Friday, 22 April 2016

Q is for...

Quilting

Ohk it's two days later but it's been that sort of week at work. Honestly I now admire those that hold down a full time job and manage to do anything else! 

Anyway onto my topic. I first started quilting when I was given a class at my local quilting shop. Actually I think I was given the bag making class and got drawn in by the quilting class. It was only a beginner quilt that was lap size but it was so much fun to make! It's in purple, although I actually made two as mum loved the pattern so much she bought me a second kit and would you believe it ? It's purple! 

Right now I'm sleeping with my little single bed quilt, that I made when I lived at the boarding house, over my half of the blanket as I'm getting colder at night than James does. Part of that quilt is showing below. 



My most recent make was a quilted blanket for my friend's baby in bright blues and blacks. I maybe make one quilt every couple of years. Maybe. I just don't have the money or the time to be buying that level of fabric when I just don't want to a lot. That's the wrong words. I want to but really don't enjoy working on the big sports of quilts that I really want to make because I just don't have the sewing space! One day I will have it again but until then I think I'll stick to mainly sewing clothes and toys. 

We can all dream though.
Happy stitching,
Caitlin

 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

P is for ...

Perfection


We all strive for it and I am noticing that more and more I'm beginning to realize that it doesn't have to be. We don't have to be perfect to make good clothes. I don't have to be perfect to enjoy this challenge. And mostly I don't have to be perfect in my life. That realisation does lift a lot of stress from my head. It makes me think about what is important and what isn't.

This post for instance wasn't that important today. Posting at the same time and making sure it's all perfect isn't important. Yes I want to complete the challenge for me but it can be done in my way to my rules. I don't have to follow anyone's rules but mine.

When I sewed that dress on the weekend I first put it on and realised just how far off it was. It wasn't perfect but I couldn't leave it as it was. Here is where I could have stressed and worried and measured. But I eyeballed it as I wanted a loose dress just shaped loose! I made the sides even. And just stuck them under the over locker. Then when I had those looking fine I just used my eyes again and worked out how much roughly to cut off the back.

It was a wonderful way of working I wasn't stressed I was in fact enjoying just putting it together. I'm beginning to realize that for a stress head like me the best way to work is with a bit of structure and to see how it works out. I know enough to not make silly mistakes tooooo often and to learn from them. Good things come from it.

So it's late here and I'm already in bed. It's not perfection but it's fun.

Happy stitching,
Caitlin


Monday, 18 April 2016

O is for...

Out of Ideas

I'm up to O and although I missed one day I'm currently out of ideas. I couldn't even think of a title for this post. So instead of being fancy I'm going to disappear into pictures. ... I'm dreaming of ideas and thoughts today...

My work is apparently really really cold in winter and honestly I can see it already. SO I know my ideas are well out of my ability to do before I need it this winter. But I love, love, love all these ideas :D


Oh I love this radiating dragonfly blanket. By Charmed by Ewe. You can find the free pattern here.  I could have so much fun with this. 

This owl blanket is beautiful and I actually have part of the pattern. I have the pattern for the tote but I could turn it into a blanket really easily. 


The pattern from The hat and I would be awesome! 

Sooooo many dreams :D I could make it simple I could do complicated but it would be lots of fun. In many different ways. 

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin


N is for...

Nothing

Sorry I forgot to post up on Saturday. I could say I wasn't near a computer but that would be a lie. I was home most of the afternoon but honestly I was spending it piecing together pattern pieces so that on Sunday I might actually get something achieved.

I had all thoughts of posting something but it just didn't happen. Of course the result of all sorts of nothing was a finished dress on Sunday :D I am really happy with my nothing. Sorry about the bad selfies though. I will have to get a photo when I'm all dressed up for work. I'm excited to add this to my work wardrobe. More colour and pretty :D


Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Friday, 15 April 2016

M is for ...

Magazines

I used to buy a lot of cross stitch magazines and I had a couple of subscriptions. That was great until I realised I couldn't sew all the patterns if I tried. So I went through ALL my cross stitch magazines and cut them up. I then sorted them out into patterns I wanted to keep, which I put into binders, and patterns I didn't want. I then proceeded to hand the patterns onto friends and family so that I wasn't keeping them in the house. I went from a full shelf of patterns to half a shelf of organised patterns that I can actually use.

