Wednesday, 4 October 2017

This Last Month

So for about the 100th time in the 10 years since leaving school I have just finished moving again. One day I would like to settle into my own house and stop moving but until then I will enjoy what I can.

Thankfully we have moved into a house with enough space for a craft room.... unfortunately it still looks roughly like this!

Of course it won't stay like that but I kinda have to focus on trying to get some uni work finished at some point very soon. My mid semester exams are all finished and my group assignments are due in the next couple of weeks. Because of uni ramping up craft has taken a bit of a sideline. I sneak in a project or two mainly to keep myself sane but it often only gets a couple of stitches done.

That said I am constantly carrying around this lovely shawl in my bag and I work on it when I can. Mainly a little bit at lunch and when I'm waiting for stuff to happen. It's going to be beautiful when finished and I'm going to enjoy wearing it next winter as we don't have much of this year left to wear it in!! It's the cascade clusters shawl by planet june. I will share more information when I have it finished.

Just before moving I visited Lincraft for a little treat and to get some supplies for upcoming projects. The fabric on the left is to make a giraffe for a friend. Her daughter and son fight over the one I gave him so I'm making another for her. The green cakes are for another rainbow ripple blanket for another friend's baby. 

Being roughly what I'd call a 10ply yarn or worsted weight (depending what system you use) it is working up really quickly considering the lack of time I've spent on this so far. It is my pick up and do in the evening when I have 5 minutes spare before falling asleep project. With all the moving I have been collapsing to sleep really early. My friend picked out the cake out of a selection I showed her but I'm also glad that I like working with this yarn.

I also have another baby blanket I should be working on but it just requires too much thought at this point. After my assignments are finished I should have time again and thoughts. We shall see!! 

Last weekend we escaped the crazy and I took the kids into see riverfire. It's a firework display in my city where they have barges in the river and also points on the buildings. We were there from mid afternoon and had our spot saved a couple of hours before the fireworks started. It gets really crowded but at least they have some entertainment before hand. They had army helicopters doing manoeuvres and the jets come through and even a C-17 fly over. It makes it more enjoyable to wait. 


I will leave you now with my stories from this month. Hopefully next month will feel a lot more settled and I might be able to actually achieve something.

Happy Stitching,

Monday, 28 August 2017

My new Beret

I have thing for Berets. I seem to prefer them over beanies. Often because they are smarter to wear than a beanie and when I wear them most is for work. This beret was made to match my cowl I made for work. It is actually a matching pattern (by the same designer with the same lace pattern). I have also planned to make a pair of fingerless gloves to match as well. She hasn't got a set of gloves but I found these on ravelry that look similar enough to be able to work with.

So here is the pattern I used for this beret. The beret de printemps.

 I tried to get all artistic and get a fancy photo. I think it turned out alright :D But you can really get an idea of the stitch. Also I know I've been lazy and haven't bothered to block it but honestly the moment it was finished it got placed on my head.... it's hard to block something on my head!

 I just think it looks so awesome on my head that I can't take it off for very long!

 I do like the interlocking lace in this stitch but it did take a long time to work up.
And here you can see the side of my head. It has a slight slouch as should a beret without being slouchy and plays up my hair rather nicely.I also love that I can be lazy with hairstyles while wearing my berets. So much easier to style my hair!!

So expect at least one more post eventually in my navy blue installments as I will be making some sort of glove and maybe even a different type of scarf. I have enough yarn to play around with and make a pile of different sets, whatever works and I can combine different types.

I'm also torturing myself by teaching myself combined knitting ... which is continental with a couple of changes. I'm slower with it but I think that in time I will be MUCH quicker than I am with English style. Though I'm finding it confusing holding the yarn in the left hand. Oh well we shall see if I change styles or keep it the same in time.

Happy Stitching,

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Lekala 4345 Dress

I am sooooo excited to finally be able to show you guys this dress. I finished it over the weekend and it's been a journey and a half.

