Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Utility vest for boyz

Promise I'll post something other than knitting next time. Here's a zip-up vest I knitted for my little boy! Complete with pockets! Very snuggly and practical too. I worried about how I'd attach the zip, but ended up just sewing it on using a sewing machine, as others I'd seen on Ravelry had done.  Pattern is a Debbie Bliss pattern that Mum found in a women's mag.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mitts for Mother's Day

I've made fingerless mittens for both my mum and mother-in-law this year - these strike me as practical for cold weather when you need to actually do things with your hands. Given both these ladies are early birds and spend a bit of time at computers and handling books, and because I know they don't have these already, I decided to knit some mitts for this Mother's Day.

This first pair is for my Mum, using the Susie's Reading Mitts Pattern, and Ravelled here, and the second pair is for my Mother in Law, using the Garden Trellis Mitts pattern, and Ravelled here.

Both these projects have been great for learning new skills - basic lace, knitting fiddly bits with double pointed needles, and new stitches (twisted rib by knitting through back loop, old german cast-on). It's amazing the breadth of knitting (and crochet) tutorials that are now at your fingertips on YouTube and on the internet. Seek and

amigurumi panda

So I've been mucking around with scrap acrylic yarn and a crochet hook a bit lately... I looked in a book I already had and what do you know? there was a pattern there using exactly the same colours I had! black and white. The result: Morris the Sensitive Panda, taken from the book "Meet me at Mike's", collated and edited by Melbourne's Pip Lincoln, which has loads of simple sewing, knitting and crochet projects within. 

(Ravelled here)
It's far from perfect - I should have used a smaller hook, but didn't think I should rush out and add another crochet hook to my collection just yet, being new to the art of it. It's wonky too. And the eyes are just glued on - a big no-no when giving it to kids as they can chew them off and swallow them. However, I think my kids may be old enough to know better.
And the kids seem to love it - Morris has been in hot demand. The nearly 2 year old has been carrying it around all afternoon going "Pandy Pandy!" and trying to feed it "Yummy" crackers. And showing it fish in the fish pond. And the nearly 5 year old made it toy sushi and tea.
This is my first attempt at an amigurumi figure. Very enjoyable and quick! May do more, such as a Totoro, soon - great way to make toys that would otherwise be hard to come by!

Monday, March 21, 2011

chugging to the finish(ed) line...

I'm making a zippered vest for my son, and it has pockets!. I've actually done a lot more than is in this photo. It's a fun project and it's teaching me lots of new skills - shaping arm holes, picking up and knitting, grafting, and generally just making up a garment from pieces - I've mostly knit in one piece in the round so far.

...and this tunic dress for my daughter:
Can't wait to get her in this! I just need to (learn to) crochet some button loops to finish the opening at the front. Part procrastination, part the fact that I need a smaller hook.
Finally, have started knitting my mother some study mitts, for mother's day:

I have done one, and need to do another. Again, this has been a bit of a learning process - learned the 3 needle bind-off, picot edge, and I shortened this when I accidentally made it too long in the wrist.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Blanketed with love

Well my Wrap with Love blanket is done! I sewed up the last of it two weeks ago and mailed it off. That's it being held up and also draped on my couch to illustrate how nicely it would have blended in to the decor. But it was immensely satisfying to send it off, more so because I think it looked great and I would have been very happy to keep it! Big thanks to Miss Hazel, her neighbours, my Mum, and EcoChic who all knitted / chrocheted squares for the project, and Miss SnapDragon who came over one night and kept me company during the 'stitching up' process*. One of the nice things about Wrap with Love is that they hook in with a really wide range of charities to get them out into the world, and so it could end up anywhere that people need comfort and warmth.

Once it was done I was ever so in love with it, and with the idea of making blankets. I pulled out an old project I'd started when I was 19 or so (eeek, that was a while ago now!), my very first ever knitting project, which was to make a bed-sized blanket out of squares.

A few years back (4!) I pinned them all to a double bed sheet with the help of my mum, and started sewing them into strands. But now I feel inspired to make a few more 'throw rug' size blankets out of them, and maybe even fish through the existing squares to make a few in different colour themes. I was going for jewel tones at the time - purple, dark teal blue, dusky pink; and it's also ended up with dark blue, brown, bright pink, other blues in the mix (other people have pitched in and made squares out of whatever they had). After the WWL blanket I feel more relaxed about colour themes and know that contrast and a bit of joyful mismatch can still look great.

I'm also thinking of how a bit of purposeful contrast dotted through might lift it - the colours seem dark to me these days (living now in the tropical edges of the country here in Sydney rather than my home town of Adelaide where I began this project; which has gloomy bitter winters). So I'm wondering if for example, I might make a purple/ pink one and lift it with some brighter pinks, or arrange a dark blue and brown one but add some turquoise for brightness.

The throw rug appeals because I'll get to slit the colours and play on a few different combinations, but also because it seems less extreme to have a blanket that can be a throw across a bed/ lap rug/ couch rug rather than a whole bed's worth. I was thinking I might keep one and give one to my mum.

Here are pictures of my blanket in progress for me. Note Michael is very excitedly holding the square he knitted over dinner to contribute. He hadn't knitted since he was about 8 but it came back pretty easily.

* As an aside: I notice more and more that I'm not a great 'finisher' - I love starting and dreaming up projects, and getting inputs from a team, but once it comes to the 'stitch it up and send it up' part it can linger for a very long time (especially if that bit is for me to do alone)! Trying to figure out what I can do to help myself get through these bits of projects so that things actually get finished as I know it's a good skill to learn, and satisfying when projects finish and get out of the craft box! Having supportive people joining in seems to help immensely.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

stitched up soon

Sunday morning - a good time to get on the new pushbike that I bought myself as a long overdue kind of Christmas present, and cycle over to Newtown here to pick up some coloured cotton yarn to stitch up the fourth zine. Oh and to grab a coffee, as my housemate has gone camping with the coffee plunger and the little on the stove ones leaks like crazy and makes an exceptionally foul and bitter brew.

