Wednesday, February 29, 2012

sewing, a new CAL and a new skill

the last few days have been very busy doing all kinds of different crafting, so i expect this to be a long post! first of all i got back into dressmaking after a long hiatus. i made a very simple knit dress from a Knipmode magazine using some polyester print jersey out of my stash. i wore it straight away the next day and it was comfortable and flattering.

jersey dress

print closeup

the next project was to start on a new crochetalong hosted by Spotlight on their Facebook page. i didn't know about this CAL until i saw it on Bec's blog. she has a link on her site plus lots of other lovely things to look at, so hop over and have a look. thanks Bec, now i need to make a quiet book as well!

block 1

block 2

finally, a papercraft project that i've been working on for a while got finished yesterday when i sewed the pages into the binding.

handmade notebook

i recycled the card from an old book for the cover and dug into my fabric scraps for the rest. my trusty typewriter was used to make the sentimental message on the front.

notebook open

i used coloured and plain cardstock for the pages, mixed with recycled book pages for interest. a sheet was just right for the inside lining and then it was time to sew the binding. the instructions were from my new favourite book Mixed Mania.

closeup of binding

i used a waxed cotton cord for the binding in a simple pamphlet stitch, knotting the ends on the outside for a decorative finish. i might still add some charms or beads to the ends later.
phew! i think i'll knit on the couch for a while now...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

tea time anyone?

who doesn't love a cup of tea after a long day of crafting? it can only be improved with the addition of cake. i have always dreamed of having afternoon tea at a posh hotel in London a la Miss Marple. in my daydream a handsome minion will wheel in a tea trolley holding a huge teapot sporting a hand knitted teacosy and a tiered willow pattern cake stand with all manner of pretty cupcakes, slices and petit fours covered in pastel icing and sprinkles. well, a girl can dream!

tea at the ritz

in the meantime i whipped up this lovely little cake, not in the oven but on my knitting needles. it looks good enough to eat! if you would like to make your own delectable tea cake (100% gluten free!), the pattern comes from Knitted Cakes.

Friday, February 24, 2012

a "pocket" par excellence

my family can always pick one of my creations because i love to mash different fabrics together in unexpected combinations of print and colour. i also really like to recycle fabrics from old curtains, sheets and linens; the muted colours and soft handle of the fabric is magic. the sanderson linen i used for my camera cosy was so lovely that i decided to make a larger cosy, in fact a clutch bag. i thought it might be good to carry on occasions when i don't need my "kitchen sink" bag.

sanderson clutch

this time i added a remnant of tapestry fabric leftover from my couch, a doily, ribbon from a gift and again lining from a recycled sheet. all in all a very "green" project!

clutch lining

this size is perfect for a book, a craft project or just essentials for shopping. i will probably use it for church so keep an eye out for me girls!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

retro techno protector

don't say that three times quickly, you could get your tongue twisted! it was time to give my trusty digital camera a squishy cover to protect it from rattling around in the bottom of my bag with all the other stuff that i keep in there (you know; crochet hooks, paint chips, books, plastic cutlery). i thought i'd give the sewing machine a workout after neglecting it for the last few months while i've been obssessed with crochet.

camera cosy

i found some sturdy sanderson linen curtains waiting to be recycled, used a favourite sheet for the lining and some leftover wadding for the sandwich. the design was based on a clutch pattern found in a library book called Mixed Mania. i did some freeform quilting in contrasting thread, added some appliques cut from scrap fabric and used a magnetic snap for closure.



now the camera's safe and sound, i wonder what else i can make a cosy for?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

cosy up to crochet

now that i've rediscovered the joys of crochet again, i find myself trawling through old and new pattern books looking for the next project. when the right pattern jumps out at me, i can't wait to get started straight away. one of my new years resolutions for 2012 was to always do a tension swatch before starting a biggish project, as i'm usually substituting yarn from my stash.

attention swatch

when i saw the crochet hook cosy in The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet, i knew i needed it. imagine all my hooks in one spot ready to swatch at any time! i grabbed some 12ply from my stash and got started (on a swatch of course). i fiddled with the pattern to fit my yarn, striped away happily and got ready to felt. could i forget the first rule of felting?? rule 1: always use non-machine washable wool. after an hour in the machine it was obvious my yarn was not feltable. i decided it was still lovely, so i used some vintage sheet fabric to make a lining and pockets to fit all my hooks.

hook cosy loveliness

i popped all the hooks i own into the pockets, and... i love it! there was room for a pencil to jot down tension and some needles for sewing up. the cosy takes up hardly any room when rolled up and now i've got everything in my handbag to start crocheting whenever i can get my hands on some yarn.

cosy on a roll

now, where were those crochet pattern books...?

Friday, February 17, 2012

quick trip to the seaside

After finishing my crochet hearts for valentine's day I decided that I needed another small project while working on my vivid dreams afghan.

sunday morning

 I picked up The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Crochet from my local library and decided on the surfer chick quick cap as I have always wanted a pretty girlie beanie. I bought a ball of Cleckheatons Country Tartans on Saturday and started crocheting on Sunday morning.

surfer chick

Despite being a busy day, I had the cap finished by Sunday evening. I highly recommend this pattern as a quick crochet fix, this variation of shell stich is interesting and it took approximately four hours to make. On monday we had our photo shoot, at the beach of course!

The habit of a lifetime

I've had papercraft avoidance for years, fearful that one day I'd wake up to stacks of paper filling my entire house, my husband long gone because he just couldn't handle it anymore, left alone with my many cats (Of course! This cautionary tale could not be complete without at least a mention of a cat!)

