets, gloves and socks (yes, it has been a bit nippy) but there is more stock coming including new designs in the Lisa B socks range which is pretty exciting! I think we might be the first store anywhere to get the new styles and as we were Lisa's very first stockist in Australia and love her socks I can't what until the boxes arrive. I need to get a few dyepots on tomorrow and get some more of our glove stock happening too. And last of all, and finally, our lovely Heico cockatoo lights are back in stock.
I had the weirdest conversation yesterday with someone about the fact we don't have a designated website and inferring I should buy larger amounts of stock. It got Elise and I talking about how much we prefer to actually have a conversation with a customer about the product they are buying, whether it is face to face, on the phone, via email or chatting on instagram and how important that dialogue is especially when the product is handmade. I don't believe online shopping is all it is cracked up to be and I also think it is having a huge effect on people when they are out shopping, it appears they are almost developing a fear of being chatted to by a sales assistant.

OK I am off now to do my Saturday duty. It is CosPlay Day up at the Exhibition Buildings with Oz Comic-Con happening so it should be an amusing afternoon on Gertrude Street with the youngsters all dressed up! I'll be here until 5pm as usual....

Saturday, 28 June 2014

upsy, downsy, umming and ahhing

Morning all!
It has been one of those weeks, a bit upsy, a bit downsy and definitely all over the place. This morning seems to be carrying on the week's theme but I hope by 11 I have all my chores done, Jethro has settled down (a case of feline crazies) and I can take a deep breath.
I'm excited our new plates have arrived, made from tin printed with designs from the Queen's and the Wallace collection, they make me laugh and are the most ridiculous picnic plates ever! I'm not a fan of melamine and these appeal to my enamel love. I'm planning a new wall display installation tomorrow and I have the peg board and wood in the back of the car ready to go.
I managed to get some patchwork Harvest Smocks done (pop over to Insta or Facebook for the photos as I don't have time to upload them here today sorry) and have also done the sample for a new one in boiled black wool crepe, very Melbourne!
Last news of the day is that I have decided to pop these two pouffés on sale as I am planning a new batch and these have been sitting for a while. They have been much admired and ummed and ahhed over but have been adopted yet... so 25% off! Down from $600 to $450, definitely no lay-bys or holds on these and yes we can ship them.
OK, better dash! I'm in the shop until 5.

Saturday, 21 June 2014


I was dreading this week, it was mapped out in post-it notes around the edge of my computer screen (which might explain why I was avoiding doing anything on the computer...) but now it is Saturday and I get to at least have a half day off or just a bit of a sleep-in tomorrow. I barely got a day and a bit in the studio but managed some sewing up of lovely vintage floral linen cushions and started work on a pile of tea towel cushions too.
I did lose a day being swept up country to visit an old friend's lovely house, eat lunch and then race back. It was nice to be in the passenger seat for once, I got to see things from the left side of the road. We grizzled and moaned and sorted out problems and had a grand day of it. It was cold but sunny and we missed the fog that set in the next day and blanketed Central Victoria. It wer' right grand!
Anyway. Back to the grind and it is Saturday, shortest day of the year and although it was lovely earlier this morning I think the mizzle and grey is settling in... which I don't mind! In shop news, the shipment of small bonsai scissors and little snippy thread scissors has arrived, there they are next to the big 10" tailor's shears, cute as. I need to get knitting some more beanies. I also need to have a play with the front window display and give the shop a good doing over. Looks like I will be forgetting that sleep-in in the morning...
I'm still arsing about trying to choose a date for the studio sale, seems I am not good at committing. probably because it goes hand in hand with a huge studio clean. I know I am just procrastinating in the standing-in-the-middle-of-the-room-and-screaming-'argh' way. I need to move everything to the left 8 metres and then start sorting back into the cleared space. This is not going to be fun. In the past I have tried to snaffle an empty studio in our building so I could move it all in there, have the sale, sort out the left overs and divide what would stay and what would go, I just always seem to get the timing wrong and miss out on booking the room when I need it.
OK. Better get a move on. I'm in the shop until 5pm, there are lovely snuggly things to buy, you might need a wool jumper and some angora gloves if you are off to a Solstice Bonfire tonight.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

