Sunday, December 25, 2011

Finished Off! Quilt from world's most gorgeous fabrics...

Until recently I didn't consider myself a Kaffe Fassett fan.  All those super bright clashy colours and enormous cabbage type prints are just too out there for me.  However...I have now, somehow, made two quilts in Kaffe fabrics.  The first was Jill's quilt, where the chevron stripes design really worked the fabrics to their best.  The second was this quilt for my sister in the Kaffe Fassett wovens:



I saw the original in this book and instantly fell in love with the fabrics and general construction of this quilt.  Rather than feeling guilty about buying (yet) more fabric, I decided to make it for my sister, who would love these sorts of colours.

By the time I got around to it I was in somewhat of a hurry to get it finished before my parents headed off to visit her for Christmas.  Jill at Patchworks very wisely suggested I should up the scale of the chevrons, both to aid in speedy construction but also to display the fabrics to their best.  This really sat well with me - I feel like you could just cut big squares of these fabrics and sew them together and the thing would still look fabulous.  I ended up cutting 6.5 inch strips to form the chevrons (I can't recall the original dimensions - maybe more like 4 inches).

A rather poor and wibbly looking shot of the whole top is below.


I was extremely chuffed when Jill asked if she could hang it up in the shop :)  I have never had anything hung up there until now so I was super pleased with myself!  As the picture shows, I also decided to leave off the borders and just continue the chevron design right to the edges.  Again this decision was a combination of how easy and quick it made the construction, as well as a feeling that the quilt didn't need to be complicated.



Overall the quilt was easy to make, though the wovens are so thin and stretchy they are a bit tricky to achieve really crisp piecing with and in this case they are bias cut which virtually guarantees a bit of squidginess.   I didn't actually mind that in the quilt - it seems soft and snuggle and welcoming, but it doesn't give great pictures!   I machine quilted the rows horizontally to stablise the whole thing, then did some perle cotton chunky hand quilting in rows following the chevrons (which you can just about see on the above where the cotton has more contrast).



I bound the quilt in a lovely burnt orange solid and for the back, I used a mustard colour solid cotton with a strip of the chevron for interest.  I mixed it up a little by putting an inch strip of the binding orange down the centre of the chevron.  While the picture (again) isn't super, you can see the quilting more clearly here.  I have to confess I almost like the back better than the front (and I love the front!).  I think because I just kind of made it up with the leftovers rather than basing it so much on someone else's design, it feels more like mine.  I also totally adore the mustard and the orange with the wovens - they look so good together, better than this picture captures.

I think this is the nicest quilt I have ever made (though I still love the asian indigo drunkards path on my bed - unblogged as yet).  I have lots of the fabrics left over also, so there might be a quilt based on the back in my not too distant future also :)

I guess I had better say it rather than ignoring the obvious - Merry Christmas too!  :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Laptop" Cases (Touchpads actually...)

A few months ago, the husband and I got seriously lucky in an HP Touchpad fire sale and scored two of the little gems for less than the price of a crappy phone.  Ever since, we have wanted to look after them, knowing that discontinued hardware and a super special price actually makes them irreplaceable!  Anyway I found this tutorial from Elizabeth at Oh Fransson!.  This was featured at Sew Mama Sew a little while back and I loved this tutorial because it was simple and not tailored to a device of any particular size (i.e. an iPad!!).


So the lighter one is mine and the other is my husbands.  I made mine first, hence it's all a bit wobbly as I didn't have the thing worked out yet.  My only issue with this pattern was that the instructions for cutting the flap were incorrect - they have a formula for cutting (which why I didn't realise they were wrong until a bit later in the process) along the lines of Width by Height + 1 inch, that sort of thing.  Anyway, for the flap; it says height when it means width - which in the case of mine was an error which was just about manageable, but things are a bit wibbly...



The second time I made this (the stripey one), I had the measurements right and it worked like a dream.  My husband was pretty pleased and it took my less then an hour to make as I had the thing down pat.  I really like this pattern and it was quick and easy with a nice finish.


My only other issue (which I know was my issue and not an issue of the pattern) was that my husbands version is still pretty tight to slide the touchpad in and out of.  I suspect that is because the first one was made from a flannel pillow case which would naturally have a lot more give than the woven stripey fabric.