I will start this by saying NONE of my issues have started with the pattern itself. I found the pattern easy to work with but I didn't read the lekala instructions I just worked it like I thought I should. I also didn't use any facings. I also didn't add the cap sleeves as I figured it was more versatile without them.

To start with I used a cotton broadcloth in brown. Why I picked brown I'm not quite sure as it really doesn't fit with the colours I seem to be working with more and more but I do like how it looks. (I just seem to be heading towards navy not brown). It took me AGES to cut out the fabric. It sat on the floor of my craft room for ages. Also being a broadcloth I had to adjust how the pieces sat on it as it's not as wide as a normal bolt of fabric.

To make sure I had enough room for this zip (as lekela patterns are notorious for only having 1cm in the seams) I added another cm when cutting out all the fabric onto the back seam on all bits. Just something to be aware of and I'm glad I did.

I sewed all the bits together then I prepared to sew in the zip. I started by pinning it and then I tacked the zip in figuring it would make it easier.

 Here is the disaster it became!!

I am usually a better sewer than this but this is what I managed. It was puckered and pulling and I couldn't sew straight to save myself!

So unpicking I did go. Not my idea of fun sewing. Then I tried again. Eventually I pulled out the tacking and tried pinning again instead. It's still not perfect and no I'm not showing you what it looks like now. But believe me when I say it is a LOT better than above but NOWHERE near where I love it. I'm actually debating adding some embroidery down the zip just to hide it.

Of course I found out that I probably should have added interfacing onto the fabric and that would have helped with the way it was pulling and puckering. This was only after the third time and I had had enough of the bloody zip.

In case you were wondering how I finished all the hems, I use my grandma's method. Overlock around all the hems and then just fold under by the overlocked part. I have used this method any time that I don't add binding to a hem. It really is so quick and easy.

So after all this talk here is the finished product.

 I love love love the fit and flare aspect of this dress. It's not a really tight dress but it is comfortable to wear.

I may need to fiddle the back of the neck section and add a couple of darts. Not sure as I don't want it too tight.

It's still technically winter here so I'm still wearing my summer dresses over leggings and long sleeved shirts.
Of course I love the skirt of this dress. It has the right amount of up when turning in circles.

Oh and those people with beady eyes will notice the beret I'm wearing I will need to write up a post for that one too. Just not today. But I may manage to finally get a photo of it today.

Happy Stitching,

Monday, 21 August 2017

Simple knitted gloves and beanie

I needed a simple easy pattern to use a chunky yarn that I picked up at spotlight about a month ago. So I created this glove and beanie set. I have included a partial pattern below. (It is really only a series of instructions I didn't exactly follow a pattern just a feeling.)

I used a 1x1 rib stitch and Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast On and Bind Off. If you haven't done this method of cast on and off I highly recommend it for this purpose. It wouldn't suit a scarf but for this it was required. I found out how to do the cast on by searching you tube and watching a couple of videos to get an idea.

I used size 9 needles with this chunky yarn shown above.  I could have worked the beanie in the round but didn't because I didn't have circular needles that big and I wasn't buying any.

To make the gloves:

I cast on 22 stitches and then used a 1x1 knit / purl pattern for 26 rows. I then cast off. (You could keep going to make these longer if you wanted)

Next you fold the glove in half and sew it together leaving a hole for the thumb. They are that complicated!

I'm actually halfway through another pair for my boy. These ones are using 3 strands of dk weight mill end yarn I bought.  Everything else is the same.

To make the Beanie:

I cast on 60 stitches and using the 1x1 rib again did 8 inches of knitting. I then decreased basically every second stitch then as it got smaller every stitch.

When I had 8 stitches left on the needles I gathered them all onto a sewing needle and fastened them off. I then sewed the beanie together.

So they're not the most sophisticated or fancy gloves and beanie but they do one really important thing. They work! They are lovely and warm and comfortable and my girl likes them.