well smocked

What a topsy week that was. 
And now here is Saturday again.
Perhaps it was the holiday on Monday that threw everything into confusion but I am glad that tonight I might be able to throw myself on the couch and fall asleep... after I have baked off a batch of choc chip cookies for a Ben's Turning 6 Party tomorrow, of course as they need to sit overnight for the chocolate to set again.
I'm feeling embarrassed that the only work I seem to photograph or talk about at the moment is based around Harvest Smocks- long, regular and short, wool cashmere, linen and denim.I have a mountain of other work in the studio that needs doing (and a sale to organise) but the smocks keep selling and so I need to keep making. I'm pretty chuffed by the lovely response we are getting about them. Thank you. Apart from the denim smocks many are made in very limited quantities as a lot of the fabrics are pieces that I have been hoarding for years or get in very limited amounts from my wholesalers. I haven't had a chance to get them online as they just don't stay in the shop long enough or we have only a couple of them but if you are interstate, in the country or overseas we can arrange a sale over the phone or by email. 
I'm desperate for a break away. It's been a hard slog since last September and I know I am getting grumpy and short tempered, with myself mainly I must admit. I'm still juggling doctors appointments and nerve tests and waiting to have the wire removed from my wrist that is impinging on a nerve making my fingers numb and causing acute pain. I could deal with the lack of movement (in fact I am pretty used to that now) if it didn't hurt so damn much. I also need to go back to Cradle Mountain and lay that first fall that started all this to rest. To stand on the boardwalk, breath some icy air and say 'thanks for a shit of a year, I'm done with it now!'. 
It;s been a funny start to what they say is going to be a warm Winter. I have all these lovely woollies that are great for cold but not too cold weather, bits that are great for layering when/if it gets colder but I am happy we never go in heavily for big wool coats when the seasons can be so finicky and undecided like this one is being. I want cold, I want rain, I want toes that feel warm in wool cashmere socks, heads protected by beanies and hands in gloves. Come on nippy weather, I need you!
Lordy! I'm running late now! Better get my skates on! I'm in the shop! 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

another long weekend

I've been a bit worried that I have been posting too many Harvest Smock photos on social media of late but they have been the main thing that I have been making over the last few weeks. Don't worry there is a lot more sewing on the horizon and lots of stuff to take photos of soon!
It's a long weekend here and most of it will be spent trying not to procrastinate over things that really need to be done. Things like cleaning and glove dyeing and pennant cutting and more cleaning.... and I have a hankering to make chocolate chip cookies as I still have a huge bag of Callebaut choc chips sitting in the cupboard and due to a moth infestation in the pantry I am dreading discovering they have attacked these precious yummies. Baking would mean I need bench space and that is something seriously lacking in the kitchen at the moment not to mention any floor space with boxes of gloves and yarn everywhere.
I'm longing for a trip away down south but I don't see that in the near future. I am getting depressed seeing photos of everyone else's jaunts to the southern isle.I need quiet, fresh air and some green therapy otherwise I can not be held responsible for anything I do or say.
There has been a bit of a clean in the studio this week and a load of rubbish hauled to the tip, I now have a cubic metre free but there is still a mess from hell clogging the space. I am aiming to clear enough space to then be able to have a studio sale. The last three times I have started to plan a sale I have broken my wrist so you can see why I am slowly easing myself into this! Stay tuned!
I'm so glad there is more of a chill in the air, I love Winter as you know and that crazy balmy weather in May was making me a tad bored. Coming out of the studio the other afternoon I could feel an icy tendril and it brought a smile to my dial. The street my studio is on runs east-west and in Winter when there is snow brewing on the mountains you can see great snow laden clouds to the east and feel the cold on your cheeks. I love that extreme after a hot sweaty Summer and feel energised and awake.
I'm shopgirl today. I have had no chance to plan anything to keep my hands busy so I am hoping for a busy day to keep me awake. We've gloves and socks for your extremities, Harvest Smocks in denim in regular and long lengths, a stunning cashmere wool one (must make one of these for me!), super woollen cardis and jumpers and scarves for your necks. It is time for a big cushion restock soon too and I have lots cut out and ready to go at the studio.... oh there is so much I need to do at the moment!
OK, better make a move. Shop prep on Saturday always seems so involved and rushed. Here until 5!

