Monday, December 23, 2013

Crochet Star Garland

I have previously posted about making crochet ornaments for the school fair. I enjoyed making them so much, I decided to make some for us. I used The Royal Sisters patterns, which were easy to follow and gave great results.


I made several snowflakes in white and stars in red and in red and white butchers twine. I then made three garlands which were intertwined a bit randomly.

It was rather hard to photograph:



The stars / snowflakes were stiffened with a mixture of glue and water. I experimented with sprinkling them with glitter but it was messy and overkill.  They look lovely on their own I think



Merry Christmas :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Ornament Swap

Amanda at Ellieboo suggested a Christmas  ornament swap, which is now an official tradition!


I totally lucked out with the most gorgeous set of felt ornaments plus a melting snowman and two snowmen chocolates ( not pictured as the kids already ate them! )


I love these ornaments so much - the stitching is super neat and the colours are gorgeous! I feel like I might have done better out of this than my super swap partner Amanda, given how quick the crocheted snowflakes I sent her were to make :)

My two favourites are below - they are just so beautiful



 Despite my scrougeyness I am now firmly in the Christmas spirit!

Thanks Amanda :)





Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Snowflakes Ornaments for the School Fair

I do have other things to share but my camera battery died so some crapola poorly lit pictures from the phone will have to suffice.  Have been crafting busily away for the school fair, and one of the things I have been making is Christmas ornaments based on this pattern.


They look a bit crap in these pictures, but are actually quite lovely.  I have been experimenting with different yarns and combos - some are plain wool, some are wool with sequins in it, others have either sparkly or shiny coloured thread in with them.  While I would like to say less is more, it does seem like you need the really luridly sparkly stuff to make an impact.  Also, I plan to block these with glue to stiffen, which will dull them slightly, so bling-ier is better (blingier is so totally a word now...)


Here is a close up of one which has been blocked - they certainly get more shape and definition.  Now I just want to make about 1000 more until it's out of my system!


Now I just need to figure out the best way to hang these onto a tree - ribbon, more twined / plaited yarn or some other sparkly cord stuff are the current choices...

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

KCW 10/13 - Day 1 and 2: Angelina Ballerina Tiered Skirt

This Kids Clothes Week is going to be a super boring effort from me.  I am aiming to do mostly sewing for the school fair, so there will be many versions of the same few items...

Today and yesterday I started production lining some simple 3 tiered skirts from some Angelina Ballerina fabric I have had for yonks.

Tiers ready to rock

I have cut out enough for four skirts - sizes 2, 3, 4 and 5.  I nearly reconsidered the smaller sizes but I checked if Issy (aged a very grown up six) still liked Angelina and she said "yeah not really".  A little piece of me died inside :)

A larger piece of me nearly karked it when I experienced the ultimate panic of my 0 foot for my Bernina being missing.  MUCH frantic searching and swearing ensured.

0 foot trying to hide...
Where's Wally?

It had fallen kind of down the side of the foot case to make me look stupid for looking everywhere else.

These skirts are pretty simple.  I serged the strips together, plus top and bottom of the top and bottom tier.  Then gathered each layer to match the one above and serged them on.  The top is folded over at the line of overlocking / serging and then over enough to make the elastic casing.

Hemming AB Skirt

The bottom hem is turned up at the serging and then folded over again and topstitched down.

I worked out the most simple formula I could for cutting - with the top tier being fabric width (about 40"), the second tier being 1 1/2" inches and the bottom tier being two widths.  I think it could stand more, but they are just to sell at the fair, I have no idea if anyone will buy them so don't want to put heaps of effort in, and this made cutting easy.

