Monday, 31 December 2007
We arrived back in Welly on Saturday afternoon after a lovely Christmas at my Mum's house in Rotorua, followed by a road trip back home via the East Cape. I'd never been to that part of the country before and loved driving past beautiful beaches and tents full of families on their Christmas beach holiday. We were a bit worried that we might not be able to stay in Gisborne after the big earthquake they had on the 20th, but our motel was still standing and they assured us it was structurally sound, despite the cracks in the plaster on some of the walls! We also called in to see a friend in Whakatane and had cuddles with her gorgeous 4 week-old daughter Greta (the recipient of the cross stitch sampler).
I hope you all had a lovely (and hopefully crafty) Christmas. This week we are planning on attacking some of the outside garden tasks we have been putting off for a while, so I might not get much crafting done. I'll check in occasionally though and might post a couple of pictures of our progress.
In the meantime, here are a couple of photos of the beanie I knitted for my brother Richard for Christmas. I finished it in the car driving up to my Mum's house on Dec 22nd. I managed to persuade him to model it for me on Christmas day - he is doing his best Zoolander Blue Steel face! He does a lot of snowboarding so I think the beanie will come in handy - he also told me it is very similar in design to a favourite boarding hat he used to wear all the time.
I used the ski beanie pattern from the new Stitch and Bitch for men book. The version of the pattern I used was actually a freebie from the CraftSanity podcast website to promote the book, but based on how well this pattern has turned out, I think I might have to look out for the book in the library and check out the rest of the patterns. The yarn I used is a NZ brand called Naturally Merino et Soie 8ply, which is 70% merino, 30% silk, so the beanie turned out nice and soft. The pattern called for two balls of the main colour and one of the contrasting colour but I ended up using just under one ball of the main colour. Alex is hinting for me to knit him an identical beanie with the remainder of the yarn.
Right, I really must go outside and attack the garden. Thanks for all the bag love on my last post. The recipients all loved their presents. And I'm loving my new Wasp bag. It was great on the road trip - large enough to fit all my handbag contents plus a bottle of water (essential - it was very hot in the car driving back) and my digital SLR (normally I have to carry my camera separately).
Saturday, 22 December 2007
Thursday, 20 December 2007
Tuesday, 18 December 2007
They are again made following the excellent pattern in Bend The Rules Sewing. The fabric is craft cotton from Spotlight, except for the navy gingham which I picked up at a thrift store. They are all backed with white flannel. I love this pattern. The method of construction is really simple and they sew up really fast. I think I completed these in about an hour.
Monday, 17 December 2007
I'd found a few pictures of other digger cakes on flickr, but in the end we sort of made it up as we went along. The icing was yellow buttercream. I used two sizes of chocolate biscuits for the wheels. The arms attaching the scoop to the main part of the digger are licorice logs, as is the exhaust. The windows are made from an icecream container, cut to size and then outlined with black icing. The dirt/rocks in front are chocolate covered raisins.
Here's the chocolate cake shapes, prior to icing.
And here is the icing, fresh from the Kenwood mixer. We used a ridiculous amount of colouring to get the yellow we needed. Luckily the buttercream was so sweet that most people only ate the cake and not the icing so I'm not feeling too guilty about poisoning everyone with artifical colouring.
Thursday, 13 December 2007
Monday, 10 December 2007
Once the tree was up, I hung our stockings on the mantlepiece. Here is my much-loved stocking that my Mum sewed for me when I was about 2 or 3 (very early 1980s), along with a matching (but more "boyish") one for my younger brother.
It's designed to look like a house, with the hanging loop being the chimney and the yellow and white stripes being the steps up to the house. Most of the appliqued shapes are cotton, but the tree trunk is chocolate brown corduroy. We were living in the Pacific at the time and a lot of goods like fabric were hard to come by. I suspect she was sent some of these from NZ and delved into her extensive fabric stash she took with her to make these.
