Saturday, July 21, 2012

Loveliest Day!

So I have tonsillitis :(  Happily this is a secondary infection to the cold I had a few weeks ago, so it's not accompanied by all the cold symptoms.  Even more happily, I have codeine and live in a lovely place (I mean Tasmania, not the place you live in when you have codeine hahaha!).

So despite my best efforts to do nothing but be crook and sit on the couch...today was just a lovely day.

There was cardboard castle building with the kids:
The Castle

The Obligatory Dragon
Issy's picture of her brother as a knight 

Beaded trim on the ramparts (what else?) with the picture of the knight's horse

And a wander in the garden while collecting lemons:

Hellebores
Grevillea
The secret camellia
Lemons, mint and poorly placed raspberry canes (I have hopes regardless..!)
The boy collecting lemons
Pink azalea

A coffee at the beach (hot choc for the kids):


Me and my dudes

The happy doglet

The happy kidlets

And some knitting on the couch too! (Oddly enough not pictured...considering this is a blog for sewing and knitting and crochet!)

Am hoping to finish off the day with some gentle sewing or knitting and then score a lie-in tomorrow - despite being unwell this could be the perfect weekend :)

The loveliness of sewing machines

I suddenly find myself as the owner of four sewing machines (and an overlocker).

FOUR? FOUR???

I don't know how that happened but I am extremely lucky that three of them were gifts and the fourth was second hand.  I recently took the three (non-electronic) to a local guy who services them and he gave me lots of information about the older machines - I was surprised how old they are.

Having them all out made me think that a sewing machine tour was in order, so here they are:


This was given to me by my mother-in-law when I first started sewing.  She didn't use it anymore and I must have whined sufficiently about the logistics of sharing my mum's machine.  I haven't used this since I got the Bernina, but am planning to use it with Issy instead of the world's worst "toy" type machine.  I really want to get her the Janome Hello Kitty machine mentioned in that post, but it seems extravagant when I already have this basic Janome sitting there doing nothing.  Plus this way I don't have to wait until Christmas to do some more sewing with her :)

Next is my baby:

Notice a small child added a sticker to the case so it's now an iBernina?
 I bought this second hand from someone who had been cleaning out their mother-in-laws house.  It came with no accessories box (and therefore only the 0 foot) which meant it was really cheap.  I have just bought the feet I want over time, as I needed them.  I LOVE THIS MACHINE.  It is the best thing ever and it will be hard to ever use anything else.


My next machine is one I am going to try and start using much more:




This was given to me by my mum, who bought it second hand a long time ago.  She hasn't used it much recently and has a Bernina for normal sewing so she thought I might like it (no shit!!).  The sewing machine guy looked up the serial number and apparently this is a 1927 or 1928 model.  I was gobsmacked - I didn't realise it was so old.


Apparently because these don't do zig-zag, they sew straight fantastically well, particularly in the realm of heavier duty sewing.  I don't have a treadle table for it (yet...on the hunt!) but this has been retrofitted for electricity so am ready to rock.  I know that machines need to be used to keep them in good working order, so another resolution is to make sure all these three get a good run every now and again.


Finally, the only machine which isn't really in working order.  The guy said it will run, but only slowly.  There is apparently too much "play in the shuttle" for it to really work again properly.




This is a Davis machine and it is just so beautiful.  He thinks it is very old (Davis went bust in 1924 and weren't making heaps of machines in the period before that as they had mainly switched to bicycle production). He think it is a collectible antique, being so old, and while it doesn't work; it is well preserved I think. Check out the lovely case:

Ignore the piles of mess on the sewing table downstairs :)
 This machine is just beautiful to look at and have around really.  Eventually I would like my sewing room to be smick enough to have this out on display somehow, but for now I will stow it away and oggle it every now and again!







Thursday, July 19, 2012

I must, I must, I must finish this stuff!


Though nothing finished off to actually report...

Much in the way of super organisation-ness this week over here.  I have been annoyed for about a month by the number of projects on the go (which are getting in the way of the projects I want to do) and the number of times I open a cupboard to get something and find a number of other totally random things shoved in there the last time we tidied up to have someone round...