I only finished the size 2 tonight, but have the other tiers serged and ready to gather and attach.  They are pretty cute for a quickie effort :)

KCW Oct 2013 - Tiered Angelina Ballerina Skirt

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Things I don't like but everyone else seems to...#1 Liberty

Welcome to my new series "Things I don't like but everyone else seems to...".  As a nice person (I believe), I wasn't sure if I should write this series.  Then I realised I was taking it all far too seriously and as long as I remember Wheaton's Law (Don't be a Dick) I will be fine :)

SO - on to the series.  Note there will likely be few or no pictures in these posts - they are just me wittering.

Things I don't like but everyone else seems to #1 is a biggie.  It's liberty fabric.

I can hear the collective in-drawing of breath and shaking of heads.  It's obviously a failing in my taste as everyone else raves about it, but I just don't get it.  I like some of the prints (mostly if they are small scale and colours I am drawn to) but mostly they seem outdated or too busy or just too floral.  Classic liberty for me is just meh. I don't hate it, but I don't understand the serious love there is out there for it.

Phew!  That wasn't so bad!  Anyone else out there not digging the Liberty?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sew Sweetness Park West Bag - or my most growned up-ist bag ever!

I recently had the chance to pattern test the Park West bag from Sew Sweetness (coming soon!)

Like all of Sara's bag patterns this one is well designed and a great looking result.  Her bag patterns have been raising my standards and techniques with each one I get to test, and this one was no exception.

I decided to step it up a notch in this one and take the gamble on making it mostly (for the exterior) out of leather!  I have always wanted to work with leather and am well aware that two of my machines (1927 Singer and Bernina 1130) would have no issues sewing it.  I wanted to replace my main black "work handbag" as it is looking tired and the clasp doesn't shut anymore.  So naturally I went into Country Leather in Elizabeth street and found an amazing, soft, printed leather in brown tones...no black bag for me this time!

Beautiful Singer sews beautiful leather...

Both my machines did super well with the leather and other fabrics and here is the result.  I am in love :)


I used the leather for the main exterior panels, an upholstery remnant for the accent pieces, base and inside.  I went with the optional purse feet and did my own thing for the straps, which was a mistake as they ended up bulkier than they would have been otherwise which caused me problems all of my own making when attaching them (FFS..will I never learn!).


This was the first time I have done what I was told in the pattern and ordered By Annie's Soft and Stable to use as a stabiliser.  Previously I have used some fusible fleece or wadding - and I noticed a distinct floppiness in my Aragon bag which is annoying me.  I know why now!  I think for this leather one it would have held itself up fairly well anyhow, but even so I am glad I used it for this bag. It's such a great product (no I have not received any incentive to say this, though free Soft and Stable is now something I would sell myself for!! hahahaha) - I have used Peltex 70 a lot in bags and thought that was the schizzle, but this is better as it doesn't hold a crease like Peltex (which still has it's uses mind...).  As I live in Australia I ordered mine from here - it came pretty quickly (3-4 days) which is as good as it gets down to Tassie.


Overall this pattern is great.  The bag is a nice size and I love the recessed zipper


Now back to sewing stuff for the school fair...sigh!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Sew Sweetness - Aragon Bag

I recently had the chance to test the Sew Sweetness Aragon Bag Pattern.  I love this bag!

This is a nice big bag, with heaps of pockets.  It was suggested as a good nappy/diaper bag, which I think would work wonderfully.  I am very happy to have two kids, so it won't be used as that for me!


My version is a Kaufmann essex yarn dyed linen, with embellishments of a Japanese dragonfly fabric and a random red piece of something (no idea what) I had in the stash.

Annoyingly, I think I stuffed up in the choice of interfacing.  Sara uses something called By Annie's Soft and Stable (see here for her information on this) in her bags.  She gives a good description on potential substitutes, which in other patterns seems to have gone well, but this time I think I should have erred on the side of more firmness.  It's my fault for using what I had to hand rather than seeking out something more foamy.  So my bad is a bit more flobbidy (technical term) than I would like.

It also doesn't look like much in these pics - but in reality the fabrics look amazing together and the whole bag is pretty schmick even with a little softness.


I did a few bits outside the pattern, such as the piping on the front pocket (above), and the two tone straps.

One new technique (for me) in this pattern was the treatment of the zip.  You essentially make the gap for it to go in and then stitch it in place.  I like how it looks and tried to deliberately leave a similar width of lining visible around it (it is possible not to but I though this was cool).



 All up I like this bag a lot and it will be very useful (even without baby stuff to cart about the place!).


Monday, August 26, 2013

Lovely "Yellow Brick Road" Cowl, for the lovely lady

I love the lovely lady who gives me lovely massage.  I can't begin to describe how much I love her.  I love her in many ways...

Firstly, she gives me lovely massage.
Secondly, she is just a lovely person.
Thirdly, she and her lovely massage (which to be honest is less than lovely at the time), are the only reason I can still even contemplate knitting.

I think in order, those reasons actually go second, third, first, in priority terms for me.  When I realised that item two on that list was the reason I loved her most, closely followed by item three, I knew I needed to make her something.  That, plus her truck sized hints about loving button up neckwarmers.

Leanne_CowlButtons2

I made the Yellow Brick Road Cowl, which you can find here.  This pattern is lovely and an easy knit.

Leanne_CowlStraightButtoning

Here it is on Jesse.  In traditional form.

I chose Cascade 220 (100% Peruvian Highland Wool) for this pattern, from The Stash Cupboard here in Hobart.  The original link to this pattern has many ways to wear it such as this awesome way:

Leanne_CowlCollarButtoning

And also my favourite way - which is this:

Leanne_CowlHorizontalButtoning

I like this cowl / neckwarmer.  It's easy to make and lovely to look at.  The buttons are from a local fabric shop called Frangipani Fabrics and are very pretty. They are a bit less yellow than they look here (more photos at night...) and more of a pearly cream.

I gave this to her last week and she was super pleased.  She seemed to love it generally and she very much loved the colour :)  I think she likes it, which is the whole point on this one!

Hooray for sharing the crafty love :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Action Kivu - donation time!

Just a quickie to say I just gave to Action Kivu - a charity helping women and children in the Democratic Republic of Congo through various initiatives to send children to school and also via a sewing workshop.

I can't imagine anything better than enabling people to make a living and secure place for themselves and their families via sewing and education.  If you feel that way too - please head over to Handmade by Alissa and donate.  There are some amazing prizes just for donating, and the fundraising drive ends tonight (US time) - so be quick about it!

Sew Sweetness Peas and Corn Lunchbag - Pattern Test

The lovely Sara of Sew Sweetness is quite clearly the bag queen (that sounds better than bag lady...).  I was lucky enough to pattern test her latest bag pattern, the Peas and Corn Lunch Bags pattern, and it didn't disappoint.

This pattern includes instructions for the (pictured) round lunchbox, a square top lunch box and two reusable snack bags.  


The zip top lunchbag is deemed advanced, with the round lunchbag being an intermediate pattern (I think the snack bags would be confident beginner probably).  I chose to make the lunchbox out of oilcloth which I had to hand.  Having never worked with oilcloth before, I decided to make the intermediate bag :)

Overall the pattern was well thought out and easy to follow.  I love the little hints to make things go better and I am really pleased with the result.  I would be happier if I had in fact followed one of the hints to keep the shape more regular which I chose to ignore :)  One day I will learn to believe that people writing patterns usually know better than I do!

I have since made one of the snack bags (will be covered in another post) and  that was also well thought out.  It is a simple zipped pouch but was constructed in a different way to how I normally would, so that was interesting to make and I liked the construction.  I really can't get enough of Sara's patterns, so far both of her patterns that I have made have been a step beyond the usual home sewist patterns and I think the resulting bags are very professional and great to sew.

I can see myself making heaps more of these and also trying the zip top version too.  Sewing with the oilcloth was pretty straightforward, though obviously thicker and more rigid than other fabrics might be.  I had to be super careful pressing it, but the extra effort was definitely worth it for the expected longer life of the bag and the fact it can be wiped clean.