If you want me to explain better I can but it really was a hodge podge to make as I wasn't measuring everything out. You may find you want to cast on different amounts and that doesn't matter as long as the stitch count is even. This style is very forgiving and would work in any size/type of yarn. I'm going to use a dk yarn and smaller needles and make a set for myself it will just take longer.

Happy stitching,

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Cleaning my blog list

I'm sitting here today thinking that it's been a while since I updated my blog list. I've been going through it and realising I still follow hundreds of blogs that haven't posted anything for 1000 days.  That is almost 3 years ... all they're doing is clogging up my feed.

I have noticed the cross stitch blogs I used to follow a lot have died down. Some of the people I still follow via Facebook or instagram, they just don't blog anymore, and some just fell off entirely and I assume life just got to crazy to share anymore for whatever reason.

It is refreshing just cleaning everything out and having an up to date list in my feedly. But it's also had me thinking about why I blog. It started as just a way to share my projects and stay a little bit accountable to someone other than me. Then I found that as time went on I had something to share and things to teach others. I am self taught with some skills but also collect information on many crafts.

I was doing only cross stitch and it's become about every craft that I do with a couple of random life stuff thrown in. For those still following me I hope this is alright as it really isn't going to change anytime soon. I love all crafts and as life happens I change what I work on at that time.

Recently (in the last year) I have gone back to university so time is limited and often my crafting time is actually sitting in lectures so my projects are often small and easy to work on. I also consider how relevant that project is and whether the time I spend on it is worth it. So knitted and sewing items for work get priority over something made just because. It's the problem with multiple crafts they all pull at me and something ends up suffering.

I often use instagram to share as it's so much quicker but then again blogging allows me to tell more of the story and to collate it all together better than instagram does. Also as much as everything gets shared to my Facebook page it's not my favourite way to communicate. Very like instagram in that it's only small comments.

Now what is the purpose of this post? Well I'm spring cleaning and this caused thoughts to go around in my head.  But in the end I came to the conclusion that I'm going to continue to blog and share my thoughts and trials as I learn. I'm not perfect or an expert on everything but I'm willing to teach and share what I do know.  I have something to offer and still feel that this is the best way to do it.

Now I need to work out what projects I still need to share here and expect some photos soon.

Happy stitching,

Monday, 10 July 2017

One Finished Cowl

My workplace is freezing through winter as it is a concrete block with nothing underneath so the breeze comes through and freezes from the bottom up. I decided that over time I will make myself a collection of sets of gloves, scarfs/cowls and beanies/berets that I can wear to work. I say sets because I have a couple of plain scarfs and stuff but have found that I can't match them with anything. I can wear the scarf by itself but don't have a hat for it or I have a beret with no matching scarf. I have enough of the grey yarn I made the meret beret out of to make a scarf to match as well which I am glad about. So at least I can match with that one.

So here is the start of my matching collection. I bought enough of this Navy Panda Magnum 8 ply acrylic yarn to make a set of fingerless gloves, cowl, beret and probably even a scarf if I wanted. I have finished the cowl so far.

I'm using this Pattern: Cowl De Printemps

For the beret I will be using the matching pattern which makes me happy. I will then work something out for the gloves to make it work.  Probably using the lace pattern in a rectangle and them seam them up.

I'm not doing that much knitting at the moment as it's my carry project but work is to crazy busy to knit much. But I had a day at a conference last month and I managed to finish my cowl while listening to the speakers.
But please excuse the bad looking photo. The dark blue is really really hard to photograph so in order to show the pattern I end up with a washed out photo.

To finish off this cowl I killed the yarn so that it was nice and soft and the pattern really shows up. I'm not going to be able to do that with the beret so hopefully conditioner will do the job.

But to give everyone a better photo I even managed to get a nice selfie of myself wearing it at work.

