Wednesday, August 29, 2012

in the pink!

i did some disastrous sewing on the weekend that i just can't bear to show on this blog. i've converted some lovely Japanese voile into a totally unwearable top and i'm not taking the blame! suffice to say, if you have a bust, don't use a Japanese pattern book to make a sleeveless top, get the picture? rather than sink into doldrums, i got out my crochet hooks and worked on my BAMCAL squares instead. mmm, much better.

crocodile flower

shape shifting

i can't say that these squares were easy, there was a bit of ripping out involved, but crochet is such a forgiving craft and the finished blocks are really nice. each month i just use whatever colours i'm in the mood for, so i hope it's all going to look good together when finished!

 i did do a sneaky layout of all my finished squares so far and i was surprised to see how much pink i've been using lately. i always think that i don't like pink much, but the next project i'll hopefully be able to show tomorrow is also pink. i must be becoming more girly in my old age!

Friday, August 24, 2012

i heart linen

 after the cat debacle earlier this week, i had to discover how to recapture my mojo for sewing. over time i get sick of dressmaking and i even told my sister Di recently that i hate sewing and wish i could just do the wardrobe planning, choose the fabrics and let someone else sew up the garments for me. needless to say she was very surprised to hear me say this! i've learnt that the biggest thing to avoid is wardrobe planning because sewing becomes a production line, and then it's just another household job. sad isn't it?

technical drawing

this week i browsed some sewing blogs and noticed a lot of interest in Simplicity's Lisette patterns. i had bought one recently, so i found some nice linen to go with it that i've had in my stash for at least ten years! i used Simplicity 2245, view B, the Portfolio tunic dress but kept the length of view A thinking that i could always shorten it later after try on. and the verdict?

blue linen portfolio

i love it! the dress was a pleasure to sew, all pattern pieces matched up nicely, and the fabric was so good to use. i'm a convert to linen now because it looks expensive but sews and presses so well, even the center front gathers didn't end up too bulky. the fit on this pattern is also great, not too full and with some waist shaping. i really loved how the pockets were made too, and i finally realised that the designer of these patterns is the one behind the cute Oliver & S patterns. who wouldn't want to grow down to wear these retro play clothes; it makes me wish i had known about them when i had small people to sew for.

by the way i've decided to be brave and show my finished garments on me instead of 'Betty' the fashion dummy. when i was trawling blogs, i found it invaluable to see the item shown on a real person so i'm giving back a bit of that to anyone else who needs it. i just need to train my little girl to take flattering photos of me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

cats and craft don't mix!

contrary to all the cute pictures on the crafty blogs i read, a cat is not always your best friend when making stuff. you may remember my cat Max snuggled under my crochet in this post looking like the perfect well behaved pet. well, appearances are very deceptive in his case, his cuteness belies his evil little plans as soon as he is left alone. i'll tell you more in a minute...

last Saturday we had a taste of spring with a glorious sunny day with very light winds. it was so nice that we had to make a pup tent to keep the sun off while we had a backyard picnic. i had that thing when you look at  last year's clothes and think "i've got nothing to wear!" so  i promptly went off to Spotlight knowing that they had a 50% off summer fabric clearance and snapped up some lovely cotton to make a new dress.

sunny saturday

i started on a simple cotton shift and carefully matched the pattern at the seams, made nice, even binding and pressed to perfection. everything went really well and the fit was spot on. on Monday afternoon  i popped the dress on 'Betty' ready for today's photo shoot. this morning i noticed the dress was a bit askew so went to adjust it when i noticed a few holes in the fabic.

aaarrgh, holes!

i whipped the dress off the mannequin and HORROR! the entire back was covered in holes, evil little cat claw holes. he must have been busy all night wreaking havoc on my dress and who knows why? Dr Harry where are you? this isn't the first time he has attacked my clothes; this dress and necklace have also suffered from his claws, but with everything going so well i had forgotten. i had to leave the house and ahem, do some more retail therapy. when i came back home i noticed Max was back to his angelic phase, snuggled in the bean bag with Snowball. that's him on the left, how can i stay angry at him?

good and evil

i guess i'll try popping the dress in the washing machine to see if the holes magically close up a bit in the wash. meanwhile, i have cut out another dress and 'Betty' has moved to a locked room.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

the dependable expandable bag

wow another finished project to show you today. it's another atttic 24 number and the free pattern is on Lucy's site. this crochet bag is all over the net with roughly 1000 on Ravelry alone and i can see why.

stripey goodness

the stripey pattern is addictive; you know how it is "just one more colour and i'll... do the washing, make dinner, pick up the kids from school" etc! Lucy's pattern writing is clear and simple and i followed her colour choices fairly closely for a bit of mindless tv crochet.

closeup of strap

 i made i few changes: the yarn is a lighter weight (acrylics leftover from the granny stripe), smaller hook and i made the handles from some heavy twill tape. i chose not to line this bag so it could keep its 'stuffability' (yes blogger i know that's not a real word). i fit all 17 balls for the next project into this bag complete with pattern diary, scissors and hook. i would love to make more of these bags because i can see so many colour combinations that it would look nice in. i would also like to tweak the pattern slightly for a more streamlined shape. in the meantime i am granny squaring with all those lovely 17 colours for a new afghan.

excellent stuffability

Thursday, August 16, 2012

help! i can't stop crocheting!

this is serious everyone, no sooner do i get close to the end of a crochet project, i'm planning to start the next. piles of colourful yarn are being organised into baskets, bags or just clumped on the couch all ready to start. the agony of sewing in all the ends is hard to endure but then i sew in the last one, throw the FO aside and speedily make a chain for the next project. and who to blame? well, at the moment its Lucy from the attic24 blog. her colourful world has me hook, line and sinker. i love the colour combos in rainbows, boiled sweets and kids plastic beads so no surprises that i already had most of the yarn colours she uses in my stash!