Now I just have to decide which of the three people who have staked their claim will be the lucky recipient!!!



Monday, August 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me!

A lovely lovely day and an amazing set of presents including:

Birthday_Bag

This gorgeous Fossil bag from Nick and the kids

Birthday_Ring_Closeup
A great ring from my sister (sorry - ghastly picture...)

French_Curve
A French curve - also from Nick and the kids (more on the plans for using this later...). It arrived from Tessuti, beautifully wrapped in a pattern piece from some McCalls pattern - great packaging!

Birthday_Bubbles

A nice glass of bubbles and a new Breaking Bad :)

A family and friends party on Saturday and lots of love and cuddles from the small people (not pictured).

What more could anyone want?

Haul from the craft fair (Melbourne)

For the last two years (three including this one), I have headed off somewhere to one of the craft fairs somewhere else in Australia.  We get one here in Tassie but there tends to be fewer stalls and to be honest, it's a good excuse to go fabric and other shopping elsewhere :)

I have yet to revisit the previous posts on the craft fair - I like to check what I was planning and whether I fulfilled any of it in the intervening year, though it can be depressing!  I will do that later...meanwhile - here is the haul from this year, complete with grand plans for most of it :)

(That's an Australian twenty cent piece for those who might know what that means in size terms!)

Black_ItalianWool_Cleggs

This does not photograph very well at all (and to be fair, it was snapped in poor light...).  This is Italian wool and is black with a kind of textured stripe which is just about visible in the above picture.  Amazingly, this was $20 a metre at Cleggs.  I plan to remake my "smart" winter coat in this, potentially by unpicking the existing (veeeeery old) coat to use as a pattern.

Grey_ItalianWool_Cleggs

This is also Italian wool from Cleggs - it looks a bit brown in this picture but is a lovely soft grey colour.  This will likely be a skirt - see a later post for the plan in this regard :)

NanoIro_DG_Kelani

This is a Nano Iro double gauze, a remnant purchased from the Kelani Fabrics stall at the craft fair.  It's a piece measuring 85 x 110cm and is a bit more purpley in the flowers than it appears.  I am not sure if that's enough for a top so it might have to be combined with something else for a top or skirt for summer.  OR I could make something for Issy instead, though it seems a *little* extravagant to make a six year old clothes from Nano Iro double gauze...particularly when I don't have any :)

Teal_Knit_Tessuti

This is a teal knit remant from the table at Tessuti.  Apparently it's faulty but I can't find it yet...It measures 1m x 145cm which is a sizeable piece and is a merino wool / modal blend, which makes it possibly the most awesome fabric in the whole world.  It feels amazing. I will be making a top for ME out of this, though I don't know which one yet.

Echino_Cars_Kelani

This is awesome Echino.  It is brown and aqua rather than black, as it looks in my really terrible picture.  This will be something for Marcus, though I haven't yet decided what.  It measures 70 x 110cm and was another Kelani remnant from the fair.

Echino_MustardSpot_Kelani

More Echino.  Again, likely something for Marcus, though am unsure what.  Would summer shorts made from this make him look too clown-like?  I think maybe a cuff of this combined with another fabric to break it up a bit perhaps...it's a more mustard colour than it looks in that picture and is 95 x 110.

Butterfly_Laminate_Kelani

I am possibly most excited by this fabric (well maybe a tie between this and the Italian wool...).  Soft grey butterfly laminate from Kelani again - I nabbed two fairly sizable pieces which should be just enough to make the Oliver and S School days jacket as a raincoat for Issy.  Totally stoked.