Saturday, 31 May 2014

this, that and the other

Well we survived Markit on Sunday. My prediction at I would come down with the flu on Saturday night came to nothing.... I got it on Wednesday instead. I'm coughing and sneezing and start fine in the morning but sink as the day progresses. It was on the cards that I would be the next to succumb after both shopgirls were hit by it, I think mine is just a cold from too much balmy weather and being in a space with a couple of thousand germ laden strangers!

I've been juggling appointments and work all week and only really scored a couple of days in the studio. We had such a huge interest in the harvest smocks on Sunday and it was gratifying introducing them to a new audience. They sold out and I have managed to make a few more this week (but not many, the black and white check has gone off to a new home already, more to come) there are some patched indigo linen ones and I finished a denim long and a denim regular last night so they will be in the shop today. I'm really glad that after 5 years of making these people are suddenly embracing them. I have plans for more linen ones and have laid out some stunning wools on the cutting table ready for next week's cutting.

Our lovely friend Celia dropped in with some new Oleana cardis and we have done a big swap over of stock. We only have a few on the rack at the moment but there are more being delivered next week which is always exciting. This new one is an amazing rhubarb pink with chartreuse and duck egg blue, so pretty!
Jethro has his crazy pants on again this morning and I have resorted to buy a spray bottle this morning in retaliation to his sudden game of waking me up three times in the night by sitting on the bedside table and quietly mewing at me.... game on furry housemate! I think it is his payback for me not being home for most of last Sunday, he doesn't like his Sunday routine messed up.
OK. Time to start the Saturday engine. I need to find something to wear as I seem to have popped on a flanny shirt this morning.

Oh! And before I forget!
At 6am tomorrow morning the new edition of Handmade Market goes live over on  Temple and Webster . I was asked to take part by its curator Jacqui Fink and they chose our felt pot holders and mitts and the vintage blanket versions. These links will only start working for the feature tomorrow morning, they will be updated then. Sadly this will probably be the last of the felt pieces until I can track down some new stock, such is the life of the hand made, you've got to be quick!
I'm in the shop today, come say helloooooo!

Saturday, 24 May 2014

no day off this weekend....

Yes Saturday is here again.
It's been a jumbled week with me dashing here and there and then having moments tied to the sewing machine in the studio furiously sewing. I've managed to make some more Harvest Smocks in lovely checked linens in the new top length and the old regular length and restock (one only at the moment) the new longer length in the denim. Next week there will be more cutting and sewing and once we have got over Markit@FedSquare tomorrow I might even get my head around the studio sale preparations. Fingers crossed this time I won't fall over and break my wrist and have to postpone it again (this has happened every time since September that I have sat down to set a date....).
I'll be packing tonight for the tomorrow's Markit and if you are planning to come and would like me to bring something in particular now is the time to drop me a line. We don't bring everything, mainly lots of wintery goodness like socks and gloves and beanies, but this time we will be bringing the smocks and the new WomenWeave scarves. It's going to be fun seeing how much I can fit in the new-ish car. Everytime I do a market I need to buy new storage boxes and yesterday I went to get new ones only to get to the studio, move bags of blankets and discover the lovely new ones I bought last year... doh. I need a holiday, a non-work-away-read-books-and-snooze-in-the-afternoon type break.
Jethro has had his crazy pants on this morning. Since 6am. So now I am a tad tired but amused by his antics.
Oh, and by the way, we are changing our opening hours for Winter, Monday to Friday we will be opening at 10.30am and closing at 5.30pm. Saturdays probably a bit before 11am as usual just depending on how many chores I get done in the morning..... and closing at 5pm. Remember if you are running late or early just give us a call and we can stay open for you. We are nice like that.
So don't forget if you are in the city tomorrow to drop down to Fed Square for Markit, 10am until 5pm, lots of fabulous friends of ours will be there, Victoria Mason, Sunday Morning Designs, Sandra Eterovic, Emily Green, The Gently Unfurling Sneak, etc, etc, etc..... Our stall will be in the foyer at the Deakin Edge Theatre, usual spot, up at the end of the wedge. Drop by!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