Anyway, I like the pattern heaps and would recommend it.  If you are looking for a quickie chrissie present for a techie (or actually anyone with a similar tablet or laptop) then you still have time :)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Gemma's "Issy Dress"

So the first ever clothes pattern that I have made up from scratch (well the first one I count as a proper pattern) is Issy's Dress.  My friend Lis liked Issy's dress (size 5 ish) enough to request a size 3 for her daughter Gemma.  This is the ultimate compliment :) and here is the result:  



The fabric is one of the Sherbert Pips range by Aneela Hoey for Moda.  Most of this range is super gorgeous and the different colourways cater for pretty much every taste.  Often ranges are just super girlie and pink (which is catered for in this range also) whereas this one also includes greys and reds and fabrics which are just a bit different.


I chose to bind the sleeves and skirt hem in a plain cherry red, which was also used for the outside of the waist elastic casing.  This dress is actually made as a shirt and top which are joined as part of making the elastic for the waist.  I managed to make it so there were no seams from the waist casing inside which was nice (I mucked that up on Issy's despite feeling like I had a plan!).

The ultimate complement was that the birthday girl wore the dress today at her birthday party:


I think the sizing is still a little off.  I did fit this to her half way through but I think there could still be less length in the torso (and probably a little less width) and also the neck elastic could be looser.  It's a terrible picture too but her mum got lots of comments on her lovely dress (which made me want to explode with joy) and someone even asked if I sold them :)  :)  :)

So an interesting process to resize the pattern and I think I will try and refine it further and maybe end up with a tutorial or something.  It's such a nice dress for this age as they seem comfortable but still like being in a dress.  Maybe a version with a frilly skirt of a couple of layers or a combo with the twirling skirt should be on the cards.  All the possibilities!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Molly's Monster

Another one from the The Big Book of Knitted Monsters for Molly, sister of Harry who got the Dress-Up Box Monster back in June.

This is Leila and Lydia, the Mamma and Baby Monsters.   



As you can see, they are a bit cute :)


There was supposed to be another baby in the other pocket (Lucas, I believe...) but I liked the idea of one better, so that the other pocket could be for whatever other treasures it was necessary to carry around.  Plus the baby can be swapped between pockets etc.


I am not sure what they will end up being called yet, but the little lady recipient is already sleeping with Mamma monster next to her and Baby monster clutched tightly in her hot little hand.


Again, both toys were easy to knit and the instructions were mostly pretty good.  I get a bit annoyed when a book specifies a particular technique and don't detail how-to (in this case, the three needle bind-off) but generally these are a great knit and definitely a hit :)

One monster to go (this family has three kids)!!

Quick bubble skirt

I made this in about an hour after finishing Issy's sundress.  This is the Make It Perfect Playtime Skort pattern.



I made it in a slightly stretchy fabric I picked up a spotlight (no idea what it is...).  You can't really see it here but in amongst the lines is actually a flowery pattern - quite subtle but a bit of a change from the usual fairies and princess ballerinas.  

I think you could make this in a normal non-stretch woven easily - it is reasonably generous and the waist is elasticated anyway.  I chose to make the stand alone skirt (you can make one with inbuilt shorts but they seemed a bit pointless).  The "bubble" is created by a difference between the lining and outer skirts.  The outer is longer, and is looped up underneath to meet the lining, then a thin elastic sewn into the seam.  I like it and Issy seems to find it comfy.  The only real change I made was to bring the waist up (it's kind of a drop waist thing) as she tends to push it down under her tummy which would make it too long. 


As you can see, she liked it :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Issy's Oliver + S Seashore Sundress

I must be getting ready for summer, as this is yet another dress for Issy finished off and happily received :)


Sadly it's a bit creased, though that kind of made me happy as it was that way because she wore it all day and didn't want to take it off.  Not only is that great because it means she liked it, but also super because it was nice and warm here today; so it's a happy situation both ways!

I cut a size 7, which is by measurement too large for her in length and hips, about right in the chest and slightly small on the tummy.  The issue with having ginormous kids like mine is that she still has the characteristics of almost the toddler shape (like the sticky out tummy) a bit, but clothes aren't cut that way for 7 year olds.  I guess that's where making your own comes in!!!  Anyway, I didn't alter it in the end as the length seems nice and there is plenty of room to move in it, without it seeming overly large, as evidenced by all the running around:


Happiness is...



