Sunday, January 31, 2010

fessin' up to the challenges

Ok. A little gulp here as I actually publicly, like I mean really publicly, commit this to writing. Not just something hidden away on a Rav forum but out there in the open for all to see, even my husband and for everyone to remind me. *deep breath*

I have committed to Shop the Stash this year.

This means that when I feel the urge to knit something new I must first look through my stash for a suitable yarn and try to make do with what I have there rather than purchase new yarn.  Sounds simple really, huh. Any committed yarn ho will tell you differently, yarn is bloody addictive.

Ok, there now I've said it. If I get through the first six months I'm going to reward myself with a little trip to the Bendigo Sheep Show. Or maybe that would just be torture?

That's not all though. I've actually decided to Shop the Stash for not only yarn but fabric too. yep.  As many fellow crafters will tell you, a yarn stash diet often leads to increased purchasing of fabric. So I'm going to curtail that by, firstly, not calling it a stash diet, but also shopping the stash for both crafts.  Sensible really.

I've set up a little basket of lovely yarns as a little taster on my desk,

 and there's a stack of cute little fabrics too that you would have seen in an earlier post. Both designed to inspire me.

While I'm in confessional mode, I best admit that I also may have mentioned something very brash about making all our clothes for the year, no purchases of clothing allowed; even secondhand. Anyone who knows me well, and knows my love of clothes might have some idea how this could be freaking me out a little bit.

The things you say to your husband after a gin or two, huh!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

preparing for kindy

Lily has her first day at kindy next week, and as I mentioned yesterday, we did a little bit of preparation sewing for it.  She really needed a new sunhat, well ok maybe didn't really "need" but I thought a new sunhat would be nice, but as part of a crazy challenge I have set myself but not yet shared, I can't buy one.  So it needed to be made.

After seeing Peta's lovely sunhats over here , I really wanted to give the Lazy Day Hat a try but as part of our down change I knew I really should use one of the hat patterns I had here already *sigh* so off to search the patterns, and I came up with two to test drive.

Lily selected this beautiful Jennifer Paganelli fabric 'Dance With Me' for her first hat.  Together we looked for a fabric to go with it, she wanted green but the yellow and white spots just sung together. So she gave ground.

The pattern for this came from Ottobre Summer 3/2009, "Hermoine Sunhat". I made the largest size and it is a great fit with room to grow. I love the shape and the way it gives such great coverage.

The instructions were incredibly easy to follow and produced a really professionally finished hat, truly reversible.

Lily was so happy with the first hat and declared it the best hat she's ever had, far better than any bought hat *bless her*.  She then asked me to make her a mermaid hat.  We upended the fabric tub looking for the elusive mermaid fabric. She has an incredible memory and knew it was in there.  It teamed nicely with a Timeless Treasures I'd had tucked away forever.

The pattern was a more commercial one from Spotlight, I won't bother telling you what it was as I'm going to dis it ;)

It had errors.  I made the largest size, which is to fit a 21 inch head. Lily's head is only 20 inches and this is a tad too small.

The instructions weren't clear, it instructs you to leave a 1.5cm seam allowance unless otherwise stated. The crown pieces clearly have a smaller seam allowance written on them but the brim did not. If I had used the 1.5cm seam allowance on the brim, it would have been too small to go around the crown.  I wasn't particularly impressed with using a piece of ribbon to hide the raw edge where the crown and brim join on the inside either. Ok, so it's not meant to be a reversible hat, and I didn't use the kind of ribbon they suggested but a better construction could have given a neater finish there.

Anyway, of course it's Lily's favourite.

So now she's set for kindy hatwise. The only question is; how do I put a name on a reversible hat? Or do I just chance it?

And isn't it amazing how still she is for these photos, nothing like fresh peaches picked from our groaning tree to tempt her into submission.  Check them out.

And look how much she loves them!!!! They are the tastiest peaches I have ever had, you really can't stop at just one!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

sewing with baby ~ problem solved

When Toby was a smaller bubba I had a lot of problems with actually getting around to sewing. As soon as I sat down to sew, he wanted up on me and lacked the discipline to not attack the sewing machine or want to feed or play.  If I put him on my back he'd pull my hair. And I found that when he was asleep, I wanted to spend some one on one time with Lily.

So a few days ago I actually cracked out the machines for the first time this year *gasp*  And I tried it with Toby sitting on my lap. He LOVED it!!! And was surprisingly very good, he didn't try and put his finger under the needle, he didn't jump all over me. He actually sat quietly and watched, his little legs pumping with excitement when the machine would start up.  I let him press the button to reverse and cut the thread and he thought that was pretty awesome.  It was so much fun, although I must admit I palmed him off to Andy while I did any top stitching.

So what did we sew?  No pics today, I've been bed-ridden since this with a very nasty case of mastitis.  *bleugh* I never knew how bad it could be, and how fricking painful!!  I never quite got that you could get cold-flu symptoms with mastitis as I'd only ever had it mildly.  Waking up yesterday morning vomiting, shaking and feeling shit in general certainly changed that.  It was also amazing how quickly it struck, literally overnight!!  Anyhoo, antibiotics are kicking in now, and I'm on the mend.. hooray!!

Some pics tomorrow of our sewing efforts, a little something for my big kinder girl.  *sob sob*

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Yarn of Love

I don't want to say this too loud, just in case my husband hears me, but I really am a lucky girl.

I am lucky to have the special man in my life who is my soul mate, best friend and actually quite a handy man.

