weekend workshop

On Sunday I went up to Tacoma in the Melbourne foothills to Foothill Fabrics and Threads – the home of Leanne Beasley –  with a good friend to do an apron sewing workshop. (you can even see a picture of me on Leanne’s blog – and underneath the apron is my awesome handknitted 50s style cardi!)

Now I can sew – I can follow a pattern and put stuff together and make 3D objects from flat pieces of fabric, but it was nice to go to a class and learn some new techniques which can be applied to other items besides aprons and to hang out with some not-knitters (mostly quilters and patchworkers) and generally begin to appreciate why i probably should press my pieces BEFORE i sew them (fine, fine, I get it now!)

I decided to make an apron for my mother for christmas, since when i mentioned the workshop to her she reminded me that all good aprons should have pockets!! With E’s help I decided to do my first stitchery on the pocket! I used to do cross stitch a lot as a child (and this has actually inspired me to FINALLY finish the winnie the pooh xstitch i started over 4 years ago for my little cousins) but I haven’t even stitched onto a proper existing fabric before. But E showed me how to trace the pattern i want and we picked out some thread and i spent sunday and monday nights finishing it off! I managed to sew up the rest of the apron during the class so I only had to sew the pocket on, wash and iron it… and here it is!

finished apron

finished apron

pocket embroidery

pocket embroidery

I’m really happy with it and i think she’ll like it. I’m now also planning two more! one for myself which I’ll probably not get round to till after xmas – with a kitteh and my name on it. the background will be a mid to dark purple with diagonal lines of paler purple flowers, the pocket will be a pale purple with little grey and purple flowers on it, and the stitchery will go on a plain cream before going on the pocket – i might even make a double pocket!

and one for marmie for xmas, even though she’ll tell me off for it! I’ve picked out this gorgeous fabric wih oak leaves on it, and will embroider an owl and ‘marmie’ on the pocket for her.

I hate to think how much i spent *sigh* I deliberately didn’t ask for the total and just chucked a bit of money back in the account when i got home. but mum sill had to rescue me today! ooooops. still, it was worth it to totally learn how to a) make an awesome apron b) do a stitchery (i can always borrow E’s lightbox to trace the image – i even have keys to her house!!) and c) put fabrics together for that sort of project.

while i was there i also asked Leanne about some fabrics for a bag – a sequel to this one made from her pattern!

a bag for knitterly things

a bag for knitterly things

she ended up agreeing upon the combination i had selected, so that will be made sometime soon so i can have 2 knitting bags – I will make the handles longer though – and maybe it will just be my new bag? who knows!

so (ha!) those are my sewing adventures in recent weeks. but that being said, there are many many things i want to sew before i travel next year!

I have already cut out a gorgeous 50s style dress which needs sewing up

I have material and pattern for a 50s fullskirted dress

I have material and pattern for a maxi dress – which i really need for summer

and i have material and pattern for a kaftan style dress – again i really need it for summer (and this one will hide mah belly!) – and that one is TWO summers old!! *sigh*

it never ends!

PS: one more xmas present off the list

Kates bowtie scarf in pure baby alpaca

Kate's bowtie scarf in pure baby alpaca

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adventures in spinning

as i mentioned previously, I’ve been spinning a lot lately – mostly inspired by my lovely gift from Knitspirations on ravelry.com – two beautiful tops – and a trip to visit charly at ixchel where i purchased a new spindle and beautiful angorino top (and have since purchased another one, plus some more tops from Ewe Give Me The Knits!!)

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

new spindlemaker spindle - mulga wood

I’ve been spinning undyed (which is starting to boooooore me) because it’s cheaper and i can experiment with dyeing it. And I’ve taken up the spindle to finish of the packet of sample fleece i got ages ago from sunset fibres on etsy.

So I looked up some great videos on you tube and practiced on both my spindle and wheel. I’m getting more even, but i’m still a bit thick and thin and have trouble maintaining a single any smaller than an 8ply (which means my plied yarn is very bulky)

here are some photos!

merino single, drop spindle

merino single, drop spindle

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

silky top (not sure of the exact composition - but nice long staple) spun on the wheel

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

my first plied yarn. 2 merino singles wheel spun

There’s another skein of this sort of weight 2 ply currently drying. I will re skein the two together and get a meterage. I’m considering making the dumpling bag from interweave knits from this for my friend – hand dyed in her favourite colours!

Things i have learnt

– how to predraft properly. in order to get an even fibre I really can’t afford to skimp on this bit.

– how to draw out the draft while i’m actually spinning – not a lot, but enough to thin out some of the ‘thick’ bits.

– i need to find a better way to guide the two singles when plying in order to get a more even twist in both singles

– i’m still over spinning a bit in some places, particularly on the wheel.

– i like having a notch on my spindle, especially when they’re as beautifully smooth as the spindlemaker!!

I really want to try navajo plying – especially with my coloured tops, in order to keep the colours even.

I have some raspberry and fuchsia merino i want to spin and then ply, in order to see what the two singles are actually doing.

i have plans to spin the more orangy of these two rovings into a skein for my friend for christmas. hence all the practicing!! Of course it’s important to remember – there ARE NO SPINNING POLICE lol.

a fibrous gift

a fibrous gift

so it’s almost christmas…

and i fail at craft blogging! I fail at blogging all over the place pretty much… but that’s because it’s very hard to type with yarn/fibre/fabric/needles/hooks in your hand!

I started making christmas presents about a month ago, knowing that i would feel happier getting them out of the way early. for christmas day we’re having a secret santa type set up, so i’m only giving one official present to the ‘other half’ of the family, but I’ve still made a few extras, plus a few for family members to buy off me to give to other family members! how awesome is that

So for my own spirit of christmas I have made:

2 seahorses for my cousins aged 5 and 7

seahorses

seahorses

a beautiful alpaca silk scarf for my aunty sue – one of my official secret santa presents

alpaca silk scarflette

alpaca silk scarflette

a pair of burgandy mitts to match the hat i made for mothers day, and a hand embroidered apron for my mother

evangeline mitts

evangeline mitts

a tea cosy for my grandfather

diagonal cosy in noro silk garden (226)

diagonal cosy in noro silk garden (226)

a pair of adorable little mitts for my cousin aged 16

Twee mitts

Twee mitts

a beautiful bookmark for one of my best friends and a beautiful striped crocheted scarf in pinks and green for another of my best friends (no photos – they might see!!)

for others to give to people, I have made

A hat for my grandfather to give to my older cousin

Kates beret

Kate's beret

A pair of face cloths for the little girls

)

E + J = 🙂

2 sets of wine charms for my mother to give to people

charming

charming

colourful

colourful

a set of felted bowls for my grandmother to give my mother – I’m still a bit uncertain about this one, if they don’t work out, my grandmother can give mum the fingerless gloves and i will just give her the apron.

and still to make (!!!)

a hat for my father out of zara wool – beeeautiful stuff

a skein of handspun for one of my best friends (I’ve been practicing like mad!)

a felted bag for one of my besties (possibly from hand spun)

a scarf (same as my aunt’s) from alpaca for my cousin – I’ve been planning this present for ages and I’m going to give it to her dammit – even if it’s a ‘late birthday present’

a hand embroidered apron for my grandmother.

a crocheted cuff for a friend

a market bag

arrrgh still so many to make! lol

Some of these can’t have pictures, because then the people who they’re for might see them!! but i have photographed everything, so all in good time.

and then there’s all the stuff i’m making for me lol!!