I have decide to finish off (in order...ish):


  1. Marcus' jumper from Bouton d'Or (picture above).  Is it done; bar blocking, sewing up and a bit of neckline ribbing which is added post-construction.
  2. Replacement of laundry basket (not even blogged yet as a work in progress)
  3. Cardigan for Oscar, my friend Jennie's new bubba (a Sirdar pattern but can't find a nice picture)
  4. Renfrew top with first ever FBA (yet to blog)
  5. Knitting bag for me - made up pattern from weird Hatami Japanese mattress webbing roll thing I bought at the craft fair

They aren't strictly in order as I tend to do sewing at different times to knitting, so perhaps one might finish sooner than the other just due to circumstance.

I also have a friend who is very close and whose birthday is 24th July.  I would like to make her a clutch bag for her birthday but not sure I should try and fit that in among everything else!

I will be disciplined, I will be disciplined...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Crafting with Thing One

We got Issy a pretendy sewing machine for her birthday.  Part of doing that was that I was going to be World's Greatest Mother and do lots of sewing with her - how idyllic?  Everyone and everything would be cooperative and shiny and lovely.

So at which point did I think that buying a craptacular pretendy toy sewing machine would be a good thing?  What I really wanted was this:

But I couldn't find anyone then who would ship here (though excitingly I just did!).  What I ended buying as a stop gap was this:


Which is just awful.  It's kind of cool, in that it works off two bobbins, it has a light, a variable stitch length, forward and reverse and slow/fast mode.  Except that it's not cool.  Because I use a Bernina.  And it spoiled me for everything that isn't the world's greatest sewing ever.

Ignoring the above, what was super cool was how excited she was to do this with me.  She did some cutting out (with The Good Scissors):


And some actual sewing, though she liked doing the pedal operation and keeping her fingers away from the needle.  I may have been over zealous in my warnings regarding the ferocity of the needle :)


What really impressed me was how strong an idea she had about what she wanted.  I wanted to make a reversible skirt with one of the (hideous) prints she chose on one side, and the other (marginally less hideous) on the other.  She had other ideas.  She didn't care about reversibility, but wanted a pieced skirt with one print on top and the other for the lower half of the skirt.  She was disarmingly forthright about showing me with large gesticulations how things should, and shouldn't be.


And we ended up with this:


This is absolutely the worst and absolutely the best thing I have ever made.   It was worst in terms of fabric choices and execution (it is shockingly made) and absolutely the best because she chose it, designed it and mostly made it.  It's crappy beyond belief inside and she doesn't care.  I love it :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Finished! Cardigan for Issy

I have had this "finished" (knitted, blocked and made up) for at least three or four weeks now, but was stuck as to what to do with the closure.  This was started here, really quite a while ago...but is finally, finally finished!


This is the bolero from my Bouton D'Or knitting book.  It is a rib design with some slipped stitches in between the ribs and a picot crochet edging.


Here is a sleeve edge showing the close up of both the pattern and the edging, both of which I really like.  The pattern called for a tie closure on the front flaps of the cardigan, but I thought it let the pattern down.  It looks shoddy compared to the rest of the garment, plus my small person is only 5 and the tie would be beyond her a bit.  So I added a snap:


The snap still isn't ideal.  She tends to try and yank the thing apart which obviously puts a lot of stress on the yarn around the snap, but we will see how it goes.  I can slightly see the snap from the front, so am tempted to add a decorative button perhaps.

The cardigan is a little on the large side for her now, but am intending that this fits her well into summer and maybe even next winter.  She was quite pleased...


And is getting slightly better at modelling things for me, though am not so keen on the untucked look with this one - it's definitely a smarter cover up than we normally wear in winter.


I also love the colour on her - the wool is Bendigo Woolen Mills (discontinued) Melody in Dusky Pink and is beautiful.  It was great to work with and has lycra in it which I hope means this will keep its shape when washed...fingers crossed!