But cross stitch magazines aren't my only weakness. A couple of years ago I bought a subscription to the Art of Crochet. I actually really liked the magazine and I've made some of the items I just found that the yarn that came with it was poor quality and eventually you run out of drive to work on the projects. Also when it's 40 degrees outside in our summer and the British magazine is going on about the perfect summer cardigan I kinda started laughing. We don't do cardigans in summer. We don't do a lot of clothes in summer. It's too bloody hot. So I cancelled that subscription. (This was after something like 35 magazines so I have a decent amount of patterns to work from)

My latest obsession is an online magazine for sewing. Actually it's two online sewing magazines.

One called One Thimble is an Australian magazine with a lot of kids sewing patterns but also some adult ones (quilting and handbags) Tutorials about sewing and all sorts of fun projects. I became an affiliate when I realised I was buying the magazine and loving the patterns ... I just had to share.

The other magazine that I'm quickly becoming obsessed with is called seamwork. Oh gosh this magazine is full of all sorts of fun information and tutorials but what I love the most is for just $6 each month I get to download two new patterns for sewing clothes. I find that most of the patterns are really easy to use for work clothes! I made two tops from the Akita so far and I have plans to make a pair of leggings this weekend and possibly a dress as well. (refer to my post yesterday). I have a day on the overlocker booked for Sunday and I'm going to get all the prep work done before hand!



Now if you follow this link to the seamwork magazine and you decide to subscribe I will get some of my subscription for free just so you know. But if you're into sewing clothes I would highly recommend checking it out. It's not expensive for an interesting magazine!

I do find it interesting that I have two links to share and both are affiliates the reason why is both magazines I feel offer a lot and I want to keep buying them. So if it's your cup of tea, enjoy. Otherwise just talk magazines.

What magazines do you currently read? I am happy to find new ones.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Thursday, 14 April 2016

L is for...

Lists

Does anyone else use lists to keep track of ideas and plans? I get to a point where I have so many plans and ideas going through my head that if I don't get them out of my head I start feeling like I'm going to explode. That and the ideas start getting lost in the fluff.

At the moment I have a growing sewing list that isn't being actioned. And I just worked out why I'm so reluctant to sew at the moment! I told Lana I would make her a skirt next but I just can't work out how to make it work like I want it to. So, I'm procrastinating with the whole list. The only problem is I told her it would be the next project on the list... Therefore all sewing is stalled. I think I need to talk to her and re-evaluate so I can move onto more projects.


Now the lists are starting to get out of control. I have the big overarching ones which outline the projects that I have/want to do. Then I have the lists for each project. Just to show you what one of my lists looks like...

I bought some fabric over the weekend with 2 major purposes in mind and then a couple of other ideas if I have enough fabric. 
I want to make a pair of leggings for myself and for my sister. Then we shall see what else I can do. But I can't get to the fun part of sewing as the list currently sits like this:
  1. Wash Material (Can't skip this as the fabric is a knit!)
  2. Dry in a dryer (could skip this but I want to shrink it as much as possible before cutting)
  3. Trace Pattern size for myself
  4. Cut out Pattern pieces
  5. Sew Pieces together using the overlocker at mum's
Can you see how frustrating that list is looking? I know what I want to do but can't yet as we've had a couple of wet days and I don't have a dryer so need to visit mums. Also once I finish that first pair the list continues.
  1.  Measure my sister
  2. Trace pattern size for her (adjusting for tallness)
  3. Cut out pattern pieces
  4. Sew pieces at mums.  
THEN there are the rest of the projects.
  • Use the rayon I bought last year to make another dress (no photo sorry)
  • Make a top out of the purple and green fabric
 
  • Work out what I want to make out of this gorgeous blue fabric. 
 

All of these will have many steps involved as well. Some easy, some annoying. This is of course only the projects that I have planned for myself. I have shorts planned for the munchkins and all sorts of other ideas.

Do you think I'm crazy? Can I also mention this is only my sewing clothes list. It doesn't include my knitting, crochet, cross stitch of my non clothes sewing. Those lists are growing too and there aren't enough hours in the day! Do you know how I handle this? Just one step at a time!

So I'm going to say goodbye for today and if you're looking for me I think you'll find me curled up on the floor tracing out patterns. That is the only step I can make at the moment.

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

K is for...

Kill Me



Ohk not the title you were probably expecting today. But I've been in the process of untangling an absolute mess of yarn and it kinda felt appropriate. I carry my knitting projects in a bag and the yarn keeps getting all tangled up. I REALLY need to put all my yarn in little bags. 

Unfortunately the more you move a ball of yarn around the more you have to deal with it tangling. I have worked out a method that seems to work when I remember to put the yarn in the bag. A plastic lunch bag seem to work fairly well as it stops it moving. 

I've seen so many clever ideas for yarn holders on pinterest. There are many many ideas from the simple container with a hole, to the fancy. 


