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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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!!

a long time, no write… but plenty of craft!

So, I have been very quiet, spending much of my time volunteering at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival and working at the fabulous Wool Baa. mmm. I love my job!

I found out a few weeks ago that my friends are having a baby! This will the first bubs in my circle of friends and I’m very excited. I made my first pair of baby booties! I used Saartje‘s very famous free booty pattern, which is quick and adorable and knitted in Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino in a beautful teal colour – very gender neutral. the buttons are little red buttons that i fished out of my big grab bag of buttons. They took me a saturday evening of Gilmore Girls and Tea

I’m also planning on knitting Zoo from Rowan. I’m going to do it in bamboo in chocolate and cream with a pale purple elephant. ELEPHANT!!! i wonder if it’s appropriate to ask that the recipients of a baby top return said baby top when the child has grown out of it…

I managed another ‘saturday evening’ project this weekend, crocheting for myself Gem from Kim Hargreaves ‘Heartfelt’. I’d ordered some kidsilk night from the fabulous folks at cucumperpatch and it arrived on Friday, so I bought the kid classic to match up with it and off i went! Here is the result and I wore it all day today!

It’s VERY warm. The beads on the brim are just little pale purple seed beads. My friend said the kidsilk night made it sparkle like it had been rained  on or it was dewy, which is just the right amount of sparkle XD.

I’ve now also done Calm from this collection, in Jo Sharp’s mohair, but I’m yet to take good photos of it.

I must say that while I LOVE kim, i find i need to add more in the sleeves. I did this with calm and even then it still pulls up a bit short, so I’m tempted to knit some little ruffly cuffs in kid silk haze to wear underneath to add length – would also be useful under my cherish.

Speaking of which it is now Spring! which means it should be just right to wear Cherish soon – the problem with it is it’s too warm to wear inside, but it’s still too cold outside in Melb to wear the bolero without a coat – and the big wool is just too thick to wear a coat over! so it needs to be cool enough to wear outside, but warm enough to not need another layer – hello spring! I do love it though and want to wear it more!!

my current WIP is a jo nathan design from her Merino Deluxe DK book, though I’m working on it in Zara. mmmm Zara. photos to come… I’m also working on a beautiful baby alpaca scarf which I have a feeling i will wear CONSTANTLY when it’s finished!

Yesterday was the Melbourne Etsy sellers meet. I had a fantastic time and met some fabulous people, some of whom are on Rav, which is great, and all of whom I have favourited (or will when i dig out the business cards!) and genuinedly favourited too, I really do love everyone’s stuff. Made me feel a little inadequate and unoriginal really. I’m also now struggling with the copy cat bug! everyone’s ideas are so great it’s hard not to want to experiment with them! does anyone else have this problem? the only thing I’ve borrowed (?) – expanded upon (?) is kalliopi who makes fabulous button jewellery. I was making up a package for a raveller who loves buttons and i made some stitchmarkers with buttons instead of beads. I liked them so much I made a few sets. So inspired by, but not really a copy…

I am really excited about the next one and I must say I picked up a lot of business tips and ideas too, which is great.

Speaking of etsy there are now some ‘manly’ things on there, something I’m working on. There’s a gorgeous black and tan scarf and a reversable rib beanie. I’m also trying to make a bit of a niche for myself with knitted flower accessories, like hair clips and brooches.

I’ve been getting a lot done, but I still feel like there are things I need to finish – primarily because i either have everything i need, or i’ve actually started them. Mainly this is sewn items – including the dress I’ve actually cut out and need to put together. I cut it out in May… lol.

Anyway I will leave you with two things. The first are some little felted birdies that need a purpose… ideas are welcome. The second is a link to the most hilariously awesome thing i have ever seen on etsy made by fellow melbournian jellibat.

the best soft toy ever made...

Squids!

I have had a few requests (well, 2, but i feel that any more than 1 request for this particular item is worth noting) for squids for birthdays.

My friend nett put me on to hansi singh’s adorable squid-a-licious pattern asking me to knit her one in colours of my choosing for her birthday present. She bought me the pattern and a handful of others as my own belated birthday present, so it only seemed fair!

So, I present Squidy the First!

squid I

When i mentioned this request to another Gemini/Cancer cusper i know, she too requested one for her birthday present!

and so i present (apologies for the poor photo) Squidy the Second!