handwoven week

Phew. What a week it has been. Both shopgirls down with flu, me trying to juggle studio and shop duties (and making quite a few mistakes in the process) and then having two shipments of stunningly beautiful textiles arrive to fill my heart with joy.
I managed to make a small batch of Harvest Smocks on the days I did make it to the studio, in the 4 1/2 oz denim in regular length and the new longer length and in a fabulous linen check I've been hoarding in the studio in regular and the shorter top length which we haven't done for years (this one walked out the door yesterday). I am making more of all these over the next few weeks and in new fabrics as well. We just have to get through Markit@FedSquare next Sunday and things will settle into place more (hopefully).

On Thursday the shipment of Mexican 'flokati' rugs arrived from Zara and oh my word they are beautiful! Handwoven in wool they are amazing and we have 4 different colourways available. These are really quite big and I have dreams of them used in a 70s conversation pit, they are great on the floor, perhaps not in a high traffic area, covering a couch or bed or would look amazing hanging on a wall... I can feel the 1970s revisiting....
I've been waiting weeks for the second delivery, it got stuck in limbo in Mumbai, a freight handlers disruption I believe, and then arrived in Melbourne too late to be sent out yesterday. Of course the thought of it left sitting in a warehouse at Tullamarine meant that I just had to organise an emergency dash to the boon docks to collect it last night. I did get to see an amazing autumnal moon rising over the back blocks out behind the airport. And I got a whole box of handwoven organic cotton khadi scarves.
I am so excited about these. Handwoven by women in Maheshwar, central India, supported by the charity WomenWeave. I'm going to write the story about this charity in the next few days, when I get a moment, but the main thing is this sort of charity is very close to my heart- it's empowering women, giving them income, helping educate children and keep skills that would be lost alive. I chose to bring in lots of different designs in small quantities.... mainly because I want them all myself! I changed my scarf four times before I left the house this morning! I want to sell lots of these so I can order more and keep those looms clacking!                                                                                                                                                                        
After a week of shitty political crap I need to feel good about something. Handwoven woollen rugs and khadi scarves are my sort of tonic. Low tech/high reward. At least that is how I view it.
And on top of all the handwoven goodness it was also Wool Week and @compaignforwool with sheep wandering the city and woollen installations happening at Fed Square. Wool is good people, wear it, sleep under it, live with it!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

chock full of wool

It's been a bit of a crazy week. Dreary dull shop days interspersed with frantic wholesale orders, making and picking up new stock. I think, all in all, we hit the 'yes it is cold and it is time to rug up' jackpot and this is the time the Cottage comes alive.
We've finally got our mitts on the stunning St Albans kid mohair scarves that I have tried to order for three Winters. I can't make this sort of stuff here so I am happy when I find a supplier that has done the hard yards and got a product like this made. They are super soft and lacy and remind me of a ring shawl.
We also have stock now of their mohair throws as well and use these to make our beautiful mohair hot water bottle covers, now you can match your hottie and your throw! St Alban's has also started to make wool blankets and I loved the weight of their throws that I got some stock of these too! I chose six designs in grey and raspberry with cream and, I have to admit I'd like to just wear one like a big shawl.... I love that St Albans makes here in Melbourne and I sent Lisa Gorman there to get the Gorman range of mohair throws woven. I also notice that St Albans is still making and selling styles that I designed when I was a consultant to Country Road that they produced for us.