I have various comments about this pattern.  On the plus side, it was super quick to make, easy to follow and is a lovely pattern.  I like that it's a bit different and also the construction of the pockets was particularly cute.  As you can see I added contrasting panels down the sides but it would still look great all in the one fabric.  I used self-covered buttons for the straps.

On the down side, there were three main things I would change:

  1. The straps seem really short by comparison to the remainder of the sizing.  This is an issue someone else had about a different Oliver + S pattern so I think it might be a general problem with all their patterns.  I have shoulders more suited to an American Football player than a female so we may have to do some adjusting as I think Issy is close to me in build :(
  2. I am not sure why patterns like this never use things like french seams inside instead of overlocking / zig zagging.  I have an overlock stitch on my normal sewing machine (I LOVE my machine) and so this doesn't really bother me, but it's nice and neat and easily incorporated.  I of course didn't think of this until after but when I make this again I will try and work them in.
  3. The fabric allowance was way over generous.  I got a fair bit less than specified and modified the cutting layout significantly.  The layout seemed to be to fold the fabric in half and plonk whatever you need onto the fold, put the rest in the gaps and just buy as much as the total combined length of the bits which need to be cut on the fold.  Some of the pieces which need to be cut on the fold are pretty narrow so I folded the selvedges into the middle to offer two cutting folds on the same length rather than one.  My fabric had direction so I had to be careful to ensure I still cut accordingly but that just needed checking and thought.  Even though I bought less fabric than asked for I had heaps and heaps left over.  Not that I won't use it but lesson learned...
I always feel like I harp more on the negative when talking patterns but I think you don't "notice" good pattern writing as much as the bad; you just make the thing easily and quickly and spend your time admiring your own cleverness...

All up I was really happy with this pattern and now I know the above 3 things I will adjust accordingly.  The pattern goes to size 12 so this will definitely be back again for next year and maybe also as a present for someone else too.  As I mentioned, madam is pleased and I love the main fabric which is Pinfeathers (by Carina Gardner for Northcott Fabrics).  I have ordered the Oliver + S book so if it ever arrives I might make the little hat in the same fabric...

I leave you with madam posing in the garden:


Not sure what is going on here...looks like YMCA but that seems unlikely...



Happy twirling nearly-summer!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Issy's Dress - a made up pattern...

This last month has seen me achieve my holy grail of sewing not once, but twice!  One was the modified Vogue 1250 to make a top out of a dress pattern and other is Issy's dress which was made up completely by me (based on an existing dress but still...).  It's starting to feel like I have control in sewing and can understand where a pattern is taking me, or how to make a particular thing I would like.  As a non-standard size and shape this has been my nirvana for a while, so am quite pleased with myself even though these are baby steps!

Without further ado...this is Issy's dress (and Issy in it...)


Apologies for the terribly awful blinds backdrop - it was late and so outside wasn't an option...

It is an extremely simple T-shirt type of dress (made in a woven from Prints Charming I think) with elastic in a channel around the waist and also around the neckline.  I loved the dress this was based on (not pictured, will try and snap one next time it's on her) for it's simplicity and as a vehicle for a nice fabric.  I think I did well here in that regard.

Here is close-up which better shows the neck elastic.  I think I will use a softer elastic for the neckline next time - to help the drape.  The original was a much thinner Japanese type of woven which reduced bulkiness.  


 And here is my little model getting carried away and being silly - she really seems to like this dress!


I think her main criteria (beyond pink, sparkly, fairy and ballerina-y) is that it is comfortable.  She prefers leggings to jeans and would probably be happiest running about in the nud if it wasn't cold!  This dress fits the bill.  I am going to try one for me (maybe) in a light chambray I have already.  I thought about maybe doing the elastic channel in a contrasting colour such as red (in this dress it is just part of the top folded over but there's no reason it couldn't be a separate joining piece between the top and bottom...).  Maybe even with overlocked hems instead of rolled also in red thread?

I leave you with the best picture I took, as she looks so gorgeous.  Not showing much of the dress though...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bunnies!