Squid II

it’s hard to see him, but he’s a maroon purple with green underside and green pupils. This is one of those times where i actually feel my first effort was the more successful of the two, but I do actually enjoy doing these!

I also knitted an owl (one of the other patterns I received for my birthday) for my grandmother for mother’s day (may). She loved it. I knitted it in a silk tweed in pinks. strange colour for an owl i know, but it suits him. Apparently she kept picking him up and looking at him and putting it down again. 🙂

Owl

Next – Seahorses!

A whole new craft!

(precursor – I apologise for not updating in AGES, but I can’t craft and type at the same time! – yet!)

Well, I can now cross one thing off my ‘things i want to learn to do in 2008’ list…

I can crochet!

I bought a book at work which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn (from a book) – Learn to Knit, from Patons Australia. It uses Jet, a 12 ply and Inca, a 14 ply (bulky weight yarns) so it’s quick and easy to see what you’re doing.

I bought it on a Wednesday, took it on a plane with a ball of yarn and a plastic hook and by Sunday I had made these:

The hat is made from Jet (and will be available on my etsy site as soon as I have some better pictures of it) which is an Alpaca blend so beautifully warm. I would keep it, but the style doesn’t suit me at all!

The scarf is made from a soybean/wool mix and despite being a tad rough, i love love love love it and wear it at least once a week! It goes with ALL my purple things and is super warm.

There is also a crochet scarf available on my etsy (after i made one for me!)

I splurged and bought The Happy Hooker (Debbie Stoller’s crochet book in the Stitch n Bitch series) and have the yarn for a couple of the bags from it. I’ve also favourited a pile of patterns on ravelry, including the prepster blazer, the crocheted skirt and the cold-shoulders capelet, which i have some gorgeous mohair I bought on sale i want to use up on it!

I’m also now waiting for Sensual Crochet (and Sensual Knits, Scarf Style and Nicky Epstein’s Knitted Flowers) to arrive from the UK. I’m hooked!

(boomboomching)

Crafty Lady – chapter 2

Welcome to Chapter 2 – THE COW!

I ordered this kit from sunsetfibers on etsy and it arrived on Thursday, along with some roving (yummy).

I started making it on Friday (procrastinating of course) and finished it on Saturday afternoon whilst drinking a cup of tea after the adventure of getting the spinning wheel (see chapter 1)

This is my first time needle felting and the seller provided excellent quality needles and great instructions for the cow, as well as general tips and tricks. I loved doing it. I only stabbed myself a few times (they are SHARP) and i could watch TV (didn’t look up a lot) and i found it really really calming and relaxing. There’s something lovely about violently stabbing roving and making it into shapes…

so anyway, I highly recommend the craft and I WILL be doing more of it (there’s a GORGEOUS little book I want) and here is my cow!

read on for chapter 3 – Crafty lady’s life!

Hello world!

Welcome to Armed with Needles. Despite the ominous title, this is merely the blog of yet-another-crafter who uses various knitting, sewing and beading needles to make it through this thing we call life.

My weapon of choice is the knitting needle and I have been knitting ‘seriously’ (ie developing a stash and buying knitting porn) for three years. I have been sewing for about the same amount of time, getting my very own sewing machine in 2005. Beading is much newer craft for me, and I’ve been making stitch markers, jewellery and other odds and ends for about a month.

I have a penchant for knitting porn (read books and magazines) and yarn with a particular love of Jo Sharp and Rowan. Not that I can afford them very often, my budget tends to be more Cleckheaton, which I also love, but not in the same drooly kind of way. I have a very inquisitive mind and I’ve recently started spinning on a drop spindle, taking my fibre fettish to a whole new level!

I have a site on etsy and you can view my wares at binkaboo.etsy.com and I go by the alias binkaboo on Ravelry. I also have a livejournal and World of Warcraft account. I’m a bit of a net-a-holic actually and I love my computer- all my best friends are in it!

In the real world I moved to Melbourne, Australia from Adelaide, Australia, three years ago, ostensibly to make my fortune (*snerk*) as an actor. I am yet to get my ‘big break’ and in the meantime have earnt myself a Master of Arts and recently worked for a totally awesome theatre company. I am currently considering an alternative career in Arts Admin – if I can’t be the art itself, I can still help make it.

I live with my two babies (burmese kitties) who love my knitting fetish as it gives them opportunities to wreak havoc in the most dramatic way possible.

Peruse, engage, enjoy

Jen