The pattern seemed pretty good too, though I have to say these patterns are harder to follow than anything I have ever attempted.  They don't print every line, but do a lot of "increase each side 2 stitches every other row 2 times, then 6 stitches 8 times" action.  This can only be handled by my obsessive write everything out method, which is good because that's what I do anyway :)



I am really pleased with this and she is just so unbelievably lovely and looks so beautiful that I couldn't be happier :)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kinder Girls for Mia and Lucy

This is the last time I will put myself under this pressure.  The eternal: I *should* make something for these kids birthdays.  It's lovely and exciting to make things for people, but my daughter wants me to do some sewing with her and both the kids need trousers as they are growing like weeds.  I need to do a bit more creating for us and when I do it for others I need to stop putting myself under (self-imposed) deadlines for their birthdays or similar.

Having said all that - these were really good fun to make:


This is the kinder girls pattern from vintagericrac (scroll down past all the other lovely patterns to see them).  The pattern has three different girls in it (hair differences only), plus the clothes.  


The hair is really all that separates the different versions, though there is a clothes pack and a kinder boys pattern so you could have one with a dress on, one with trousers, one with separates etc.  I made mine with slightly different brown hairstyles - they are for two sisters so I was aiming for difference without causing fights :)

The "pink" doll has lighter brown hair and has a pink flower in her hair, mainly because I buggered it up and there was a gap between her face and hair which I couldn't easily stitch.  I also managed to kind of scorch her face a bit when trying to iron some fusible web on to fix my error, so she looks a bit like she has a made make-up job going on.  The kidlets didn't seem to care...

The flick hairstyle seemed to be considered more desirable in the 5 year old girl world, but I secretly prefer the darker brown bob style on the second doll:


The other hairstyle in the pattern was shortish pigtails but they seemed like more effort and maybe more prone to being pulled off the head by the two year old recipient.

I embroidered their faces and don't think I did the greatest job as I was rushing, but they generally look pretty cute and the girls in question liked them.  The pattern called for buttons but I didn't see them mentioned anywhere in the instructions so that was a bit confusing.  In the picture on the front the dolls kind of have rosy cheeks at the end of their smiles - I suspect this is the buttons in action.  Again time constraints and also the two year old factor meant I left those off.


The doll dresses are reversible and give lots of opportunity for glamming them up and giving them different looks with trim and changing fabrics etc.  I kept it fairly simple with the "pink" doll having toadstool print (pink bodice and blue skirt) on one side, with pink ric-rac trim, and pink and white spot on the reverse with white ric-rac trim.  These both went nicely with her soft pink felt cardigan.


My laziness dictated that she is flashing you the reverse side rather than me turning the dress around properly.  As you can see in this shot - they have built-in undies which are not removable :).

The red doll had some of the left over fabric from Ava's duvet cover, using the A Walk in the Woods range.  I used the blue with red lines for one side, with a trim of gathered red ribbon.  That trim was an experiment but I really like how it turned out.  I might add it to a skirt for the small person or something, though am not sure how well it will wash...


The other side of her dress was the grey with red toadstool print, with a trim of red gingham ribbon.  Again these went nicely with her cardigan.  Most of the fabric, pattern and the like came from Frangipani Fabrics in Sandy Bay, Hobart.  They have a few of the patterns (I also bought the disco bots and some nice felt to make them up in) and also have examples of the patterns made up so you can see what you are buying and how they turn out.  They had a good range of pure wool felt which is in gorgeous colours and good deals (5 for $12 or similar) as well as doctors flannel / calico to make the bodies.  Having a shop where they have made the dolls already really helped with fabric requirements and choosing things.

In general this pattern was really straightforward and I will definitely be making it again.  I already have a request from my small person for a doll like Mia's, and I think I will make her brother a disco bot at the same time.  Maybe stocking fillers at Christmas? 



Most importantly, the girls loved them and carried them around everywhere after I gave them their doll presents, which is what it is all about in the end :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2012 Craft Fair (Sydney) trip - what I bought...

So last year's craft fair was interesting to me.  We made a trip (from down here in Tassie) to Melbourne, and I was interested in the craft fair itself.  I wanted to buy a jelly roll and also ended up with some screen printed (I think) linen and so on.  See the other post on what I wanted to buy and what I ended up doing with it / what I bought...