As previously posts attest, I have a bit of a weakness for Amigurumi.  Specifically I seem to be working my way through the Amigurumi (Cozy) book by Lan-Anh Bui and Josephine Wan.  My friend's little girl (and my little girl's bestie) was visiting recently and I told her she could choose something from it and I would make it for her.  I was 100% sure she would pick the Ballerina Bunny (and she did) but she also came up with the fabulous idea that I should make three of them - one for her, one for her newborn little sister and one for my little girl.  The fabulous bit of that sentence is only half sarcastic - it is a lovely thing to do and these toys look super cute in bunches (or bundles?) as evidenced by the monkeys...So as demanded, I made three:



As you can see I haven't quite got the hang of faces - they are totally the hardest bit!  The first one I made is (obviously) in the middle, so at least I can say I got better with practice!  Here is a close up of the one with the nicest face:


And a close up of the tutus which were very cute :)


And the lovely ladies with their bunnies.  My daughter (left) hasn't stopped carrying hers around yet which is gratifying, and my friend reports the same for her daughter.


Then the girls realised who was really the cute thing in their midst and paid Ava the attention she deserved...


So much gorgeousness!  

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Little Cell Phone Wallet

I love the idea of the Valori Wells sewing cards - so simple and cute.  I got the Birds Eye View Quilt one which I haven't made yet and also the Little Cell Phone Wallet which I whipped up the other day.


I love it!  I made it from a Duckcloth linen (I think...its certainly heavier than the normal quilting cotton I use) piece which I picked up at the craft fair this year.  They had a basket of remnants and offcuts which were all $4 or $8 depending on size.  I also got the webbing for the strap at the fair - we don't get a big range of that sort thing down here and am now seriously wishing I had bought a lot more...



The sewing card picture uses various different fabrics inside and out, but I wanted to keep it simple and just use the (lovely) one I had.  

I absolutely love the final product.  Am thinking of sending it to my sister for her birthday but I kind of don't want to (I want to keep it for me!!!).  However, I should probably be a bit more objective and review the pattern rather than just raving about the finished product (have I mentioned I love it?!!).  So here goes with a bit of a review:

The pattern cards are a great idea, but the Little Cell Phone wallet has a few omissions / areas where it could be improved.  Firstly, the attachment of the straps was a little unclear to me.  As the picture below shows, they are attached to the back pocket.  I have done a fair bit of sewing and so didn't fall into the trap of attaching them too close to the edge, but I think someone who hadn't done a lot of this sort of thing might.   I think including their placement on the card diagrams might have been a good idea... 


Similarly the instructions for attaching the magnetic snaps are awful.  Well maybe not awful, because she doesn't know which kind you would buy, but perhaps in the wrong place.  You get right to the end of the instructions and it says "attach the snaps...according to the manufacturers directions".  I read all the way through and realised I needed to deal with snaps a lot earlier than this but a novice sewist might be a bit stumped about when to do these things.  My snaps are the ones with prongs on the back which you insert from the right side to the wrong side (preferably on a piece of fabric which is interfaced or at least has been reinforced at the point where you add a snap with an appropriately sized square of interfacing).  You then put a washer over the prongs and push them down to lock the snap in place.  How anyone could even try and do this once the thing was sewn together I don't know.  I realise there would be other types of snaps which might be sew on once finished, but perhaps a note a the start about deciding when this should happen and about trying to use the interfaced piece where possible would be of benefit.


Another issue is that my cellphone doesn't actually fit...I can't blame a pattern designer for having a largeish phone, though I don't think an iPhone will fit either, and they are pretty common.  It does fit on the inside biggest pocket so that's no drama, though perhaps a note about measuring things and advice on extending them would be good.  Not sure how you would fit that on a card though :)


