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.

Advice please…

There’s going to be a few posts over the next few days – isn’t that exciting?

first things first… I’m trying to make a decision.

I bought this awesome fabric on special (just at spotlight, but isn’t it so me). It’s a jersey knit kind of fabric (pretty sure it’s just polyester, but it has a lovely drape) and i know i want to make a dress with a sort of 70s-ish feel to it but i can’t find the right one!

I have these two in my collection (i’ve made the one on the right before and it’s an ok pattern – very drapey and has once or twice been accused of being a dressing gown!!). I would need to make a larger size than last time though and it may not suit as well now.

The one on the left i can’t say too much about except i like the style and it doesn’t seem to complicated. I would be looking at doing the highlighted version.

Online I’ve found a few more possibilities…

1) 2)

3) 4)

They’re all available as immediate downloads from sewingpatterns.com or as paper patterns (except no. 2) which i’ve found reputable in the past… but i just CAN’T DECIDE!!! what do you all think? I’m leaning towards no. 1 from sewingpatterns.com i think, but would love your weigh ins!

A Dilemma

On Wednesday I had tea and cake with penelope_waits at Hausfrau (<3) and i delivered to her the two Colette patterns i had ordered for her. Eager to undertake this clothes sewing business (Es is an amazing quilter, but hasn’t made clothes from patterns before), we headed to one of her favourite fabric enablers (Patchwork in Malvern) and I was somehow talked into making my own Beignet (in the most adorable fabric ever). In retrospect this was probably not the best idea. Despite the allure of Es and I both sewing our skirts, learning and chatting and drinking tea, we overlooked the problems of sharing a sewing machine, space and a pair of scissors. Basically it meant everything took twice as long and also the sewing machine decided to act up for poor Es everytime she re-threaded her green thread! (it was fine for me, which made me feel terribly guilty!)

Aaaanyway, I managed to get all the machine sewing done on my skirt and am left with a few handsewn things to do (belt loops, belt and buttons) but have a little bit of an issue. As you can see in the link above, this skirt is designed to be a high waisted skirt with the hem above or on the knee.

As usual, despite measuring myself, choosing the appropriate size and pinning and trying on at every turn, this skirt, like SO MANY OF MY HOME SEWN THINGS!, is TOO BIG! *sigh* seriously, this always happens with my sewn things. Often I can just nip a few seams in, but that’s a bit hard when the thing is lined and faced and all those things. (at least there’s no zip!)

There are two ways i can proceed from here.

option a) I can sew the buttons on as directed which would result in a skirt that sits on the top of my hips, with the waist at my belly button like so:

option b) I can cheat the buttons across to the front side seam to create an asymmetrical fastening (probably using press studs on the other side of the front panel to keep everything flat and smooth) which means the skirt sits on my waist, with the top of the waist hitting my bottom ribs like so:

There is a possibility the fabric may say NO (as you can see it’s puckering a bit, but not sure how much of this is because of the pins) and i should/may be able to iron it into submission. I removed the ‘darts’ in the front seam cos i hate them anyway and sewed those seams flat instead, so that shouldn’t really be a problem.

thoughts? opinions? the good news is they’re buttons. If i do it one way and hate it i can try the other way. of course i don’t really want to unpick and resew 12 buttons!

apologies for crappy mirror pics… and yes this room is green. very green.

Happy New Year!

It seems to be a bit of a thing around the crafty blogs to celebrate the end of the year with an acknowledgement of one’s crafty achievements.
To that end, here is a mosaic!

2009: A Year in Finished Objects

1. diamond vest, 2. Cotton Shrug, 3. Folded, 4. chevron scarf, 5. jc’s socks, 6. cable cars, 7. dashing mitts, 8. sarah’s present, 9. oceanic, 10. ocean traveller socks, 11. opera scarf, 12. the embroidery, 13. shetland mitts, 14. mrs beetons, 15. rosy fire socks, 16. mum’s beret, 17. ms marigold, 18. dad’s cabled fingerless gloves, 19. table runner, 20. sage mitts, 21. helen’s shrug, 22. blue beetons, 23. xmas trivet, 24.  bags

Created with fd’s Flickr Toys

The Mosaic has 24 images, but there are at least four projects from the year that i don’t have photos of, although three of those are ‘duplicates’ – ie patterns i’ve done before – the bowtie scarf, Mrs Beetons (yep, another pair) and the summer shrug. The fourth i can think of off the top of my head was a pair of victorian plume cuffs for a swap. There is also one other sewn item – a skirt for the production i did in March. It’s in storage.

ETA: I have also forgotten my regency muffler which there IS A photo of *sigh*. There’s also my dad’s belated birthday scarf, which now that i think about it, i totally need to take a photo of while i’m in Adelaide, and also my cousin’s headband… so how many’s that? 32?

I would do a mosaic for my spinning, except that I pretty recently did a MASSIVE post with most of my spins from the year on it! I’ve spun a few more things since then, but not a massive amount. this is mostly because my wheel is at my parents’ place, roughly 750km from my place. However, I have just ordered a christmas present for myself and I should have a new wheel arriving in the next week or so!! *excited* This means I have to pack up some of my fibre to take back to Victoria with me! yay.

I’m also planning my birthday present to myself – it’s only a month and 2 weeks away! – a loom! Afterall, I totally need a new craft to learn this year!

Bags!

Last night the lovely penelopewaits let me use her sewing machine to create two more christmas presents.

I had the idea of creating some cute little satchel style bags for my cousins who are 6 and almost 9. They’re still at an age where i like to do something the same but different at christmas, so I found the most adorable fabric in two different colour schemes and  then found 2 matching fabrics for each… Then i kinda worked out how i wanted the bags to look in my head and folded some paper to get a size.

At essie’s last night, I got some butcher paper and a quilter’s rule and cut out a nice series of rectangles. Es and her partner helped me decide on which fabric should go where and then i was left to my own devices… the result?

There are three sections – the main bag, a large front pocket and a little inside pocket (for lipbalm and precious things not mobile phones!!)

They have interfacing and are pretty stiff and any quilter or sewer would probably turn their nose up at my seams! The straps almost had to be a bit of an afterthought – i kinda didn’t think them through enough, but i really like the positioning and it means you can see all three fabrics from the front.

I made the pink bag first and there were many instances of dopey brain which resulted in unpicking and resewing, so it took me a lot longer than the second bag. All up from cutting patterns to finishing sewing, they took me about 4 and a half hours.

I ❤ them and I hope my cousins will too!

 

if people want a basic outline of how to make these, let me know and i’ll take the measurements and write up a basic tutorial

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!!

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