So friends it is Mother's Day tomorrow.....I say 'Go Wool' this year!
Angora lambswool fingerless gloves!
Mohair hot water bottle cover!
Wool cashmere angora socks!
Mohair throw!
Wool throw!
Welsh blanket cushion!
Kid mohair scarf!
Woollen beanie!
Oleana wool silk cardi!
Slade knitwear!
Vintage blanket quilt!
Vintage wool suiting Wagga quilt!
Industrial wool felt oven mitt!
Wool tapestry pouffé!

See, I wasn't lying when I said that Cottage Industry comes alive in Autumn and Winter! When it gets cold we get snuggly and happy, warm cups of tea, the smell of woodsmoke, drizzly days, the cold on your cheeks and that glorious feeling of getting warm when you have been out for a brisk walk. Love it!

I'm off now to hunt Jethro down, move some stuff about in the shop and make another bucket of tea before it is time to open at 11.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

smug as a cat in a box of tea cosies

My weeks seem to be marked out by my Saturday blog updates, I really have been all consumed by the World of Instagram....
Happily the weather is changing, chills and frosts, and yes I know you all hate it when I go in about the Joys of Winter but I like how different it is to Summer. I really do feel it is when the Cottage comes alive, under layers of snuggly wool of course. I love the way cats change with the seasons, Jethro put on his Autumn loony pants yesterday and tore about the building, found a new pack of bonito flake treats in my bag and attacked it, pushed the mouse off the desk, galloped from one end of upstairs to the other, attacked me through the bannisters and then fell asleep in the tea cosy box in the shop. Butter-wouldn't-melt. Autumn and Spring, the Seasons of Cat Craziness before the Summer and Winter Seasons of Sloth.
So what has been happening this week?
New glove colours have been dyed, a shipment of men's hankies has arrived, a few more beanies have been finished, the socks are selling fast, the Slade knits are coming into their own and soon I will have new cushions made from vintage Welsh blankets available. I am trying to get ready on top of everything and prep for Markit@FedSquare on the 25th of May. I should have been at Bowerbird in Adelaide this weekend but managed to forget with all the wrist issues to get me application in.... next time hopefully!
I have to say I am feeling rather flat with the net stupid government budget coming up. It isn't going to be good for any of us and least of all for small retailers. This week there was ridiculous articles like this one about artisans makers being a drag on productivity. This sort of shit just makes me angry and despairing. Mass production of fluffy airy high sugar low fibre crap of any kind is not something that should be seen as the yardstick by which everything else should be judged. You can not compare apples to oranges, they might both be roundish and grow on trees but that is as far as it goes.
I'd better go now and pack away all the gloves that loony-pants Jethro has pulled out of the storage boxes and drag him out from under a table in the shop. I don't think he will be happy to be locked out the back from all the fun today, he'll probably spend the first half hour meowing and hanging off the screen door.
Better shake a leg.
Forecast of 14ºC today, 12.4 in Fitzroy at the moment.... come and buy some woollen things!

Saturday, 26 April 2014

glorious autumn

Morning all!
What a week of holidays and stop-start it has been, quite topsy in fact.
I know it is Saturday, I am shopgirl but it feels really weird with ANZAC Day falling on a Friday.
Anyways. It's all over now. No more public holidays for a few months. Time to get back to work.
I did a quick run up country yesterday to pick up more gloves from my knitters so now it will be full boil on the dye vats to get caught up and re-stocked. There is so much to do at the moment and I really need to pull my finger out. I've taken the splint off my wrist (the surgeon might be a bit annoyed with me when I see him on Wednesday) and although it still hurts like hell and I have limited movement I need it to be a bit freer to get the work done.
We had a big delivery of socks on Wednesday and their display in the shop makes my feet twitch in happiness. I snaffled a new pair of cotton florals this morning just because I could! There are new colours in the wool cashmere spot socks, new designs in the men's cotton and we have a bowl full of bubba socks. The beanies are doing really well and I need to get knitting more. Seems people are embracing the bobble hat and there has been much discussion about the pros and cons of the pompom.
I've got new vintage stock to show you (needs a clean first) and we have a very special deliver that will be arriving soon but you will have to wait until it arrives..... I can't really afford new stock but sometimes you just have to do it!
OK. Better toddle off and get things sorted. We have boxes everywhere and bags of gloves that I need to find a place for. Jethro was a bit overwhelmed by giant sacks full of gloves, he ended up bring me undyed gloves from his special box of them in the kitchen. He 'fetches' them to me in bed and take them back downstairs and pop them in his cardboard box. I'm not sure whether they are prey or kittens to him.
I'll be in the shop until 5- come say hellooooo!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014