I think I might modify this design a bit to have a zip pocket on the back for change and then keep the phone inside, or perhaps lengthen the back pocket and therefore the overall length.  A few other issues as follows:
  • I had to adjust the snap placement as they would have been way to close to the top / bottom of pieces for me to easily sew the seam (not an issue if attaching at the end...) and also for the top stitching to occur (see below).
  • The picture on the card shows the pockets inside are top stitched about 1/8th inch from the top edge.  This isn't included in the instructions except for the back pocket, but I think that's just an instructions sequencing issue.
  • This was very tricky to turn and you had to be careful to turn at the right point or you ended up with pockets inside and had to do another half turn to make them on the outside (that's probably not clear in words).  Again no big deal but a newbie might have issues.
So it sounds like I am totally bagging the pattern out but on the whole I enjoyed making it, I love the end result and I was easily able to adjust as necessary for the stuff I have noted above.  It was super quick to make and pretty simple once you read the instructions a few times to make sure you understood how the layering thing worked.  It is a total contradiction to what I have said above, but the simplicity of this was great - a lot of bag patterns are soooo unnecessarily complicated and take ridiculously long to make.  I get that some of the things I have mentioned here are not explained in great detail to achieve this simplicity and fit the thing on a card...it's just observations I have about it really :)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

When my daughter (now 4) and her friend Jonas from Mother's Group turned two I made them both a SB quilt from the Hungry Caterpillar Range (Eric Carle for Andover).  They both liked the book and the fabric range was gorgeous.

Fast forward a few years and my son is about to turn two and his friend Reuben (Jonas' little brother) is also hitting the big 0-2 (good timing for my friend and I!).  I saw the Brown Bear fabric range (more Eric Carle) and decided to use that for their quilt.  That way the quilts are complementary rather than matchy matchy - they would look great on bunk beds I think.  Reuben turned two a few weeks ago so I gave him this:


When I made the HC versions I made a single bed size, according to the old fashioned measuring scale where the quilt hangs down virtually to the floor on both sides (or gets tucked in) and covers the pillow and tucks under the end.  This time I decided to go much smaller (as when they are still quite little like this the bigger SB quilts are very unweildy and end up folded in half) and added in a contrasting pillow case.  So for Reuben his quilt is blue with a red pillow, and for Marcus I have reversed the colours (pics later when it's finished!).


A close-up of the quilt...


And of the (badly ironed) pillow case.



A picture to show the strip across the back.  I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with this fabric range when it arrived.  The HC range came with a panel which was really a panel (see below; the panel has the leafe, butterfly and caterpillar on it)  - this range came with something advertised as a panel but which was really just a piece of fabric cut off from the fabric made up of a lots of discrete squares bordered in green (which I used along the bottom above the stripey border).  Sadly because the fabric was continuous the cut off bit would have lost the green border top and bottom in seam allowances if you used the piece as a "panel" which is how it was touted.  So I made something up which was more based around the white fabric with the coloured animals on.  I was pleased with the result but it's quite different to the hungry caterpillar quilt (see below).



Additionally, some of the fabric range just didn't seem to match the others.  There were some which were the more solid, scribbly colours (like the purple in the HC quilt above) which were just horrible colours.  They didn't seem to even really match the animals, so I left them out and will use them for muslin making or similar!

All up though I was happy with the quilts and pillowcases I made, and even got a bit nicer about presentation and tied them up in a bundle with some left over binding strip.



Better finish the other one before Mr M's birthday so I can post that too...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Modified Vogue 1250

So obviously I am the last person in the world to make Vogue 1250.  I have made it twice.  Once is red version which is the dress, though left rather longer than on the pattern (I haven't actually hemmed this yet so not sure of the final length).  The other is a teal version modified to be a cowl neck top:


Here I am looking rather awkward in it and with the top draping oddly (neither I nor the top look like that most of the time!).  It was made in a teal viscose / spandex oddment I got from Melbourne Tessuti while I was over there recently.  Oddly I think it suits the other fabric (cheapy Spotlight jersey spandex) better as that fabric is more drapey, but a few washes might change that.  I cut an enormous size 20 (to get the shoulders and chest in there) and then spent lots of time bringing the waist and hips back to probably a 14 and 16 respectively, though am not sure as I did with the garment after rather than with the pattern initially.

Here is a view of the back:


And a slightly better one of the front (though not much...it was dark and we were about to head out!).


I made it by taking the two main pattern pieces and putting them together.  Then I pretended the top of the two skirt pieces at the back of the original pattern (down to the second adjustment line) were the bottom of the upper back piece (basically to lengthen it).  Similarly I adjusted so the main piece stopped at the lengthen/shorten line and at the front rather than arcing round to the back (as I already added that piece onto the back).  Then I made the top as instructed but ignored the bits sewing the skirt back and skirt to upper back and skipping straight to sewing up the sides.