CottonLinen_Shirting_Tessuti

Another Tessuti remnant which photographs truly appallingly.  It is actually an off-white and soft bluey grey colour, rather than nicotine yellow and charcoal as it looks here (I know I could have done better with these pics but am tired and it's my birthday, so you have to cut me some slack!).  This is Japanese cotton and linen blend and has the most lovely hand.  I scored a huge 290 x 113cm for only $31 (in.SANE.).  I will probably make Marcus a shirt (or four) from this - though am wondering whether it's enough to make one instead for Nick...we'll see.

So that's the fabric haul.  I bought a few other things for me (boots...yay!) and generally had a lovely time catching up with friends, eating out, swimming in the lovely pool and generally having me time.

Hope that wasn't too dull, but the haul is never to be skipped over :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

KCW July 2013 - Pyjamas for James

Finally - the finished pictures of my only KCW "summer" 2013 efforts.  Some "proper" pyjamas for my nephew James:

KCW_July2013_Pyjamas for James_Full

Overall I am quite pleased with these, though I don't know if they fit him yet (arrives tomorrow!).

The top is Butterick B5586, which I picked up in a discount bin in a fabric shop in Brisvegas when I last visited (that's Brisbane to non-Australians...).

KCW_July2013_Pyjamas for James_Collar


The last PJs I made for him were the pants only, with a (purchased) t-shirt top.  Apparently he loved them but did express a desire for Harry Potter style pyjamas (everyone else hears "cute request", I hear buttonholes...sigh!).

Overall I am happy with the top:  I did lots of super finishing on it like for the pants, to make it as nice as possible.  However, the crappy fabric I used (flannel, Spotlight, nuff said...) was "out" so the lines didn't match the grain.  I could either cut with the grain and have it look out, or cut with the stripes and have it be out. Rock meets hard place.  I went with looking right and being out, but of course it doesn't quite sit right (see the pulls around the arm).  I really hope they are still comfortable!

The pants are similar to what I have done before - the Oliver + S Sketchbook Shorts, lengthened to make into pants.

KCW_July2013_Pyjamas for James_Cuffs

I decided just to ignore my mistaken buttonholes and made new ones for the buttonhole elastic.  I put them on the outside (under the theory they might be uncomfortable on the inside) and hopefully that makes them more likely to fit nicely.

I also decided to cuff the pants in the same fabric in a contrast direction - I am really pleased with how they turned out.  It looks really cool and the pants are finished very nicely (if I do say so myself!).

So that was all I did in KCW but it was all I planned to do and it turned out well, so I am pretty satisfied.  Hopefully next time (Spring for us, but it will be called Autumn KCW) will be a good time to crank out some volume of summer clothes.

Meanwhile - I am off to Melbourne this weekend for the craft fair and some gentle fabric shopping :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

Not KCW (camera fail) but cute kid stuff anyway...

I wanted to share my finished pyjamas for KCW "Summer" 2013 (my one and only project).  Sadly the camera battery is beyond flat (I may have left it on....) so I have to be patient and will show you something else I have been meaning to blog.

BunnyWrappedUp

This was my present to a good friend having her third baby (a lovely little girl).

First the bunny:

BunnyFront

This is from Debbie Bliss:  Booties, Blankets and Bears.  He (I somehow feel this bunny is a boy, despite the pink accents) is made from gorgeous Milla Mia yarn, from The Stash Cupboard here in Hobart.

BunnyBum

He has a cute little tail, made with a pom-pom maker and more of that gorgeous wool.



Swaddler

I made this from some super soft knit (the outside grey and white stripe) and a snuggly flannel with sheep on it from my stash.

The pattern is simple to follow and it looks useful - I must follow up with my friend to see if she is using it (I haven't seen her as much, given the newborn baby!)


Swaddler2

The swaddler opens with velcro, which lets you make it tighter or looser easily too.

Both of these projects were really fun and quick to make, and my friend seemed really pleased.  She sews like me, so the snuggler is something she could make herself, but she doesn't knit - hence I am really pleased to have made her something she can't make too!

That's it for now - hopefully back with my only KCW project soon :)


BunnyStanding