As you can see it's nice and loose around my neck which I like but I can twist it a little and it sits snuggly. I hope I can get the set done before winter is over so I have at least one set to wear but we shall see. I have a new project that I need to get done by January and I also have a dress that I have almost finished making. These projects aren't the most important on my list at the moment and honestly if they take me a year I don't mind as I can carry them easily on my bike to and from uni and work so I can enjoy them.

Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

That First Cut

I always struggle when making a new dress or outfit or even a quilt, when I make that first cut into the fabric. You spend so long dreaming and planning what this fabric is going to become but once you make that first cut you can't undo it!

The thoughts that always go through my head are:

''What happens if I cut in the wrong place"

"What happens if it doesn't fit or I've planned the wrong size"

"Do I definitely have enough fabric to fit the pieces onto?"

"Are the pieces the right way around?"

 And often the hardest question I always ask myself is

"After all this work will I actually like and wear the finished piece?" 

This is the current floor of my craft room. I have the fabric laid out on the floor with the pieces of the skirt sitting on top. Since taking this photo I've already rearranged the pieces once. What makes it hard is 3 of the skirt piece will need to be cut a second time so I can't lay them out twice to see what will fit better. Then there are the bodice pieces for this dress and the waist yoke. I am extremely glad I have 4 meters of fabric to play with particularly since it's a broadcloth so not as wide as fabric normally is.

The other thing I have to remember is to add another cm into the back seam so I can add the zip easily otherwise I'll be sitting there with not enough fabric.

I'm making a Lekala 4345 dress. (warning if you like collecting clothes patterns that is a BAD website!) Well I should be saying I will be making.... it is still currently spread out on the floor waiting for me to be brave. 4 days later..... tonight I will get up the braves.... tonight.

It's so easy to undo your cross stitch or knitting and crochet. Although it does make rather a mess of threads and yarn when you do so it is very easy to do. It's not easy to undo a bad cut in fabric.

But... this dress will be completed before I have to start back at uni next semester! I want to be able to wear it to work. I want to be able to enjoy it so by this weekend it will be cut out and I can get started with sewing it all together. It shouldn't take long once I start. It's a simple design.

What do you find the hardest when starting a new project? Do you struggle to cut the fabric?

Happy Stitching,

Monday, 12 June 2017

Slow going - 12 Point Star Blanket

I do have a mini update on my blanket :D Tonight is Doctor Who night. I always forget on Sundays so I sit and watch it Monday evening on ABC iview. I like doing it this way as I can watch it when I can not when they say I can.
 I had my first of 2 exams today and I think I did alright. I know I did the best I could so I am enjoying a little rest before jumping into the crazy tomorrow to prepare for my next exam.

My blanket is getting much bigger but I'm probably only a third of the way. I really would love a nice big blanket but we shall see how that goes as I continue to expand the blanket. I like a blanket that you can really curl up under. I have 8 more balls of yarn so that should be enough to make it a decent size.

I am thinking though that after this lot of repetitions that I will halve the amount I use of each colour so only 3 rows instead of 6. Not sure... will have to think about it when I get there. Still two more colours of 6 to go before I have to think of that.

For more information about the pattern I'm doing you can go to my previous post here. 

Have you ever made a blanket like this? It's taking me ages and unfortunately each round takes longer and longer to complete. Though MAYBE this will be completed before the end of winter this year..... but I'm not holding my breath!

Happy Stitching,

Friday, 12 May 2017

New Crochet Project

Ooops I didn't expect to do this.... I blame one of my facebook friends who is doing another version of this pattern herself. She was asking for help reading the pattern so I downloaded it and I was caught by how interesting it looked and I've never made this sort of blanket before.

I wasn't planning to make this as I want to make my c2c blanket but I need to buy more colours for that so I wanted a project I could start and work on for the next couple of weeks at university. I will start my c2c blanket but probably not today.

So without further ado here is my new blanket. It is currently using 4 of the colours from my granny stripe blanket. Though being me I may add more if I feel like it. It's using 8 ply marvel (four seasons) acrylic yarn from spotlight. I just grabbed 4 of the full balls I had in my draw so I knew how much I started with.