This one comes with http://hubpages.com/art/How-to-Make-Your-Own-Yarn-Dispenser simple instructions... I should learn!

I really love the idea of using this teapot! It is really awesome ... I should look for a second hand one that I can use. 


I have all sorts of ideas ...  I really should use them!

HappyStitching, 
Caitlin


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

J is for...

Just in time

Oh we've all probably done our share of these sorts of projects. It seems to be for me at Christmas time I'm running around the two days before trying to get some sewing finished in a mad rush before the due date. I do it to myself every year. I have MONTHS to decide and can't pick something until 3 days before?? 

I remember a couple of years of sewing up ornaments the night before. There was one year I had only started making 30 ornaments the week before! Then the year where on Christmas day I was sitting there sewing in the ends and sewing on buttons as I was trying to wrap the presents and get them out the door! 

Last year I thought would be different as I wasn't making presents for everyone but there I was Christmas eve sewing on my machine trying to finish a pillow case for the little boy. Part of the issue is they are now old enough to notice and pay attention to what I'm doing at the machine. That and they are smart enough to put two and two together. 

But when will I learn to make a decision months in advance and actually stick to it? How hard is it to just decide to make something and do it? Apparently very hard because I do it to myself EVERY year! 

Can I make a vow not to do it to myself again? But then again you all know how much I will stick by that vow.... It will be me next year on Christmas eve sitting at my sewing machine trying to finish it in time. 

Please tell me I'm not the only one? If I'm not can someone give me a hint of how to stop myself? 

Oh well ... maybe one day :D

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Monday, 11 April 2016

I is for...

Inches vs Centimetres



Just to make this clear if you didn't already know. I live in Australia. Which means we learn to measure distance in metric measurements. Unlike the kids now though my parents learnt inches and cm so we were taught both at school so we had a basic understanding. My school rulers had both on them but until I started to quilt the only thing I measured in inches was my height and that is only because I measure myself off my mother. 

When I started learning how to quilt it took me by surprise that everyone uses inches. It didn't make sense until you think about the fact that quilting (in it's current form) originated from America. That was the driving force behind it. All the supplies and rulers were coming out of there. So it was better just to turn around and say in quilting we use inches. It makes life easier, no changing up from pattern to pattern or trying to remember what you're doing. 

The crazy thing is that this has gone into other areas of my sewing. I use a 1/4" seam all the time or a 5/8" I couldn't tell you how many centimetres that is! It also helps that my grandma still measures and does everything in inches as she didn't have centimetres when she started. So she speaks in inches, my mum also sews in inches so it wasn't a hard transition. 

This came to light over the weekend. I had to go buy some fabric. Now although we quilt in inches and need a certain amount in inches you can only buy fabric in metres here. So I'm standing there at the counter trying to work out how many metres roughly would a yard and a half be. In the end I got WAY more than I needed as I want a couple of pairs of pants out of it.  But it was interesting how ingrained it is to just work in imperial measurements and not bother with centimetres. I even got annoyed the other day that the kids ruler doesn't have inches marked when I needed something quickly. (That's their ruler and my quilting one in the picture above)

I do find it funny how something that we are meant to have fazed out and not using is becoming more prevalent for me as time goes on? 

I do measure some stuff in metric:
  • road distances
  • lengths of most objects
  • houses
But I will always measure these items in inches:

  • my height
  • any sort of fabric
  • Anything for sewing!
  • babies (well at least convert them to pounds so I can understand compared to my mother) 
It's a weird world. 
Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Saturday, 9 April 2016

H is for ...

Hairspray!

This isn't anything to do with crafting but it was too good a timing to miss! Last night I went to see the Arena Spectacular of Hairspray! It was such a lucky night. The tickets were a Christmas gift from my sister and we had such a wonderful time. 

I've been a fan of hairspray since the movie came out. I loved Zac Efron he was awesome and John Travolta was amazing. Not that these were the actors we saw last night but they started my love. I just loved having the chance to see it in a musical. 


I was the arena spectacular so they had a cast of 800 people. They filled the stage area! The singers were great and the atmosphere was great. It was pretty awesome that I ran into my friend while I was there too. It was great to catch up and talk musicals. 

I'm glad that I got the chance to go so thank  you Bec if you're here. 

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Friday, 8 April 2016

G is for...

Granny stripe

I've mentioned this a lot over the last little while as it's getting so close to a finish. But I just have to mention it again. A couple of years ago I started making a granny stripe blanket using the pattern by attic 24. It isn't as big as I wanted it to be but that's what happens when you just get sick of working on it. It's big enough to curl up under on the couch and that's what I care about. 