It was a really interesting exercise in changing a pattern for me (having only made a few items of clothing I have not really done this before except to lengthen and do the usual cut big and narrow in).  I don't know if it was as successful as I would have liked - probably partly due to the heavy weight of the fabric and also mainly due to my lack of understanding of how seams would work when I was making them up at the bottom of the side seams.  I ended up with some odd flarey bits and had to spend more time faffing than I wanted to in order to pull it in and make it look more like a top should.  In the end I got a top which I wore out that night to dinner, which I will also wear to work, in a lovely colour, so am not really complaining!  Definitely inspired to do more stretch sewing and I would like to make this again in the lighter drape jersey spandex to see how much of the difference was the fabric versus my incompetence.  I thought about making the sleeves more sleeveless too so I might try that next time.

All up not bad for an experiment!

Zpaghetti bag for Kate

A bag for a friend...

I haven't really posted much since we went to the Melbourne Quilt and Craft Show.  Interesting trip really.  I found some amazingly lovely things such as some lovely printed linens from Duckcloth and also some Zpaghetti.  Both of these fit my criteria for projects I wanted to get on with, interesting new materials and things we don't get down here in Tassie.  I was a bit disappointed with the rest of it mind - there didn't seem to be as much in the way of really nice wool and also the quilts themselves for the most part just didn't really grab me.  Perhaps I am a bit more aware of what's out there than I was the last time I went...

Anyway on to the Zpaghetti.  This is "yarn" made from the off-cuts of the garment industry.  Think t-shirt fabric in a gorgeous array of colours, some with patterns and some plain.  They are fabulous.  My only concern was needing to get a 0.8kg "ball" of the stuff home on the plane (measures about 21cm high and maybe 18cm around, though I am totally guessing those dimensions from memory so they probably bear no relation to the actual...).  I ended up buying a kit for a bag which came with a ball of the yarn, a handle, a closure toggle and a pattern.  And this was the result:


I was pretty pleased with it.  Is it lovely to handle - kind of rigid but soft to the touch at the same time.  A detailed shot of the toggle closure:



All up this thing was sooo quick - with a 12 mm crochet hook it was done in a couple of hours (and that included me faffing about getting used to it and making up etc.).  My only complaint would be that the kit came with a hook which was wooden (which I normally prefer) but which seemed to make it harder to work than the plastic one I happened to have from Spotlight.  That might be a personal thing though - I tend to err on the side of slippery as possible for crochet hooks but more grippy for knitting needles.

I modified the pattern ever so slightly to include a pocket inside for a phone (just by double crocheting - in UK terms - a square the size I thought it should be a long with a bit of a seam allowance).


And above is a truly terrible shot of that pocket.  I added that because I haven't found a bag which didn't need a pocket.  I don't have a phone cover and don't really want my keys and phone screen in close contact. Otherwise the pattern was cute, easy to work and well explained.

So a nice project finished and winging its way off to my friend in the UK.  The colour is kind of in here at the moment so am hoping it's the same in the UK.  I hope she likes it, we don't have completely the same taste and I worry that this won't be one of the cross over things and she might hate it.  Always even more of a worry when I get my act together and make something and especially so when it cost more than the raw materials to send the damn thing!

I am definitely going to order more Zpaghetti soon (when I have finished off enough stuff to not feel indecent doing so) - I saw a lovely pattern on Etsy for a dinosaur shaped bathmat made out of t-shirt yarn / upcycled old sheets or similar which might have to be next for the young man...It also makes great placemat and coasters with the added benefit of being washable (a must in my house).

Now we just need someone down here in Tassie to start stocking it so I don't have to pay postage!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where have I been, I ask myself...

So I have been suspiciously quiet for all of August but really I have been busily making stuff but failing to finish much.  I have made Vogue 1250 in deep red (haven't hemmed the bottom),  most of three amigurumi bunnies (not yet complete), a zpaghetti bag for a friend (done and posted - more on that later), two quilts (one nearly bound and ready to reveal soon) and a modified Vogue 1250 in teal for a new top...phew!  I have actually been busy then...just not finishing and blogging!