It's been a busy start to the year with a few family occasions.  The most exciting being a birthday, yep, mine!  I told Andy that all I wanted for my birthday this year was for him to make me a wooden swift.  Oh, and to bake me a birthday cake. In all the years we've been together he has NEVER made me a birthday cake, and in fact he admitted the last time he made a cake was in year 7 Home Economics. Obviously, I didn't hold much hope there.

He came through with the swift however, and did a fantastic job of it. He salvaged timber from his timber stash (woodworky type blokes have timber stashes, I have a fabric and yarn stash) and only needed to purchase some dowel and a wing nut.  The base of it is actually made from leftovers from our deck, native timber that was felled and milled by Andy and his dad, and then turned into the labour of love that is our deck.

He also surprised me with this fabulous vintage wooden bucket thingie which he bought at our local Japanese importers. He thought I could use it to keep wool in *bless him* I thought it might be useful to keep Toby in, actually.

I also got that cake I begged and harrassed for.  Lily help him to whip up a beautiful slow cooked chocolate cake which was topped off by an evening out at my favourite restaurant.

And while we're talking love, this little lily made a re-appearance looking a little worse for wear three years after it disappeared into the abyss that is Andy's shed. I knitted it as a gift for our seventh wedding anniversary. Bugger a jumper, beanie or socks; he got a knitted flower.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

christmas craftin' part one

Oh my goodness, I am so far behind in the blogosphere that I haven't even shared the Christmas crafting.  A limited amount of Christmas handmades go out from these parts, and only to those whom I know will really really appreciate the time gone into them. Nothing worse than pouring love and time into creating something special as a gift for a littlie only to discover it's never used or appreciated, or worse seen as second rate because it is "homemade".

Anyway, this little poppet appreciates handmade, and her mum certainly does too.  

Can you believe that the Rainbow Dress pattern has been around for two years and I've never knit Tully one? I've knit her little sister one, but not her!!!!  Issue now resolved.

This is knit in some Utiku yarn that I bought many many years ago to knit Tully some longies.  The fact that Tully is now five and a half might give you some idea of how long this yarn has been languishing in my stash.  I used a couple of balls of Patons Merino Totem DK for the bodice and lace hemline.

The girls got Australian Girl Dolls  for Christmas, and so I decided that Tully's obviously needed a matching dress.  This is a complete doll size version of the new Rainbow Dress pattern.  I do think it is a bit cute!!!!

And to give you some idea of sizing and the importance of negative ease. Note how the dress fits on Tully, it is form fitting around the bodice yet still comfortable. That's because I followed the pattern's fitting notes (ok so I did write them) and chose the sizing based on her chest size NOT her age.  Tully has a 20 inch chest so I knit her the 20 inch size even though she is five. Had I knit her the chest size corresponding to the approximate size five, it would be too big.

My patterns are designed around the standard sizing as set out by Yarn Standards. Writing patterns to those standards is useful for me for if I ever try to get my patterns published elsewhere. They're also useful for knitters for designers to try and get some uniformity in sizing.

So yep, standard sizing even though most kids don't seem to be standard sizes.

christmas craftin' part two to follow .... soon, I promise!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a new year, a new craft space

Well, not really new, just a fresh face actually.

I have a lovely little craft room full of light with a nice outlook onto our street and down onto the nature reserve but, to be honest, while functionalish it wasn't all that organised or pretty or inspiring.  A couple of days ago, I decided to move the internet connection from our dining area to the craft room. This involved moving the change table out of Lily's room into the garage (no, we're not changing nappies out there, we don't use it anymore. Toby is way too quick and mobile), a bookshelf from the craft room into Lily's room,  the little computer table into the craft room and the rocking chair into the living area.  While I was at it I swapped the 70s retro table from the craft room for a longer thinner wooden one from Andy's studio.  The upshot of all this moving around is that strangely, everything seems more spacious. that is despite two little rabbits working under my feet and creating a new playspace and game every time I cleared a space.

While I was resetting up my craft space, I decided to pretty it up a bit and try and keep it a little more organised and easier to work in.  It's a great space now, equally good for either sewing, writing, knitting or pattern designing.  There's room for the kiddies to play on the floor, relatively safe stuff for Toby to climb up *roll eyes* and even space at the end of my big table for Lil to pull up a chair and work with me when Toby is sleeping. Perfect.

I hope it all stays so lovely and neat and organised, as at the moment I'm itching to get into some creating and crank up the machines.  I just have to sort and organise one more basket of stuff.

Oh, and you may have just spied some lovely yarn in one of those photos.

This is some gorgeous, yet to be released yarn that I am lucky enough to have a sneak preview of. Lucky indeed, because I think this stuff is going to go fast!  It's Gradient Splits from the gorgeous Shannon at Crafty Desires .  The gradients in the two smaller balls are perfectly matched yard for yard. She's a clever chicky, huh. These are just perfect for longies, body with the larger ball and legs with the two smaller ones.  I'm dreaming up something special for these little ones. In the meantime, they shall serve their purpose for petting. Did I mention how soft this stuff is? It is.

back soon with tonnes of recent crafty goodness.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

long time no blog

shh, just popping in to say hi!!

It's been a long break between posts; Christmas, new year and a little holiday away and all that stuff.  I have loads of crafty stuff, Christmas pressies, holiday stories, craft challenges and other bits and pieces to catch up on.

Right now, I'm still unpacking, washing, washing, washing, playing, knitting andthinking about cleaning the craft room (eek) which I'm sure has been trashed by pixies while we were away.

Mostly though I'm battling with the little boy (!) who discovered a love for climbing up on chairs and tables while we were away. joy oh joy.  And isn't it hilariously funny.