I will use green I think, as this zine was a lot to do with growth and change, plus I want every edition to have its own colour so you can tell them apart easily. I guess when I run out of colours it will be a reminder that it's time to move on to a new project!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Old projects a go go

Meririsa we must be on the same craft-cycle (surely it's like hormones where you can get in sync by hanging out?) I too am grappling with mending and the old lurking unfinished project list.

In the last week I mended a top that was just that little bit split under the arm and had been for months, made definite intentions to mend a very tricky frayed old dress, and most satisfyingly stitched the last bits of the knitted charity blanket I started seasons ago, and sewing in most of the ends. All I need to do now is sew on the tag the charity provides, and send it in to the depot. I must say it's looking rather fabulous on the couch and I am a little tempted to keep it (but wont!) just because it looks so patchy mismatched and cute.

Oh and I just printed volume 3 of my zine, and volume 4, but have only assembled #3 at this stage (it's definitely craft and it's kind of a sewing project because I use hammer, nails and coloured cotton to bind them). In fact just made a new blog to support the zine (hey, somewhat like shoes, a girl can never have too many - right? right??). It's looking plain now but will get embellished in time when I put links and pics in.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Darn it!

This post will be old-hat for some experienced clothes menders, but I am just learning, as I haven't really needed to do this before.
My mother in law recently fixed up some things for us - the knees of some denim jeans that my little boy had worn through but otherwise fit him fine, plus a t-shirt of mine that I disastrously caught on something and tore the day after I bought it! Darn it!
Finished product - iron-on patch stuck on top of darning. I later hand sewed around the edges to secure the patch, which started coming off not long after it was stuck on.

A closer view of my MIL's handiwork. She kind of wove the cotton in and out in one direction, then perpendicular to it.

These jeans will fit him for a while yet, so that's hopefully a fair bit more wear he will get out of them. This has inspired me to fix up a few other things too, and now that my son is doing things like skidding on his knees on astroturf and real turf, I'm sure the skill will come in handy.

Hubby bought some new shorts and virtually the next day, a rivet that was attached to a front pocket for decoration came off and left a hole around 8mm in diameter! You just can't get quality clothes these days... Shorts instantly looked old!
To darn this small, circular hole, I just stitched around the edges like spokes on a wheel, moving around in a circle. Then I sewed one of the spare buttons over the top on the outside to hide it:

You'd never know there was a hole there!

Elastic waisted skirt

Teddy is modelling it, as real wearer is having her nap.

Ali may recognise the fabric - she gave it to me a few years ago... I realised it was just enough to make my daugher a short skirt (finished, it's about 18mm long, ok for a 12-18 month old). Very snazzy fabric, and not pink too!

Was really simple and quick - cut out a width of fabric 2x her waist, and the desired length plus hem allowances. Sewed the sides together to make a tube. Pressed and sewed the bottom hem, then pressed and sewed a wider waist band, keeping an opening for elastic. Threaded elastic through, and presto! Done.

Options are endless - you could alternate panels of fabric to use up scraps.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

something soft to rest on

Well at Christmas time I decided to make my fella something nice for our soon to be new house. I went to Bird textiles and bought some of their Sydney-designed, hand printed fabric. Bought remnants to sew together patchwork style to make a cushion cover, using nice olive and natural colours that I thought would go with the couch and also the views from the loungeroom which features big gum trees.

What did I learn from this sewing experience, after so long not sewing? (Much like Merririsa below)

- Well, making something with patchwork strips is heaps slower than just using normal slabs of fabric. Hmm, note to self.
- Fabric is remarkable forgiving about non straight seams - everything seemed (no pun intended) to line up ok in the end despite doing it all by eye and not having everything perfectly symmetrical on the grain etc.
- It worked! Finished product looks great I reckon. (Thanks to the fabric)
- Buttons are yet to be attached, oops. Got a bit frightened off the whole button hole cutting step. Must do that this weekend.

Thanks to Miss Snapdragon for her help and technical advice.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dusting off the sewing machine...

I haven't sewn in eons, yet necessity has forced me to get the old Bernina out and sew up a fitted sheet attached to top sheet thingy for when my son as a rest/nap at his new child care centre, along with a draw-string bag to match. This sort of thing was all included at the old centre, but here you either are given a pattern and sew your own, or fork out $45 for someone to make one for you. There don't appear to be any 2nd-hand ones on offer, and I really didn't want some fabric I had at home to go to waste, so decided I'd have a go at sewing one

Of course, I ended up stuffing up things at the cutting out stage, and freaked out a little, because I thought I'd have to go and buy some fabric after all. However, my dearest better half reminded me that we had lots of old sheets (some of which belonged to a previous bed), and I realised that this was not only an economic solution, but brilliant, as it would save me having to sew 2 hems if I cut the size of sheet I needed from one corner!

So the end product? Not worth taking a photo of, with slightly ugly colour combinations and his name written neatly on the bag in fabric texter, but it's functional and should do the trick. I made a small draw-string bag as a warm up to sewing the sheet set to make sure I could still sew in a straight line (and I could!), and think I might do a few more. One can never have enough when you have kids - for all those little sets of blocks and things that don't have boxes. And I just might make some little elastic waist skirts for my daughter next, now that she is walking well (crawling with a skirt is hardly practical!). Or maybe something a little more adventurous.... I have some baby girl sundress patterns somewhere...

It feels good to be making something, AND using fabric that would otherwise be just sitting in the cupboard.