Thursday, March 22, 2012

WIP - on the needles

This is the first year I have got my act together been a bit organised about what I might want to make for the upcoming season (winter).  In the knitting realm I am making the kids a couple of jumpers / cardigans each, plus some things for me as follows...

What I want to make for Marcus (all from this Bouton d'Or French knitting book):

Very cute and stripey and hopefully a quick knit, plus one of the ones below (not sure which yet).  Probably the zippy one in the middle on the left, though I like the beige coloured one the kid is wearing in the picture too.  I even have the wool bought for the stripey one, which represents supreme organisation for me!

For Issy, I want to make one plainish (but looks lovely) cardigan like the one below.

And again - I already have the wool (a total score at Evandale market).  I think this looks snuggly without being super bulky, partly due to the shape around the bottom edge.

Excitingly, I am nearly finished the bolero the girl is wearing below:

As you can see I am using a Bendigo woolen mills wool (Melody in Dusky Pink - sadly a limited edition which isn't around anymore).  It has a bit of lycra in it, which I am hoping means this will keep it's shape well.

I love the colour and this pattern is elegant and girlie without being super complicated to knit, aside from the part where I had to email the pattern publishers in French to check their pattern was wrong.  It was, and I worked that out from their reply (also in French) which pleased me greatly!

The shot below shows the colour of the wool much better

And here is a confession of sorts...does anyone else have to do this to keep track of where they are in the pattern or is it just me who obsessively crosses off each row?

Finally I purchased two rather naughty patterns for me (not yet arrived) from Purl Soho.  I bought the Julie Hoover "Chaleur"

Picture from Purl Soho site

and also their perfect fit socks:

Both of which are rather naughty purchases as I have heaps already which I should be doing, but I have wanted the socks for ages and the top is just divine.  I hope it looks that good on me!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Gorgeous new bag from "scraps"

It's maybe a bit of a stretch to call this a scraps project - it is made up of leftover bits of linen from my sister-in-laws quilt, but really the pieces I had left were quite large :)

This is the free Amy Butler Blossom Bag pattern, made up in Duckcloth linen (mostly Boardwalk in Peacock - doesn't seem to be on their site anymore so may be out of stock?).  I got the pattern from Sew Mama Sew, but I think it's available from a few places.

It's a pretty generous freebie - a large handbag or shoulder bag with magnetic snap and several divider compartments, one which is zip closed.

Note my impressive zip compartment above :) 

As you can see I made the interior a plain-ish dark teal cotton.  I really was using up what I had here so am pretty impressed with the results.  I had to slightly alter the handle construction so I could make each handle from two strips (as I didn't have enough of the linen to make both sides), and have the lining fabric was on the inside of the handles.

Similarly the end pieces were made up of other bits I had left over - this is a snippet of the Rose Peacock and Seaweed which just seemed to look nice.

Sadly on the other side, I mucked it up and fused the peltex to the side with the seaweed on going back after doing that!  I used it anyway and already I don't especially notice, so it's all good :)

Now that I am over being so impressed with myself I guess I should talk a bit about what is good and bad in this pattern.  I guess the main bad is really also the good - it's a loooong pattern and quite complicated in construction.  This is not the bag you will whip up in an hour, and it's worth planning a bit before you start to work out what you have and what you might need.  While I have always found the fabric yardage required on Amy Butler patterns to be exceedingly generous, there are lots of bits to cut and if you are working with scraps or trying to fussy cut for a particular look, you need to plan it carefully.

I have to say I enjoyed the process and would probably make this again (with appropriate energy and mental awareness!).  When I tell people I made it they are quite surprised - even when they already know I sew stuff, because it's so detailed and substantial.

Some of the construction is pretty cute: 

However...there are a few downsides to this pattern.  Number one issue is the sheer thickness of layers to be sewn through at various points in the construction.  Peltex is seriously thick (this isn't really a criticism as it is needed for the substantialness I noted above as a benefit...) and at points there are 4 layers of peltex plus several layers of linen (the pattern calls for medium weight upholstery fabric so following direction wouldn't remove any thickness here I don't think).  I have a great Bernina 1130 which is a pretty awesome machine - I don't think many other machines in normal sewing rotation would handle these layers, and to be honest even the Bernina balked at the side pinched bits where you sew in the dividers.  So perhaps some caution or adjustment needed here!