sunshiny candy stripes

Lucy kindly provides a tutorial for this granny stripe blanket on her blog, but i warn you, if you love colour and crochet you may find yourself chaining for a new project before you know it! i used acrylic yarn from my stash, supplemented with some "moda vera" from Spotlight and some vintage acrylic from Mum's stash (a treasure trove of yarn with retro labels and prices!)

my little helper

granny stripes

i made my blanket narrower and longer than the pattern, it's about 116cm wide by 123cm long. i made my own edging as well, just 2 rows of trebles (UK) and 1 row of a simple picot to finish. more details are on my Ravelry page as usual. i started this project in March and have worked on it off and on, but because it's TV crochet it's been pretty quick and fun to make. and have i started a new project yet? you betcha! here's a sneak peek of it, and don't be surprised if it shows up later this week...

new project

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

a very quilty birthday surprise

yesterday we celebrated a double fifteenth birthday. i can't believe my little boys are already in their mid teens, when did that happen? i managed to snap them in the morning with a lot of "aw Mum, i don't like photos of myself" and "you're gonna put that on your blog and gush on about us aren't you?". honestly kids, i wouldn't do any of those things, cross my heart!

my birthday boys

after that, the aunties and grandma arrived for some grownup coffee and cake, as well as some not so grownup ice-cream cake. yummy! i had to pack them off in the afternoon so that i could keep stitching down the binding on this monster quilt for Levi, but i got it done before he came back. here's a sneaky washing line photo before i wrapped it.

levi's giant quilt

and here's the after photo when he wrapped himself in it. he was really happy with how huge this quilt is (it's queen size) and the combo of red, blue and white suits him too.

it's a wrap

 i imagine he will take this to a lot of different places when he follows his dream to become a pilot. it makes me a bit teary to think of this so i won't say anymore... except happy birthday boys, i love you both so much (embarrassing) and although i can't remember your first year much, i have enjoyed having you around for the last decade and a half.
 ok, no more gushing now, i promise!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


 today's crafting has been all about decisions; raiding the stash for colours, playing with different fibres and yarns, and paging through patterns.

natural or black?

knit or crochet?

plain or variegated yarn?

i never thought i would say it, but its actually fun to make tension swatches! i've learnt the hard way in the past, it's a good idea to see how the yarn looks and feels before committing to a big project.
one thing i haven't needed to think too much about colourwise, is my BAMCAL squares. yay! i've finally caught up with the last two squares for July.

eight pointed flower

stained glass

these squares were so much fun to make and look quite spring-like. just look at the inspiration in my garden...

early spring blooms

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

new blocks and a bit of a brag

crown jewels

i've finally got my crochet bug back and have been whipping through the BAMCAL blocks, only two more to catch up. what i love about doing this crochet-along, is that i've been learning lots of new techniques and stitches without it being an overwhelming challenge. i'm normally a granny square king of girl, probably due to laziness more than anything, although i do love the retro look!

schoharie spring

eyelet lace

some of these blocks would be lovely in an afghan if repeated in the same or matching colours, i would love to make a throw using the crown jewels block in a dark gypsy colourway. others would be great as washcloths like the eyelet lace one above; it has a nice squishy texture due to the double stitching. i'm saving all these patterns for future use when i've run out of things to do!

birthday pressies

now i just need to have a little brag about the beautiful cowl Di made me for my birthday. it's made from a yarn i have eyed off for years - Noro wool and silk. now i know why there's all these Noro addicts and knitting groups, this yarn is supremely comfortable to wear, and the dyes are amazing. i love this a lot, it's a tie with my Dottie Angel book that Di also sent me. i was very lucky this year! hop over to Di's blog if you want to know more.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

BAMCAL catchup

i can't believe its already August, as usual the year is flying by. i've started thinking about warmer days and summery projects to plan for outdoor crafting at barbecues, the beach and watching the kids cricket matches. of all the crafts i love to do, crochet is one of the most portable and it's easy to keep track of during all those welcome interruptions you get on summer days!

backyard palms

thoughts of crochet reminded me of my temporarily abandoned 2012BAMCAL project and how nice it will be when finished at the end of the year; a lovely colourful cotton blanket for hot nights. i hopped onto Ravelry quick smart to download the next lot of blocks. i'm a bit behind so those hooks will be flashing madly this week before the August blocks are posted. here are the three i made yesterday.


moroccan tile

lions mane

by the way, if you spied the delicious bag charm on the denim bag in yesterday's post, it was made by my other very talented sister Barb who does fabulous things with beads as well as beautifully made clothes. thanks Barb!

Friday, August 3, 2012

pockets of spring

hello there! i'm back to life after a bout of the flu that was bad enough to make me not feel like crafting anything. glad that's over and this week i've started making some accessories for the coming spring/summer season. i used my sick days to browse blogs and magazines for inspiration and the bag & bracelet combos i came up with tap into three strong trends for spring 2012.

ethnic bracelet

ethnic matchup

bracelet made from a tutorial from swellmayde, a great DIY site to visit, and the bag was a jeans recycling idea from burda style June 2012.

fluoro bracelet

fluoro matchup

this bracelet was made from an article in issue #16 of Mollie Makes and the clutch was based on a tutorial from style scrapbook except i lined mine and bound the edges of my zip in a contrasting vinyl for a neater finish.

friendship bracelet
festival matchup

the friendship bracelet was made from the same issue of Mollie Makes as above, and the bag was another denim recycling idea, this time from burda style February 2012.
that just leaves pastel, tie-dye, lace, ombre, mermaid, africa, two-tone and floral to try out! hopefully this winter sun will re-energise the batteries for some full bore crafting. see you soon...