Shop is open today!
I am shopgirl!
I will be working on beanies.
It is raining, you might need to think 'Winter'.
Jethro is not happy.
Come and visit!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

bring on the bunnies and the eggs

Morning all!

Hope you got to scoff a couple of HCBs yesterday, I managed to grab a couple this morning, I hear there have been early morning bunfights all over town.
It was a peaceful day around here yesterday... apart from me yelling at the knitting machine regularly and the crashes of bits of equipment sliding off the work the work table at odd moments. I was tinkering too much with the machinery and managed to get far less than I hoped actually knitted. The pile of beanies is slowly getting bigger although I am questioning why I always have to be the twit making everything and not be like other designers who just farm production out (rhetorical question, no need to answer).
Years ago I handknitted a range of beanies with giant pompoms on the top, Dell has a brown one and you might have seen her in it in the shop in the past. The early ones were from lovely Italian yarn and then when I got hold of the spinning wheel there were hand spun wool ones as well. This time I am using locally produced yarn for a more classic beanie styling and I think they are turning quite nice! I queried the size of the pompom on instagram and the general consensus is the bigger the better.

The Cottage is open today.
I'll probably be stitching up beanies, if my wrist doesn't pack it in (I over did it a tad yesterday) or maybe winding pompoms.
We have some little fluffy chicks and ceramic rabbits  in stock if you are after choc-free Easter gifts. We've sadly sold out of the wooden rabbits and carrot boy racers.... or do we have a single rabbit with basket left? Really should check before I start typing.

I managed to get a couple of the-chicken-and-the-egg chemise dresses made and I have more half done up at the studio. I quite enjoyed getting back into the sewing with these. I sometimes get a bit too overwhelmed by all the work and get a touch of the procrastinator happening. When I start sewing and realise it's not as bad as I thought it would be then I settle down and feel much better. It's nice getting wax print garments back in store.

OK. I'm off to vacuum and chase Jethro about. He had such a nice day yesterday, he loves it when the shop is closed and I am hanging about doing stuff. He isn't going to be happy at 11am let me tell you but the payoff is two days with the run of the place.
Pop in if you are in the 'hood!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

a message from d.l.b.

Dirty Lil Bunny here bring you the Cottage Industry Easter News.
We will be closed on Good Friday as we will be eating a mountain of hot cross buns.
On Saturday you will find the Tall One in the shop as usual, 11 until 5, you know the guff.
Next up will be Easter Sunday, of course the Cottage will be closed, that's what happens around here on a Sunday (except in December). There will be a clutch of chocolate eggs to be eaten, an ocean of tea to be drunk and a bit of napping to be had.
Easter Monday will run pretty much like Easter Sunday with the shop shut and any chocolate left from the day before will be finished off.
By Tuesday we will be pretty bored so the shop will be open once again.
Oh and then Friday is ANZAC Day and we will be off playing two-up down the RSL so the shop won't be open but then Saturday rolls around again and things will definitely be back to normal.

If you are in town for the Easter break and can't make it to the shop during opening hours then please feel free to call or drop us a line to organise a private appointment.

Hope you have a relaxing break!