I don't know what it is about that hot pink! I couldn't ever get a good impression of it when I would take photos for my granny stripe either! The forth colour is a dark turquoise, which I am almost at the point of adding. I will have to update when I have added it.

The pattern I'm using is this one... Rainbow Ripple Baby Blanket if you want to work on this one too. I have made a couple of changes, as I haven't added the white rows between the colours. I didn't have much white at home and didn't want to buy any yarn for this project (at least to start with I may have to buy more if I keep making it really big!) The original pattern is for a baby blanket but I'm just going to keep going and expanding until I get bored. I want it to be at least a good size for curling up under on the couch.

I have changed the colours at the white row so the white row is the first green row and so on. Other than that I'm using a 5.25mm hook as it is what I have been using recently. I like that I usually make a looser blanket with the larger hook. I have a habit of being way too tight when crocheting, I think it's a habit gained from crocheting amigurumi.

 Have you started any new projects recently that you really weren't planning to??

Happy Stitching,

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Finished Chick

I had a bit of an issue with finishing this project as I ran out of the yellow for the face but thankfully my mother had some more yellow yarn of the same colour and brand. You can't even see the point of change!

I'm really excited now to turn this into a pillow case and then make a blanket with the rest of the patterns. It will be looking absolutely awesome on the couch!

Happy Stitching,

Friday, 21 April 2017

Watercolour Sketches

I had the opportunity to get away over the Easter long weekend which was a much needed break for my family. We're coming into tax time so I'm getting less and less time available. Also uni is starting to really ramp up and I'm feeling the stress.

We visited a friend of my family's property in central NSW.

The views on their property were just stunning! This wasn't even quite at the top of where we were going. They run a working sheep farm so they have a decent amount of land.

While there I had time to just stop and paint a couple of times. I remembered to take my watercolours and a couple of small sketch books. I could have taken more time to sketch but we did spend a lot of time doing not much. 
 I used pencil to make a rough sketch n the paper and then I added the watercolours. I'm just using a set of kids watercolours I bought at riot at the end of the back to school sales. They're nothing fancy but do mix to make so useful colours. I then drew over them with my pitt artist black pen as I can paint over that if I needed to without it running.

I'm really proud of how these pictures turned out. I was trying to learn how to work with watercolours and all of it was new. I did definitely learn to let a wash dry BEFORE painting over it. Other than that I just love them.

Hope you had a wonderful Easter yourselves.

Happy Stitching,

Friday, 14 April 2017

Lekala blouse 4109

This top was finished around  the beginning of January. I even just realised that I never shared a finished photo for this top on any social media. I have had this post started since then and was intending to share it all together then work started up again.

Without Further ado, here is my Lekala blouse 4109. 

I'm flying along with sewing projects. This top has been on my mind since I finished my skirt and I knew I had so much excess fabric.  I had been drawing ideas of a top I was thinking about drafting and then I was browsing and found this blouse by lekala 4109. I knew it was perfect. I could use both the orange and blue fabric on the main top and with the princess seams I was hoping it would sit nicely on my body and suit my waist. If I am to be honest the blouse does pull a bit around the yoke but not badly so. I don't know enough about sewing to know what adjustments to make to ease that across the front. The back is definitely not pulling. It isn't pulling enough for me to be concerned either and it is still very comfortable.

The orange lawn is see through so I knew I wanted to make the top bodice fully lined and when I downloaded the pattern and saw it had facings I knew I wouldn't need them.  I read the instructions a couple of times and was confused from the start so I decided to make it the way I thought it should be made. If you are a beginner sewer I really really really don't recommend lekala patterns. They are suited to your measurements but the instructions leave a lot to be desired. If you know what you're looking at you can make some beautiful outfits. 