I must have mucked up the handle construction as they look great when holding the bag but not so great when they fall down and expose the raw edges.  I suspect this is my bad, but I will have to go back and sew across the handle further up.

 So all up,  I love my new bag.  It is definitely gorgeous, definitely worth making and has definitely got me a whole bunch of complements :)  Importantly, it's also a great bag to use - sits on the shoulder nicely, has heaps of room inside without appearing oversized when on and easy to find stuff in.  If I could change anything (aside from getting an industrial sewing machine) I would add a small cell phone type pocket onto the lining inside, just to add to the many compartments, though I haven't missed it enough to really bother me.

So that's the back of that project (hahaha - I actually think I am funny).  Nice to make something for me and something so great looking from a free pattern and scraps - I even feel virtuous for using what I had to hand :)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The end of the quilt marathon - mum's "zen" quilt

I have never wanted to brave making my Mum a quilt.  This is not because she is particularly fearsome or wouldn't love anything I made her, it's just that we have slightly different tastes and I didn't to make her anything she didn't love.

A while back she was flicking through a Better Homes and Gardens magazine and she made a passing remark on how lovely a quilt was in it.  'Ah-ha!',  I thought...I have her now!  I had a closer look and then feigned interest in the young girl type quilts which were on the preceding pages.  I asked to borrow the magazine for those, she handed it over and the promptly forgot it :)  My plan was in place...

Fast forward some time later with her birthday approaching, and I made the quilt in a slight variation on colour to match her room colours better:

This picture isn't so great due to the usual nighttime issues, but as you can see my version is a mix of blue, purple and green, which is fairly heavy on the purple.  The original was more blue and green but Mum has light purpley lilac curtains so I added a lot more of the purple.

Most of the batiks were purchased online, with supplementary from The Patchworks in Hobart.  I have never been drawn to batiks before but gained a new interest in them from making this quilt.  I am not sure they will feature super heavily from here on in, but I did fall in love with some.  I already bought more of the blue which is down at the bottom left in the above picture to make Issy a dress for next summer.

The backing was another batik which Patchworks had on special for half price and of which coincidentally there was just enough left on the bolt.  It is a lovely organic ferny print and I am quite glad I have various off cuts.  I made the quilt big enough to go on the bed but not cover the pillows, with the idea that I would also make some bed head type pillow covers out of the remnants.  I didn't hand quilt this one at all though I originally intended to - it seemed like it would just be lost and unnecessary among all these detailed prints.

Mum seemed to love it, which is the main thing.  The other thing for me is that this signalled the end of the quilt marathon (one for 10th December, one for 26th January and one for 7th March) - all queen bed sized or bigger.  This might not seem like a lot and in fact I also managed to do a whole bunch of stuff in between (fabric baskets, knitting, kids clothes etc).  Still, for me this has been a period of deadlines which I am mostly glad to leave.  It has made me productive but its sometime nice to take them time too!  :)

I do still have another few quilts coming - I have already thought of an "overlocked" (/serged) quilt I want to make for a friends son, so that might be in the works soon.  Meanwhile it's all knitting, more fabric baskets for the yarn stash and dressmaking for me in the foreseeable.  Happy days :)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another birthday, another monster...

Following up from Harry's Monster and Mollie's was recently Tobi's turn.  The kids in question are three from the same family, so obviously Tobes couldn't be left out!

Another from the same book - The Big Book of Knitted Monsters (bought by their mum who doesn't knit - how's that for a hint!):

As before this pattern was easy to follow and to knit up.  I think the result it pretty cute (in a scary monster sort of a way...clearly!).  I used spotlight wool (Moda Vera pure new wool in orange and blue - as you can see).  The mouth is just felt cut into shape and stitched on.  The pattern calls for craft glue, though I just can't bring myself to do it for some reason.

As with the others, I crocheted the eye patch rather than knitting (seemed a lot easier...).  The only issue I really had with this monster was how small he was, though to be fair, he is the size stated in the pattern (I just didn't read it!!).  He is tiny!  About 15cm tall or so, though that didn't seem to worry the lovely 4 year old (or 1 year old depending on your viewpoint, he is a February 29th baby...) at all.  It was lovely to see him pleased with his pressie and also to see his siblings run off to get their monsters too once he was unwrapped.

A nice quick knit and a super pressie for a small person :)