Here is some detail of the girl and the window behind her:
My favourite piece of fabric used in the stocking is that one on the window right behind the girl - the orange and blue flowers make me happy.
Friday, 7 December 2007
I'm planning a "weekend o' sewing", so hopefully I'll have a lot more Christmas crafting to show you next week. Have a great weekend.
Monday, 3 December 2007
Friday, 30 November 2007
The quilt is a triangle design and came with hundreds of triangles already cut out of yummy vintage cottons.
Someone has already started to assemble the triangles into circles and has sewed a few of them together. But it is obvious something is not quite right. The circles do not sit flat when sewn together.
After playing around with the triangles for a while and trying to figure out the problem (geometry is a handy skill!), I think I've worked it out. The triangles are not equilateral - they have two long sides and one slightly shorter side. Therefore the circles should not be constructed like this (out of 7 triangles joined by their longer sides)....
..instead they should be constructed like this. With six triangles making up a circle. I think this way I will be able to join the circles together and still keep the quilt flat.
I think I'll sort the triangles into colours and then construct the circles out of six triangles from the same colour. I am still undecided whether I will unpick the work that has already been done, but I think I'll have to if I want to use those triangles. I'm not sure how big it will be once finished, but I'm hoping it will be big enough to snuggle under on the couch.
I'll post some more pictures once I've made some progress but this weekend Christmas crafting will take priority (I'm really behind on getting my homemade gifts finished).
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Wonderful handprinted linen from Lara Cameron's kirinco shop. This is even more lovely in person than in the photo. At least some of it is destined to become zipped pouches (maybe make-up bags) for Christmas presents for some of our female relatives. I am already dreaming up other ways to use it. I think it would make a great accent on a bag, or a panel of an A-line skirt. Lara's shop is due to be updated again next week with more fabric designs/colours in case you're interested in getting some of this yourself.
Sunday, 25 November 2007
We stayed in this lovely cottage in Greytown:
It had a wonderful cottage garden:
The roses were at their best:
Much sleeping, knitting, reading and eating of chocolate was done:
Friday, 23 November 2007
Thursday, 22 November 2007
I used craft cotton for the top, denim for the sole and lined them with plain white flannel. One thing that bothered me about the construction method used in this tutorial was that the inside seams would still be visible. Partway through making these I realised I could construct them a slightly different way so that the inside seams around the sole would not be visible. And once I'd finished them, I had an "a-ha" moment where I realised how to make them completely reversible. I have another pair (to be lined with flannel) already cut out so I'll try out the new method on the next pair and see if it works. And then I might have a go at making a completely reversible pair with a patterned lining. These could get addictive!
Monday, 19 November 2007
I have decided to keep going with the scarf I talked about in my last post. It doesn't seem to be shedding as much now and I don't think my brother will mind.
Saturday, 17 November 2007
Friday, 16 November 2007
This week's theme is Travel Bug.
In 1979, when I was a year old, my Dad got a job in Vanuatu so we packed up our house in Auckland (Mum, Dad and me) and set off for what must have seemed like an endless tropical holiday. A couple of years later after my brother was born, my Dad was transferred to the Solomon Islands. I spent my first year of school in Honiara attending an international primary school. We arrived back in NZ in 1984 and settled near family in Rotorua.
So, with a childhood like that you would expect that I would have lots of pictures of planes and airport farewells to fit the theme, but there don't seem to be any in the albums I have. I do recall a great picture of my parents posing with me and my grandparents outside our house in Auckland shortly before we left for Vanuatu, but that photo must be in my Mum's albums.
Instead you will have to settle for a couple of pictures of me travelling slightly shorter distances on my tricycle.
Here are a couple of photos of me racing around our flat in Vanuatu in 1980 aged about 2 1/2, still dressed in my nightie and with the remains of breakfast on my face. Obviously riding my bike trumped all other things like getting dressed or washing my face! I don't really remember living in this flat but the painting on the wall still hangs in my Dad's house today. I love the decor, especially the orange shaggy rug and the patterned curtains.