I'm just two rows from a finished border. Or I like to say two corners as I'm working the two rows simultaneously. But this blanket hasn't been easy. I found I started off by casting on too tight so had to undo it.  Then I spent two years working on it because I put it away over the summers... Way too hot to sit under a blanket in 35 degree heat! 

Then I got to the border but quickly realised that I'd miscounted the links from one line to the next and putting the border on just made it go a bit wonky. I used that as a chance to try out a ruffly edge. 

It's been a fun experience so far but I'm not looking forward to sewing in those ends. It hasn't been all straight forward but for my first big crocheted blanket I'm really proud of it. 


Happy stitching, 
Caitlin

Thursday, 7 April 2016

F is for...

Failures

And oh I've had some doozies in my time! I wish I had some photos of my failures but quite often they just get put in the draw and forgotten about.

I have a draw full of yarn and hiding around the bottom and about half a dozen half built bodies (for amigurumi animals and people). Sometimes it works out well and others just sit there as I tried a new pattern or colour and just never finished.

Quite often when I want to start a new knitting pattern I have to rip something off my old needles. Sometimes it's something salvageable but often it's a fragment of a stitch or from a pattern that I no longer want to do.

Even my cross stitch isn't immune. I haven't had horrible failures that make me want to scream but often times I start little projects and they just get forgotten. They weren't something I really wanted to do so I don't continue. Though one day I was sitting stitching and knocked over a glass of wine ALL over my cross stitch! Thankfully it wasn't white fabric and the wine wasn't red. I immediately jumped up and ran my cross stitch under water to clean it and put it away for a while. I almost had a heart attack!

I have noticed that my hands can leave marks on the fabric so I tend to avoid holding the front side of the fabric after having some marks that I just haven't been able to clear off pieces. You don't want to see the white area of a finished piece with grubby marks all over it.

When I was younger (teenager) I used to do a lot of beading. But gave that up when I got sick of picking up seed beads from the floor. It was a weekly occurrence to tip over a tray FULL of these little tiny beads. They were only 3mm across and they would go EVERYWHERE! I just got sick of having to pick up and sort the colours again so that I could do anything more on my project. There are many beading projects sitting there half finished because of how tired I became with fixing up my mistakes.


You learn to change how you work to accommodate the lessons you learn. I never sit a glass of wine anywhere near my cross stitch anymore. I always hold the fabric from the back and I don't work with seed beads if I don't have to!

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

E is for...



Crafting Everyday



I set myself a bit of a personal challenge. Last year in November I joined in a craft every day challenge. It kinda fell flat though as I started my full-time job at the beginning of the month and well it’s hard to craft when you’re exhausted! It’s been 5 months now and I’m settled into my work and still loving it.

But since then I’ve set myself a sort of mini challenge. I’m not documenting every day like I was trying to do in November, but I’m trying to craft every day. It makes me feel better when there is something just for me that I’ve achieved each day. At the moment my go to craft is my Granny Stripe blanket. I’ve made myself a little nook in the corner of the couch. There I can work on my blanket each night. Sometimes it’s only 2 stitches, sometimes like Saturday I manage a decent amount. I know that despite everything else in my life going crazy it’s one thing I always have. I like being able to move forward each day. 

 (I really, really need to make myself a better pillow for my space!)

It’s always been that way for me. It’s why I will never make a career out of my crafts as I will always change for my whims and pleasures. It is my relaxation NOT my money.
My partner learnt long ago not to get between me and my crafts. It would be impossible to try. He’s right that sometimes (often) I have to clean up the clutter that takes over but he also knows that without crafts I’m just a little lost. They help me to stay calm and balanced. 

I'm also a bit of a multi-tasker as you can see by the photo. I tend to sit with my book and my crochet all at once. Not much happens, but I feel comfortable. 

Do you try and craft every day? Or is there something else that is your thing? 

Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

D is for ...

My Designs

I've worked with children in a variety of rolls since I was about 15. But the more I worked with them the more I wanted to share my favourite crafts, The more I looked at designs, the more I realised how many are too hard/long for kids. 

When a kid can't finish within a couple of hours they are bored! Give them time and motivation and they'll eventually get there and even enjoy big projects. But not straight away! You go to spotlight and the cross stitch marketed to kids is disney and that's fine but they aren't doable by kids, only the adults in their life. I've talked about this many times, here particularly. So I'm going to stop ranting now. 

But that is why I started designing cross stitch. I haven't designed many recently but they are based around simple easy designs that can be put together quickly for children. They don't have any back stitch and very simple colours. I can finish one of them in about 30 mins to 1 hour. 

Some of my favourite designs are these:





Oh and so much more! There is a lot more go check out my etsy shop A couple of cute little animals and always closer to Christmas I bring out a collection of Christmas designs. 

I just wish that more kids would get into the arts and crafts and spend less time on devices. It would be a much better place if they all took the time to learn how to make the items that they use. Maybe then they would appreciate items better. 


Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin



Monday, 4 April 2016

C is for ...

Cross Stitch and How it all began



I worked at a boarding house for a year just after I graduated from University and just before I started this blog. Between all the staff members we had a gift giving policy that you were paired up and had to give a gift to that person for their birthday.
Around comes my birthday and I get given a couple of balls of yarn (which are still around somewhere, just need to find the perfect project) and a cross stitch kit. It was Belle from Beauty and the Beast. I hadn’t really done any cross stitch before despite receiving a couple of kits for various birthdays throughout the years. I received a really advanced one for my 12th birthday that I tried to start but didn’t really know how to work from a chart. I kinda wish I knew where I hid that now as I really want to see if I could finish it now. (I maybe got 4 stitches in when I was younger)

I had never been hooked on cross stitch but decided to give this one a decent go. Being slightly Disney obsessed I loved the theme. I organised the supplies and found a frame to hold the cross stitch and off I went. I was truly hooked! It took a couple of months but I finished that cross stitch and since then have never looked back.



As soon as I had finished that project I was rushing off to buy the threads and find the fabric for my next one. I just wish now that I had more time for every project that walks in the door.

Unfortunately the Belle Cross Stitch is still sitting tucked up neatly in my finishing box waiting to be finished. It’s an awkward size and I really don’t know what I want to finish it as. Maybe someday the inspiration will strike and I will have no choice. It’s just too big for an ornament and not special enough (or goes with my decorations) for me to want to put it on my wall. So it just sits there in the box and waits. 

I wish I had more time at the moment but my cross stitch is getting neglected in favour of slightly more useful projects like work clothes!

Happy Stitching,
Caitlin  

Saturday, 2 April 2016

B is for...

Knitted Ball


When I was working as a teacher I used to pick up games from all the different places. One of the most common games was called Silent Ball. Almost every class seemed to have a version of it that they played. The rules were very similar. But not all schools had a ball. I needed something that could safely be thrown around a classroom. Out came the knitting needles. I think I used a pattern for a Christmas ornament or something and created this ball.



I didn't stitch it in the round but sewed it up at the side. You can kinda see the seam in the picture above.

The game was always awesome fun and I'm going to share the rules with you. 

Silent Ball

Rules

1. You can not speak, you must be silent while playing. (or you're out)
2. All throws must be underarm. No Pegging the ball. 
3. A bad catch and you're out. Bad Throw and you're out. 
4. You can't throw back to the person who threw to you (or you're out) unless it's the last 5 people. 

How to play

Throw the ball around the classroom until someone makes a mistake and then they sit down. The game continues like this until you have only one person left. It's as simple as that. Sometimes if the kids held the ball too long I would add a hot potato rule, meaning the ball would have to leave their hand within the count of three. You can make it as simple or as complicated as you want but have fun playing.


Happy Stitching, 
Caitlin

Friday, 1 April 2016

A is for...

AndSewWeCraft.com


As some of you may or may not know last year I started writing for another craft blog as well my personal blog. At the time I had a lot of extra time to craft and wanted to reach a different audience to what I was with this blog.

I had been reading that blog for a while when they needed someone who would be able to write regularly and contribute something else to the group. I love posting over there and reading what others write as it is always different and interesting compared to how I craft. Although there are other crocheters and cross stitchers there the combination of crafts and skills that I have are unique to me. Everyone likes different projects. It is awesome!

So please go check it out at www.andsewwecraft,com

So you can find me over there on a Thursday (usually weekly but sometimes I just can't post) and I share everything from cross stitch through to sewing and crochet and everything in between. My adventures at the sewing machine this year have mainly been shared over there although that has been quiet for a couple of weeks. I also did a series last year of Beginner Cross Stitch. But no matter what your craft there is usually someone writing there about it.



 Retreat Time

We actually have a craft retreat coming up in June and I know I'm starting to jump out of my skin in excitement. I think I will be one of the only people there doing the crafts I do in the way that I do them but in the same breath I will be around rooms full of other crafters.

I am really looking forward to going away for a weekend where the sole purpose is to craft. There are a few places if you want to come along and you are around Brisbane in June.

SO that's enough for today. hope to see you around.
Happy Stitching,
Caitlin






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