Got me thinking about how much I would like more time for all this though.  Every other sewing and craft blog I read seems to have posts at least once or twice a week and often they are things like "I got this fabric today and am going to make this pattern" and then two days later they post their finished article.  It takes me weeks.  Seriously.  Weeks and weeks.  Is it the fact I have to go to work three days a week? (seems unlikely)  Is it the small people? (probably)  Is it that my sewing room desperately needs a reorganise (again) and that I need to discipline myself to finish things off rather than viewing nearly there as good enough but then not using the thing as it's not finished? (definitely).

Where does this leave me then...feeling guilty about not doing enough when the first paragraph above shows that I am really getting a lot done.  So it's all about the organisation and the focus from here on in.  I will do the following (in the following order):
  1. Post about the two things I HAVE finished and photographed asap.
  2. Make a list of unfinished projects and prioritise them.
  3. Make a list of planned projects and prioritise them.
  4. Stick to the plan.
Of course you note that the above doesn't tackle whether the lists created in steps 2 and 3 are to be completed in sequential order...no fun to start no new projects until *everything* is finished.  And perhaps not so practical either.  I have two issues (well, perhaps three) I think, as follows:
  • The first is that I do different types of making stuff at different times - so I sew in a class on Thursday nights and sometimes at the weekend if I get a chance.  I would like to sew more but it's hard to have the machine out with the nearly-two-year-old around and  I can't really leave him and his sister to their own devices and run off to sew (sounds nice though...).  I tend to knit or crochet more when they are about and also at night-times when I couldn't possibly get out of my seat to sew and I need to watch True Blood at the same time.  So by definition the way that I use my time means I must have more than one thing on the go simultaneously.  
  • My second issue is that I don't have enough time to make everything I want to (laughing as I type this because I am not sure anyone in the world does...unless they don't want to make stuff I guess).  So I am happily doing something for me or the kids just because...and I realise someone's birthday is coming up.  And I have a good idea for a present.  And I am going to make it for them...you see where this is heading...
  • My third issue (which I don't want to own up to) is some sort of compulsiveness that means I want to make stuff that I see and think is a good idea RIGHT NOW.  And if I don't do it I will lose the idea and the world will end.  I may need to work on this.
So this is long and not really of interest to anyone but me perhaps. Time to stop and go and make some lists.  If anyone happens to read this and has the answer to all my problems (note:  giving up work totally is the answer but I can't make it happen!) then feel free to let me know.  Otherwise I will just revisit this one in a few months / years and laugh that I remain in the same boat.

Its a good boat though really :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilt and Craft Fair Excitement!

A small group of us are heading up to the Quilt and Craft Fair in Melbourne this coming weekend.  This year the Tassie version was up in Launceston, so it seemed a good time to branch out to the (apparently rather larger) Melbourne stop instead.  I am torn between wanting to be focused and restrained in what I buy (I have a rapidly growing stash of both fabric and wool and perhaps should finish some more things off before buying yet more to start yet more...!) and wanting to make the most of the opportunity.

My shortlist is therefore as follows:

1.  I definitely want to make some of these:

http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/07/jelly-roll-floor-pillows.html
I generally don't go for jelly rolls but these look fantastic and a jelly roll is nice and compact to fit in the luggage home...
    2.  I might want to try and get some wool for my own version of this:

    http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2011/4/16/elegant-granny-style-the-granny-stripe-blanket.html
    I definitely want to make this but perhaps am better off getting the wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills or Garnstudio or similar - they seem best value and this might be a bit bulky to bring home?

    3.  Maybe some crochet cotton and beads for some of these:

    http://greeneyed.com/2011/07/diy-beaded-bracelet/
    Last craft fair I got the crochet flower bracelet kit that I made for a Issy a little while ago and she loved it, so this might be a nice thing to make for her and her friends perhaps.

    4.  Definitely some dress fabric shopping - top of the list is jersey ruffle to make a maxi skirt, then also nice linen, denim, stretch knits etc.

    That seems like a restrained list to me - one for each of my hobbies (quilting, crochet, knitting and sewing) though clearly item 4 has more than one purchase in it :)

    I also want to look at yo-yo makers (have seen a few cool things made of or partly with yo yos recently), templates and books.  I saw a post about Knook (knitting with crochet hooks) which was intriguing!  I might have to look at bits and bobs too, like eyes for animals as they are well expensive here.  Perhaps that's enough?!!!