I had to be careful when laying out the pieces that they were all lined up the right way. I didn't want them to be the opposite to the skirt.  I wanted to be able to wear this whole outfit as a dress when I want.

I started with my yoke bodice and sewed it together and then sewed the lining to the bodice at the neck and armholes.... at this point when I tried to turn it I realised I should have left the side seams unpicked as well and so in I got and unpicked them.  Then I could turn the bodice and sew the side seams. I then carefully ironed the bodice so it sat neatly.

 I then sewed all the blue panels together.and then sewed it onto the bodice. I did have to do a light gathering at the front of the top but I expected that from the technical drawing.

 I made sure I finished all the seams neatly with my overlocker. Even this one hiding under the lining got finished after this photo.

I will leave you with one more photo of this top. I have styled it with the skirt here. Forgive the squinting look as the light was really bright outside I could barely see. I think it makes an awesome dress but also looks really nice paired with a pair of slacks or jeans.

Now since this was made in January I can safely say that it has been in rotation with and without the skirt at least once every 2 weeks. it just makes me happy to wear it. I need lots of outfits like this that are very versatile and I can wear a variety of ways.

Happy Stitching,

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Pattern updates

With Easter coming up I get a bit of a breath and a chance to lift my head from the books. Though if you follow my instagram I do craft a little at the moment but it's generally something I can grab and go with.Often just some colouring or a little knitting or crochet project. I still have a test coming up tomorrow and an assignment due in 2 weeks.

Anyway the point of this post is actually to talk about my new patterns. One of the things I started doing again is designing. I can carry a little grid pad around with me and have fun making up new characters. I have FOUR new animal characters available on my etsy store. Bringing it to a total of 9 animals available. So without further ado... meet my new characters.

Cow and Pig

They're available in the pairs as shown. You may also notice a big difference with the backgrounds. They actually have them. The reason for this is simple. I worked out you can use a simple cross stitch pattern as a  crochet graph for c2c. So I added the backgrounds and all the animal backgrounds are the same size so that you can piece all the animals together into a quilt. (This is my plan anyway!)

Dog and Cat 

I have also simplified and straightened my patterns in this series. I have already updated the bunny and chick pattern (if you have bought this from me at any point please get in contact with me and I'll send you the updated version) and I will get the kangaroo, koala and bear updated in the next day.

All patterns will now come with a background, but you can choose not to stitch that on your cross stitch. I just wanted to make it easier to use these pattern in other ways.

As you can see below in my not quite finished Chick they really do look awesome in c2c crochet. I think I'm going to turn this one into a pillow as it was a bit of a tester and it's not wide enough to match with all the patterns.

So please if you've bought any of the characters from my animal series get in contact with me and I'll send you the updated patterns if you aren't able to download a new version from etsy.

Happy Stitching,

Friday, 24 February 2017

Pokemon Drawing

I've always been a big pokemon fan and when I fell back into it this week guess what becomes the topic of my drawings? I've always loved bulbasaur and squirtle but I'm currently playing pokemon blue with bulbasaur. It's a bit of fun nostalgia :D

I never trace my pictures but I do use a reference picture in front of me. #pokemon #drawing #watercolourpencils #nowater #derwent

Friday, 6 January 2017

Newsboy Hat

So I wanted a new hat and a simple project one evening and I was very excited to finish this hat by the second day. It is the free pattern by Whitney Sews. It came with a video explaining what to do and I used that and other information I found around and made myself a hat.

 I used the remnants of a purple fat quarter to get the inside of this hat. I made the brim and band in the calico and the lining in purple. If I make this again I will make it fully reversible that way it can be a little more versatile.

That said I haven't stopped wearing this hat when I need one so I think it's been the perfect project. Since cutting my hair short hats suit me again. Actually I think it's more than that I think that my hair suits hats. It doesn't try to fizz up under the hat or unable to fit with a braid or ponytail.

This was such a fun little project and I do look forward to a couple more quick finishes in the next year.

Happy Stitching,

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