Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Quilt and Craft Fair Excitement!

A small group of us are heading up to the Quilt and Craft Fair in Melbourne this coming weekend.  This year the Tassie version was up in Launceston, so it seemed a good time to branch out to the (apparently rather larger) Melbourne stop instead.  I am torn between wanting to be focused and restrained in what I buy (I have a rapidly growing stash of both fabric and wool and perhaps should finish some more things off before buying yet more to start yet more...!) and wanting to make the most of the opportunity.

My shortlist is therefore as follows:

1.  I definitely want to make some of these:

http://www.modabakeshop.com/2011/07/jelly-roll-floor-pillows.html
I generally don't go for jelly rolls but these look fantastic and a jelly roll is nice and compact to fit in the luggage home...
    2.  I might want to try and get some wool for my own version of this:

    http://www.purlbee.com/the-purl-bee/2011/4/16/elegant-granny-style-the-granny-stripe-blanket.html
    I definitely want to make this but perhaps am better off getting the wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills or Garnstudio or similar - they seem best value and this might be a bit bulky to bring home?

    3.  Maybe some crochet cotton and beads for some of these:

    http://greeneyed.com/2011/07/diy-beaded-bracelet/
    Last craft fair I got the crochet flower bracelet kit that I made for a Issy a little while ago and she loved it, so this might be a nice thing to make for her and her friends perhaps.

    4.  Definitely some dress fabric shopping - top of the list is jersey ruffle to make a maxi skirt, then also nice linen, denim, stretch knits etc.

    That seems like a restrained list to me - one for each of my hobbies (quilting, crochet, knitting and sewing) though clearly item 4 has more than one purchase in it :)

    I also want to look at yo-yo makers (have seen a few cool things made of or partly with yo yos recently), templates and books.  I saw a post about Knook (knitting with crochet hooks) which was intriguing!  I might have to look at bits and bobs too, like eyes for animals as they are well expensive here.  Perhaps that's enough?!!!

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    Big Quilt for Little Princess

    I really often struggle to make things for our house and our kids when there are so many birthdays in the year to make stuff for.  I love making presents for people and they are usually seriously appreciated, but I also have a list as long as my arm (actually quite a lot longer) of things I want to make for us.  So, finally, I managed to finish off a quilt for madam as shown below:


    I used the Rainbow's Garden range from Prints Charming which I bought ages ago.  I wasn't sure about cutting it up so heavily (some of the designs are so lovely you just want to leave them in massive blocks so you can appreciate them fully) but I think it worked really well.  I cut random width strips (varying between I think 1.5 and about 3.5 inches - can't really remember as I started this ages ago) and then sewed them together into 9.5 inch wide sections.  I then chopped those into 3.5 inch blocks, so the finished blocks were 9 by 3 after seams.  I alternated plain white with the strippy blocks and used plain white thread for in the ditch quilting and also plain white for backing.  I might regret that due to the general grubbiness of the monsters in question but it just made the colours pop.

    This quilt took a long time to finish as I made it for Issy in her single bed and then we moved house and put her in a queen sized bed in the meantime!  I know it's a big bed for a four year old but she can have sleepovers and has a massive room and we had one spare so...Anyway here it is on the bed:


    I am fascinated with how orangey it is, despite that not seeming to be a dominant colour in most of the fabrics - I like it though.  Goes nicely with the (unrelated) orange starburst pillow I found somewhere too :)

    So the lady in question LOVED it and was very pleased to have something to snuggle under in our cold Tassie winters.  And that's really all that matters in the end isn't it?

    Happy Days :)

    Sunday, July 10, 2011

    Teeny Weeny Beanies and hip spica pants

    I love a good craft emergency - it makes me feel so useful when someone I know needs something they don't seem to be able to buy and I am able to whip it up :)

    Two of these situations have occurred recently.  One was for my friend whose daughter arrived about 5 weeks early.  She is absolutely beautiful and perfect but her head is too small for any hats.  I used a cleckheaton pattern which I adjusted a bit (mostly by using smaller needles than the pattern requested - as it wasn't a premmie hat pattern) and some leftovers I had from other projects.  They are both the same pattern but in the first try (the white one) I didn't bother adding the crochet edging and just left the hat with the ribbed edge.  I thought it still looked OK and I didn't have her head with me to try it so the effort was kept to a minimum until I had a sense it would fit her.





    The second is the same hat in a lovely soft grey wool and cashmere blend with the edging specified in the pattern in a dusky pink (all leftovers which made this project even more wonderful!).  I think she looks lovely in both and I am very proud to have been able to quickly help out and keep her little head warm in our rather grim winter!



    How lovely does she look?

    The other craft-emergency of late was my friend's little boy breaking his leg.  Poor little man is only about 21 months and it was a bad break up on his thigh, so he ended up in a hip spica cast (both legs, set out in a kind of wide squat stance).  This makes getting any trousers onto him pretty well impossible, so my friend asked if I could modify some pants she already had.  As you can see the theory was just to velcro or pop stud whatever seams were necessary to get the pants on and secure.  In the end pop studs worked best, and I went for the inner seam (so he had to get them on over his head) so I didn't have to faff about with the waistband.



    As you can see from the piccies, this isn't the most tricky or glamorous or even well-executed sewing but it worked perfectly (people didn't stop her in the street to ask what had happened as you could barely tell he had the cast on when wearing these!) and it gave me enormous satisfaction to be practical and helpful :)

    A Barrel of Monkeys

    This post should rightly have come in June as well but I don't seem to get much time to detail all this at the moment.

    Introducing the lovely monkeys:



    These began with the monkey on the left, who was a present from my Auntie  (shop bought) when Issy was born.  Then Issy's friend Mia fell in love and didn't want to return original monkey, so I decided to make one. I found the Supermonkey pattern in the Arigurumi (Cozy) book (and in fact this was the reason for buying the book) and thought he was similar enough for some adaptation.  And so the monkey in the middle was born.

    Two things led to the monkey in the middle becoming stunt monkey (muslin monkey, Marcus' monkey) rather than Mia's monkey:
    1. I didn't have original monkey around for much of the time I was making him so I was working from memory and a couple of mobile phone pictures
    2. It was the first thing I ever crocheted and the more I did (including many other projects which have already been detailed), the more I learned and wanted to go back and start again to make him nicer.
    If you look at the pictures more closely (original is top, first attempt is underneath)




    then suddenly the differences and dodginess of stunt monkey become really obvious.  The crochet on his arms and legs is kind of patchy and inconsistent, particularly in the colour joins.  This was made before lots of practice and also before I found this tutorial on jogless colour changes.  Look deeper and you realise the body is a straight up and down tube, whereas original monkey's body is a pleasing teardrop shape; the patch on his tummy isn't as nicely done etc etc.  In addition, stunt monkey was very stuff by comparison to original monkey - I suspect original is made in a cotton yarn of some kind, though sadly I didn't manage to source anything similar here.

    So I started again *sigh* and made Mia's monkey.



    I think the differences are noticeable between stunt monkey and Mia's monkey (i.e. attempt one and attempt two), especially in the colour changes and the body shape.  There is still some stuffing showing through in places but he was also a lot softer and much better made!  So he now lives at Mia's house while stunt and original monkey live with us (and having two has in fact stopped a lot of fighting so it's a win-win!).  I was a little bit sad to give any of them away in the end as they looked pretty good all together: