Random Craftiness

Hello my beautiful crafty types.

I apologise for my silence -many reasons, but mostly because whilst i’ve been busy doing things, I’m not sure which of them to tell you about!

Would you like a post about Tasmania? The housemate and i went there last month and whilst there is a supreme plethora of novelty yarn in Tassie, we did manage to find some delicious yarny goodness to bring home. Yes? Ok I shall post about that soon.

In the meantime, I will tell you some random things…

With the arrival of warmer weather, I have gotten out the sewing machine in earnest.

I bought some beautiful silk chiffon to make Chantilly from Colette at the fabric place in the South Melbourne Markets. It was the end of the roll so she gave it to me for $10pm! I couldn’t bring myself to cut it yet, but i did trace and cut out all the pattern pieces and make sure i could get all the pieces out of my fabric. Which i can! yay! so that project will be happening soon.

In the meantime, I decided to finish off a project that has been hanging around since 2008! Remember the apron workshop i went to? Well, as well as picking out fabric for aprons for my mother and my grandmother, I also picked out fabric for my own apron. I found some images on google, used Leanne’s letters and created a stencil for my ‘name plate’ and embroidered it and cut out all the pieces before it all went into storage last year. So all i needed to do was sew it all together!

I apologise for the weird colouring. It’s purple not blue, but can’t seem to get a good shot of it!

This photo is more true to the colours and you can see the kitties!

The very observant amongst you might notice the stray fibres on the apron – this is because it is going to be a crafting (namely spinning and sewing) apron, rather than a cooking apron. It’s too nice to get food all over, and it means i can spin loose fibres, or unpick things, or lay things on my lap without getting my clothes looking any more fibrey than they already do with 2 cats in the house! There’s also useful pockets and the pocket at the top will be primarily for tissues so i don’t always have to stick them in my bra!! (stupid sinuses)

The other sewing adventure in recent times pertains to a certain Cabaret i am performing this week! (if you’re in melbourne, please, come  along). I bought a new corset at Antons (I only have crappy photos so i won’t share yet) and decided (because i am CRAZY) to make a knee length circle skirt to go with it. One trip to clegs and an awful lot of money later, I had some GORGEOUS silk satin and italian lace… Thanks to a circle skirt tutorial from Ruffles and Roses – and a little bit of pinning from my awesome house mate – I now have this…

The lace is unhemmed at the moment and is likely to remain so since it is sitting at a really nice height compared to the hemmed silk now. It won’t fray so as long as i trim any loose bits is should look neat. I used the scalloped edge of the lace fabric to create the waistband. I’m really proud of that!

So already planning some more sewing projects. The wrap dress I asked your opinion on a while ago, the chiffon dress, a maxi in gorgeous light aqua silk with a grey and white print on it, plus all the projects that have been sitting in my sewing box waiting to be made. Sadly patterns and fabric do not mate in the dark producing gorgeous wearable offspring. I have another maxi, a shift dress, a 50s dress and a 70s-ish dress in 3 fabrics all ready to be made, plus a houndstooth 50s/60s style shift cut out and only needing sewing!

Meanwhile, the knitting and spinning continues… but this post is getting long, so next time, k?

All my friends are having babies!

Well, only two of them this time, but it’s the third baby in 2 years from my group of friends – and this particular couple’s second!

I love hearing that friends are expecting because it’s means i get to knit cute, tiny, adorable things for them (and they’re quick too!).

 

baby presents!

 

M + G had a little girl almost 2 years ago, but didn’t know or announce the gender, so i got to pick my very first baby outfit from the ‘gender neutral’ range. Luckily i had had my eye on a gorgeous rowan pattern, which was available free on their site for a while – Zoo*. BabyOne was due in January – mid summer here – so I worked it in Naturally Stella, a fingering weight bamboo, in cream and chocolate with a purple elephant.

 

(apologies for WIP photo but it is all i have!)

 

I have it on good authority that it was well loved and worn until it simply would not fit anymore and has been passed on to very good family friends… and so the love continues to go around! BabyOne also received my very first pair of booties – the ever popular Saartje’s Booties* – and the look on her dad’s face when i presented them to him was priceless. As he now knows – yes babies really are THAT tiny!!

