Friday, 30 November 2007

Rescued quilt

I bought a half finished (actually more like a quarter finished) quilt on TradeMe a few days ago. I've never made a quilt before and thought that buying one that someone had already started might make the process a bit easier first time around. Also, I like the idea of finishing a project that would otherwise sit in someones cupboard.

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

Fabric Love

After browsing for weeks, I have just recently started buying things on Etsy. I think I could easily develop an Etsy habit! Here is the first thing I bought, which arrived last week:

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

Weekend in pictures

We have both been fairly busy and stressed at work lately so decided on the spur of the moment (most unlike us) to have a weekend away in the Wairarapa.

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:

We arrived back tonight, batteries recharged, ready to face the week. I managed to finish the scarf for my brother and a cross-stitch birth sampler for a friend who is having a baby this week. Photos of those later.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Flashback Friday

This week's Flashback Friday theme is Hippie Love. I don't have a photo that quite fits the theme, but I think this one could be called Flower Power:

Me and my friend, aged about 4, dressed up in our bikinis, accessorised with flowers (I think they may be frangipanis).
I am off out of town for a lazy weekend so won't be posting for a couple of days. Have a great weekend.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Cloth Baby Shoes

A couple of friends are due to give birth sometime in the next week or so and I decided to make them some bib and shoe sets. Here are the first pair of shoes, using the tutorial from Stardust Shoes.

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

Crafty Scores

A few gorgeous new crafty things I received at the weekend.

My scores from the craft show at Pataka on Saturday:

A couple of wonderful laser-cut acrylic Christmas decorations from Papertin and a crocheted cupcake from Baibin which I'm going to use as a pincushion. As soon as I got home I filled it with my new coloured pins (I'm getting rid of my plain silver pins - too hard to find when I drop them on the carpet - I've had a few near misses of nearly stepping on one). The craft show was really good but I think a little smaller than last time. Although I didn't buy much, I dragged a friend along and she bought more than enough for the both of us, stocking up on presents for her 18 month old niece and her new niece who'll be born any day now.

I came home from the craft show to find this lovely package in my letterbox:

Six gorgeous cards from Kimberlee, my prize in her blog giveway. They are even more lovely in person. I think I might have to keep one copy of each to frame for my wall. Thanks Kimberlee!

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

Advice please

So I’ve started knitting a scarf for my brother for Christmas. He lives in the UK and so it’s an appropriate gift for this time of year. I’m using the So-Called Scarf pattern that I used once before and have chosen a yarn called Inca from Patons. The yarn is 50% wool, 30% acrylic and 20% alpaca. I’m liking the way the pattern is showing up the variegations in the yarn but I have a problem - the yarn sheds fibres. I guess the Alpaca content is the culprit. Now I don’t know about you but I really hate fluff on my clothes. I avoid buying anything with angora in it for that reason. And I have a lint roller at work and at home to de –cat-hair myself. Therefore I have a problem with knitting a scarf that sheds fibres. I’m considering ripping it out (I’ve only knitted about 10cm) and knitting a hat instead or starting the scarf again with a different yarn. Any advice? Should I just get over it and knit it anyway?
Edited to re-upload photo

Friday, 16 November 2007

Flashback Friday

In an attempt to get me blogging more regularly, and also because I love looking through old photo albums, I have joined the Flashback Friday pool on Flickr.

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


Without really meaning to I've started collecting buttons. I saw a big lot selling for peanuts on TradeMe and since then I've picked up a few here and there at op shops and antique shops. When I got them out to sort through the other day I realised I've amassed quite a few.

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.

Oh and in case you were wondering - I've started using one of my knitted dishcloths and it's holding up OK so far. No gross bits stuck in it yet Jessicah! Its textured surface is good for scrubbing and I can squeeze it out much easier than the sponge we used to use so it dries a lot quicker. I'm a convert! Off to buy more bamboo yarn today to knit some more.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Knitted dishcloths

I've joined the knitted dishcloth bandwagon.

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

Beading fun

Went to a class at our local bead shop yesterday and made this (click on it for a bigger image to see the detail):

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

Baby blankets

I didn't get very far with my knitting this week, so I thought I'd show you a completed project from early last year. I made two embroidered blankets for my husband's aunt and uncle who were having twin boys.

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.