But...I've succumbed.  At the moment, it isn't a train wreck, just an innocent pile of random paper on the kitchen table that hasn't moved for a week, apart from being resifted, resorted, re-stacked. And re-stuck!

My first mini project was these fun-sized notebooks.  A vintage Butterick pattern and some die cuts covered these babies.  Sweet and especially useful when browsing for patterns in Spotlight, getting ready for a buy 1 get 1 half-price sale!

After that, I tried out some maps - I especially love the way these turned out.  I used hard cover journals, A5 and A6 to make a set. The maps are of Sicily and I just had to include the infamous town of Corleone on the larger journal.  I added some Jim Holtz idea-o-logy stickers too, just to finish

Lastly, I finally dared to cut up a dictionary for arts sake and covered another A6 sized journal.  I think I like this one the most - really simple, calm colours and who can resist a cameo, really?  Also, on the back, a cute pic and description of dominoes, as well as dorsal, doss-house and Doric definitions, among others.

Okay, so I'm not a crazy lady with 50 cats and piles of old newspapers just yet.  I think a bit of sewing and knitting to keep me on the straight and narrow, and I'll manage my new papercraft habit!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

world's speediest crocheter

from the blur of her crochet hook, mum's squares for the vivid dreams throw emerge on a daily basis. even on her bad days she makes at least one or two, striping with delicious bright colours and different combinations each time.

a riot of colour

i love the bright saturated colours you can get in the acrylic yarn, they positively glow. i'm also really in awe of how perfect and flat mum makes her squares. i've got quite a way to go, both in technique and in the amount of squares i need to do to catch up.

squares and more squares

the beauty of this pattern is that you have to make all the squares first before you sew them together. in the meantime, you can play with arrangements and muse about the finished afghan and how it will look. i can't wait!

almost an afghan

Saturday, February 11, 2012

aaahh...knitting at home

is there anything better than cosying up on the couch at the end of a busy day with your knitting? ok manz, crochet in your case! i gave this knitting book to my sister for her birthday with the hope that it would egg her on to start knitting. it didn't, but she started crocheting instead.

knitting at home

one good thing about buying crafty books for your sister is that you can borrow them to use yourself! (come on every mad crafter does this don't they??) i couldn't resist the cover slippers and found some stash yarn to use straight away.

before felting

the pieces work up quickly and the pattern is easy to follow, but the fun is in the felting. it goes against all mum's washing advice to chuck hand knitting into hot water and set the machine to extreme wash, but it looks and feels beautiful, even prickly wool becomes soft.

aahh...after felting

a spot of simple hand embroidery and they are ready to be popped on while you start the next project. more info is on my Ravelry page.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

i've got that autumn feeling...

well, it could be wishful thinking after last month's blisteringly hot temps, but i'm sure i can feel a chill in the air lately. i always look forward to autumn's arrival as it's my favourite season. all those tweedy and woolly clothes, gumboots and the smell of woodfires at dusk. i crocheted these leaves ages ago and finally decided to try out my hot glue gun and finish the project.

autumn leaves

the pattern comes from this lovely lady easy makes me happy and she has lots of other lovely crochet on her blog, so pop over and check it out!

crochet closeup

by the way, these leaves are so addictive to make, you could have whole forests of trees before you know it! you were warned...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

mandy makes

I can't believe I can crochet! I wish my mum had taught me years ago. My sister lent me her latest copy of Mollie Makes magazine which must be Valentine's Day inspired as it is all very romantic. I decided to try these crochet hearts (you can find the free pattern on

crochet valentines

I crocheted these in red, cream and navy as I am very inspired by nautical colors especially for autumn and winter in everything from homewares to clothes. You can also make them in sugar almond colours as seen in issue 10 of Mollie Makes. I am quite happy with how these turned out as they are my first finished crochet project and I enjoy it so much I doubt it will be my last. Crochet, will you be my Valentine?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

take another little piece of my heart

hello there...i know Valentines Day is fast approaching but like dottie angel i try to avoid the sickly commercial stuff available in the shops (except for the chocolate of course!). i still like any excuse to decorate my home to reflect the latest holiday so when i saw this tutorial on dotties blog with the promise it only took 15 minutes, i whipped it up after brekkie.

paper hearts

it might have taken me slightly longer than 15 minutes, i had to type my sappy message and rifle through my daughters craft box for the paper, but its worth the time don't you think? bonus points for using a recycled book i got from the oppy recently.

Friday, February 3, 2012

a crochet style

one sister crocheting innocent little squares at the beach on the Aussie Day weekend has spread a crochet addiction through the whole family. the Better Homes & Gardens vivid dreams throw has cast a spell on us all, leading to frantic rummaging through the stash, feverish buying of missing colours and children and pets left unfed and ignored while we crochet "just one more square!"


vivid dreams squares

Mum and I are using brights in acrylic, while Di (the instigator) is using wool scraps and Manz is using wool in purples, teal, blues and greys. i guess we are doing our own crochetalong and hopefully our natural competitiveness will get these four very different afghans completed!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

BAMCAL!! i've joined the fun

i love sewalongs, quiltalongs and knitalongs! its fun to be egged on by other people in the crafty community and see the many varied design styles around the world. not to mention the shame of failing to keep up with your project or worse, not to finish at all!

drop in the pond

pretty petals

this year i've joined the Ravelry hosted crochetalong and will crochet 2 blocks a month to stitch into a lovely throw in December. these are January's blocks, 2 down, yay!