Much love


Saturday, 12 April 2014


So the shipment of yarn finally arrived (after DHL finally read the paperwork that said 'FIS' and stopped demanding money from me) and I delivered it to my knitters (who can't start knitting because their elastic yarn shipment hasn't arrived). Then I spent most of the week dyeing the undyed stock I already had and now we have a lovely new range of colours and as I have no undyed stock to dye I get to have a break from dyeing this weekend and do other things that I started two months ago.
The first glove orders have been going out and we've had pennant orders coming in. I on;y managed one day at the studio this week but I did get to play with the welsh blanket patchwork I started last year sometime and now we have some special cushions instore. They are really quite beautiful, the the welshie colours and patterns mixed up. I am itching to make more but sewing is taking me forever with this bung wrist, frustratingly. There is so much to do in the studio at the moment.
I am still working out when we will be closed over Easter, definitely Good Friday, Easter Sunday (well we are closed on Sundays anyway) and Easter Monday, that just leaves the Tuesday in limbo and of course we will be closed on ANZAC day.... what a harsh week for us poor little retailers!
I need to spend tomorrow moving stock about and laying our baskets of gloves in pretty spectrums. I've packaged almost all out beautiful pennants and now I need to find space to have the boxes of them out on display.... where and how I have no idea! It's definitely time for a big re-jig of things but sometimes it is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
I have to say this week's rain has been absolutely lovely! I know I keep nagging you about your Winter wardrobe but come on people it is time! We've also got a big shipment of lovely Lisa B socks arriving in the next week or two, three boxes are winging their way to us, bubba, women's and men's, of course we still have lots of stock in the shop but we will have more colours and designs coming (and new special colours not released yet  that we are getting a special preview of).
OK, better go find the cat, vacuum the shop and sort gloves out.
I'm in the shop until 5pm.
Come visit!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

not smiling, yawning

Morning all.
Well to be frank, this has been a right shit of a week. As you know I am not the type to pretend to sweetness-and-light-and-isn't-everything-great when in fact I am sitting crying and exhausted. I think it all came to a head on Monday night and now the tears have uncorked I am still a little weepy. I think seven months of wrist shit has worn me down to a raw and sensitive nub. One of our wholesale customers commented that she couldn't believe I was still smiling. Ha.
On top of all of this I am attempting serious money juggling and trying to work out how much work my wrist is capable of. I did manage a day in the studio yesterday and made a big batch of 'hot water bottle' wheatbags and I treated myself by cracking out the wool stash and making a tunic top based on our 'harvest smock' pattern. It's the same base as the patchwork tunics were made from last year, oversized and one size only in the most beautiful brown and black wool fabric with Italian brocade lining. I now need to raid the stash a bit more....
Daylight savings switches over tomorrow. Thankfully. It's been so ridiculous for it to go on for half the year and the mornings have been so dark. Everyone is droopy and lethargic and I am sure all our internal clocks are out because of it. Bring on Autumn! And school holidays have started for some people I see.
I start glove dyeing tomorrow and our 103kg shipment of wool is on its way from New Zealand. I've had to scour the house for all of the undyed gloves that Jethro has 'hunted' and presented to me in the last couple of months. He doesn't hurt them in any way, he just likes to deliver them to me. It's cute and sweet and very funny.
OK, time to shake a leg.
Lots of woollen cardis and sweaters for your perusal. Time to stock up on enamel pie dishes for crumble making. And don't leave the purchase of the wooden Easter toys to the last minute! They are still available online and I hope to get the ceramic bunnies up there too this weekend.... and the Slade knits.... never ending things to do....
Oh and I am shopgirl today if you are looking for me!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

the cute continues

Most of the parcels arriving this week contained 'cute'.
Super cute animals in race cars and Easter bunnies, ceramic animal cuteness, little cute vintage-y fluffy yellow Easter chicks and rabbits, yep, all about the cute.
The wooden animals went off (like an animal driving a racing car) but we have got another delivery and I have restocked the online store. I was thinking of popping some of the ceramic bunnies online too- yes?
I've finally got my wrist out of plaster and although I am in a splint still for the next 5 weeks (minimum) I am feeling a bit more positive about going into the studio again. I have so much work to do and I need to the sale preparation under way.
Oh damn, it's 10 already. I better get moving. Saturday mornings always run to a timetable. Shop to be vacuumed, stuff to be sorted, cat to be teased. I intend to spend tomorrow waking Jethro up from his afternoon naps just like he has been doing to me all week at dawn. It is payback time!
I'm in the shop today. Lots of lovely new stock. Come visit!