My Dad took these photos on his brand new camera - a couple of pages earlier in the album is a picture of me and him at the camera shop picking 0ut his Olympus SLR. He must have still had the new photographer eagerness happening when he took these shots because I noticed when I took the photos out of the album to scan them that he had written the camera settings he'd used on the back of each.
Thursday, 15 November 2007
The collection is still lacking in bright coloured buttons. Lots of grey and black and white though.
Here's the first thing I made with those buttons from TradeMe and some black waxed thread:
I LOVE this necklace. The black and brown means I can wear it with lots of things. I always get interesting comments when I wear it too - some people are amazed that I'd want to wear buttons as jewellery, others really like it. One guy at work once said "at least if you loose a button on your clothes, you'll have a spare one handy"!
This is another necklace that I almost finished and then decided it didn't sit right. I found it stashed with my other buttons when I took them out to sort through. I still really like these big red buttons so I think I'll have to rethink the placement of them - maybe big ones only at the bottom, graduating to smaller red ones around the sides.
And this is my red button bracelet which I also wear a lot. It's on stretchy elastic cord and you can move the buttons around to get it sitting just right. Its a good one to wear to work because you can play with it during long meetings...
I didn't make this breaclet - I bought it at the last Crafting event in June at Pataka in Porirua. Which reminds me, there is another Crafting on this weekend (Saturday 17th from 10-4). I'm planning on going along. And this time I might even pluck up the courage to say hello to some of my fellow bloggers who'll be there.
Saturday, 10 November 2007
These are both knitted from bamboo yarn using the Grandmothers Favorite Dishcloth pattern from here and the Stockinette Triangles Dishcloth pattern from here. They were quick and easy to knit up - each one took about 2 episodes of Greys Anatomy on DVD to knit (so I guess about 2 hours). I think these could be addictive.
They also look lovely draped over my kitchen tap. Now if I could only bring myself to use one and get my handiwork dirty...
Sunday, 4 November 2007
This is the first time I've tried making a linked necklace and it was a lot of fun and not as hard as I thought it would be. The hardest part was choosing which beads to use! I think variations of this necklace could be good Christmas presents this year. I haven't made the total handmade pledge but I am trying to make/bake as many of our presents this year as I can.
I am off out of town for work for a few days and in my rush to finish packing this morning I forgot to pack my camera or my knitting. So there won't be much happening on the craft front for a few days.
Saturday, 3 November 2007
The pattern is taken from this Australian book by Gloria McKinnon (it seems to now be out of print - I bought my copy from TradeMe).
I used dark blue merino fabric for the blankets and backed them with quilting cotton. The bear is made of velour fabric, with appliqued detail and the flowers are embroidered with wool. In the book the blankets are quite small (bassinette sized), but I made these ones big enough to fit a cot as I thought this size would be more useful.
While this book has nice design ideas, it is really aimed at people who already know embroidery stitches so I ended up constantly referring to a stitch dictionary each time I had to do a different stitch. This was the first time I'd done embroidery other than cross stitch and I struggled at first with wanting my stitches to be "perfect" and look exactly like the picture in the book. It took me a while to realise it didn't matter if my buttonhole stitches were uneven - they still looked fine and no-one else would notice.
Monday, 29 October 2007
I haven't yet made a start on the flower mobile, but I have sketched a few ideas in my notebook.
This weekend I made something to thank Jessicah for her lovely gesture. I've been interested in making pincushions for a while because I thought they'd make good Christmas gifts (after all, what sewer doesn't need another pincushion?). I made this flower pincushion for Jessicah loosely following the tutorial I found here. It's made out of vintage cotton and vintage buttons with a felt stalk/hanging loop. I had a lot of fun making this. Hope you enjoy using it Jessicah!