During that trip I also visited the store whose blog I happened to read.  A place called Tessuti fabrics.  At that point I didn't know much about much and just wanted to pop along to see if they were any good. This year, things were different.  With a cupboard embarrassingly full of quilting fabrics, I don't need or want any more of that action right now.  I lust after Lotta Jansdotter's Echo range, but I know by the time I got some and thought about it and made the quilt, the echo "thing" would be over.  I should have got them when I first saw them, but I didn't.  Meanwhile, after three quilts in two months over the Christmas period, I am over it for now.  I have a quilt plan in my head for a couple of special small people (not mine) and maybe am hatching another idea for us, but for now, it's all about the clothes.

So this trip to the Sydney craft fair, I wasn't sure what I would end up with.  From the fair itself, the answer is...not much:

The vast majority of what I picked up wasn't even fabric, but was hardware (?notions?) for bag-making.  Ignoring the bracelets in this picture (from the Seed sale) the remainder is craft fair fare.  The bag frames were a $5 a piece quilt show special, and the handles were $10.  These things are sooooo expensive down here (I paid $16.95 in a local shop for the same thing from the SAME company recently) so I just grabbed heaps of them while I could.  The zips were a frivolous "no idea what I will do with these" buy, but again - we get precious little in the realm of interesting zips down here so I had to get in there while I had the chance!


I bought this one lonely piece of fabric - so here is a much better picture of it.  I have no idea what I will do with this - but the foxes grabbed me and for some reason I couldn't put this down.

The other thing I bought was a strange bag kit.  Last year I bought some zpaghetti and made a bag from that, and I was very close to doing the same this year as I love that stuff.  However, I was going to come back to them (only because I didn't want to lug the stuff around) and suddenly I happened upon a Japanese stall with these Hiro Tatami rolls (no idea what it is) which is kind of like more pliable webbing stuff which comes in rolls (shown on the bottom left here - much depleted).


You sew this stuff together in strips with the seams on the outside and kind of twist and fold the seams to get a kind of funky different look.  I can't really explain this very well but I like it.  I am making a knitting bag - I bought their smallish messenger bag kit but am going freestyle to make a wider, shallower, deeper knitting bag with all sorts of coolness inside.  I hope.  Or I am going to make a total fuck up.  Not sure yet :)  The other fabric and handles were bought here since I got back and the fabric will be the lining.

So all that was left was a little triplet to Tessuti.  I could just live in that shop!  It's way too expensive for me to afford in normal life, but I didn't overspend at the craft fair and frankly...why come all this way and not look at the decent dressmaking fabric which we don't get?

From the remnants table - the first place I hit even despite the above sentence:


Going from far left in a circle we have:  heavy blue denim (about 2m), brownish stretch jersey (2.5m), cotton drill in beige (1.5m), cotton brown with pink spot, blue linen, striped lining fabric.  I can't remember all the prices and lengths, though they will come up when I post about using them.  All up I spent a little over $130, including the nice stuff below, so these were all pretty cheap - at least half price.  I have a plan for the beige drill, which will be pants for Marcus (growing like a weed), but will take my time with the remainder, and see what comes up...

And finally, the worst picture ever of the really good stuff:


This really is a ghastly picture but I didn't seem capable of a better one.  The two grey spot linens will make a summer dress for Issy, and hopefully some funky trim or binding on something else too.  The stripe is a shirt cotton which is such good quality it feels like silk.  I didn't get much of this (it was $34/m) but it might also go with the spots, or be trim for something else.  I originally wanted to get in on the spots and stripes competition but then realised they want a standard size 10 garment - no point for me and my kid isn't that grown up yet so nevermind.   I don't have the time or dollars to make a garment no-one will wear for a competition I will likely never win.  I love the competition and the prize, but if I were allowed to make something I will fit into I would be seriously more likely to enter!

The other soft beige herringbone linen is for me!  I am going to make a pair of soft and casual-smart shorts (turn up, maybe button tab detail) for me for summer! Hurray for me!

All up a lovely trip, though I am surprised by the massive u-turn in my interests since last year.  Am really interested to find out what I want out of next year's trip!