M+ G announced the imminent arrival of BabyTwo earlier this year and have stayed constant in not knowing/announcing the gender of their baby. Again the little one is due in summer, so another vest seemed the best option since it was so popular last time round. I wanted to do something with the same kind of whimsy as Zoo and so when i came across the Owl Baby Vest*, it seemed like a great choice – except that it was knitted for a size 9 – 12 month… hmm… solution? knit it in a beautifully soft 4 ply cotton and wool blend of course!

I also made the vest longer than recommended to extend the life expectancy a little bit – after all, babies GROW! The yarn is Heirloom Capri 4ply and it was absolutely delightful! This took me just a sssssmmmmidgeon more than a ball for anyone wanting to make similar mods.

This little BabyTwo is getting a real treat though… remember i mentioned the baby cube at the stitchery weekend? Well, I finished it! I’ve worked it all in bold colours, and sewed and stuffed it today – my first sewing of summer, and indeed in the new apartment!

I kind of love it a lot! The hardest part was actually making sure every face has all 4 coloured tabs on it (which they do). That was some spacial awareness thinking right there! I also HATE blind stitching, but managed to close the turning and stuffing gap without it looking too bad! And it actually rattles! Melly (of melly and me) provided us with a quality jingly bell as part of our kit and so it makes a soft little tinkle – hopefully not enough to annoy mum and dad too much! I’m really pleased with this as a gift, since BabyOne can use it to show of her word and number skills, while BabyTwo can jingle it and nom it like a wild thing.

The other baby i’ve had the pleasure of knitting for is another little girl, who has just celebrated her 1st birthday! yay! Whilst i was unable to attend the celebrations, I did knit an impromptu pair of socks for her when her parents brought her to visit melbourne earlier this year, and of course she received a welcome to the world gift too! There was absolutely no doubt to the gender (there’s an embarrassing ultrasound picture going up on her 21st birthday party photo board!) so i got to think pink and knitted the sweetest little blossom dress* in bamboo and cotton (seriously, someone have sex in spring would ya? I want a winter baby to knit for!).

I embroidered it with dmc floss – some lazy daisies! – and used a plain old ribbon for the ties. Unfortunately it was waaaay too big for her, despite my knitting the smallest size and she only got around to wearing it this winter – over undershirt and leggings, stylin’ little thing that she is!)

SO that’s the babies under control for the moment. I wonder who will be next?

 

*ravelry links.

Stitching the Day Away

Last weekend i went to a stitching retreat with the lovely Es of Penelope Waits. Stitching (a more free-form type of embroidery) is not usually my thing, but it sounded like such a lovely day and it was such a personal and lovely invitation to do something with my darling friend that away we went!

Well it was an absolutely lovely day.

It was held at the Immerse winery near Yarra Glen, hosted by Leanne Beasley of Leanne’s House, and Rosalie Quinlan and Melanie Hurlston of Melly and Me. Included in the day’s price was delicious food, a glass of wine or bubbly and materials and patterns for three adorable projects.

A project designed by each of the hosts

Es and I both started on the stitchery pouch, although in hindsight i should have started on the baby toy cube (which i have now done) as it’s going to be a PERFECT present for some friends who are expecting! We both purchases some extra colours, since the rainbow supplied was a bit, well, bright. Es went for her usual muted english garden colours while i went for a different kind of bright – rich jewel tones.

I learnt how to do 2 new stitches, which was very exciting. Chain stitch and satin stitch. They’re not very neat yet!

There were a whole lot of show and tell moments and a few give aways – one of which i won! very exciting! It was a selection of fat quarters from Rosalie’s new fabric range, which i promptly gave to Es since she will get much more use out of them. I think she was pretty happy about this!

Some of the show and tells were just amazing! most were quilts, but some were handbags and runners and pillows and of course, Es showed off her fabulous cross stitch designs!

We stitched and ate and walked and chatted to the lovely people around us –  a little like knitters, but a little more old school crafty 🙂 All in all a lovely day!

I came to realise though, that i don’t stitch so much because i need to look at it – i find it a little more solitary than knitting, where i can look around and make eye contact. I do enjoy it though and i’ve been keeping on with both projects i’ve started and am even thinking of stitching a little something for someone for christmas!

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

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!!