Friday, December 18, 2009

Pudding anyone?

I feel like I've been making this thing forever, but it's actually the felting that has taken so long.

My washing machine just does not use boiling water. I have had this thing going through the wash at least 25 times. I did try some of it manually as well. In the end I resorted to painting it with watered down PVA glue.
And at the last minute yellow spots started appearing on the lid!!!!! I was going mad, I had hours to go until I needed this for my competition - ahhh! the one saving grace was that it was a 40 degree day and I stuck it out on our brick path to dry, the path had to be about 50 degrees.
Finished and pretty much dry.

The only thing I used a pattern for (and I say used very loosely as I had to change the pattern for the yarn I was using) were the leaves. The holly + berries were dyed using food colouring. The leaves are knitted the rest is crocheted.
It's a bowl and the lid is the custard.
It goes with the felted Christmas tree I made last year.

It really is a Christmas bag

I organised a Christmas Competition with my local knitting group.
The rules were that there really no rules, it just needed to be something Christmassy (I've got photos and I'll post those later) and yarny.

I had been collecting things for a prize - a ball of Opal, some handspun Alpaca, Mum put in some Jo Sharp tweed and I had planned to make a bag.
I should have added this to my big weekend of making bags, instead I thought I'd have plenty of time to do it (read I had three days before it was due). Well one night was unexpectedly written off with a movie night at school that went on 2 hours longer than I'd anticipated due to technical difficulties. I did sort of have something cut out - so I was one step closer and I sat up at midnight the night before (or close to midnight my eyes were too blurry to tell the time) overlocking the edges - actually to tell the truth I had 2 bags cut out and yes I was trying to do two at once.

Anyway.... I did go to bed and got up early the next morning (at the risk of waking the children) and tried to get it sewn. It did wake the children and I had to spend most of the day sneaking moments to get it finished (abandoned the second bag).

But I did - with at least a few hours to spare.
It's a very pretty pale pink and has a pale pink lining.
It was one of those fabrics that looked ho-hum on the bolt but I thought might make a nice bag, maybe, and if not would be 'swappable'. Once I started sewing it up I really really liked it.
It's a very soft, pretty bag. I might have to keep the other one (which isn't a draw string bag, I don't seem to find draw string bags that easy, but maybe I'm trying to make them too complicated) and hopefully I'll get it finished soon.
This bag has all the yarn in it - so it's nice and roomy even though I thought it might not have been.

I also like my bags with handles - not just using the draw string to lug it round, so this bag kind of resembles a bucked when open, but I think that it's functional.

Three bags full

You are going to notice by the end of this post that there are actually only 2 bags here.
I made a lovely bag for Miss5's teacher - white material with black 'line' cat drawings, lined with purple. It was softly padded and I really liked it. I was in such a rush to wrap it and to make sure it got to school that I forgot to photograph it. You would have liked it.

Anyway, while I was making that bag I decided to do two more at the same time - hey, why not, I'm working to a deadline with very little time, a zillion things to do before Christmas and I'm busy making 3 bags, not just one.

I like this first one - yes similar to the one I made for my friend's birthday, but I liked hers too ;o).
Pocket on the outside so we can tell the difference if we're together (and to see whether an outside pocket works. I could make these truly reversible using this method).

It's actually a little bigger than hers too, just to see if that size is a good one.
This one's holding another project bag with 3 and a bit skeins of wool in it (one a big ball of Opal and one a large skein of handspun).
This is also similar to another model, but a little larger. The shape is not so pleasant to photograph at this size, but it will hold a lot. It has the above bag in it.
I haven't sewed down the blue ribbon and there are buttons to go on too. Maybe over the Christmas break.
The inside fabric. Cute isn't it?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas Shorts

I was at the material shop (it's sort of a patchwork shop but they have so much more than patchwork material) the other day, I'm sure it was accidental that I went there as I can't remember what I went there for now, but I found the most gorgeous Christmas material.

I haven't had time in the last 2 years to make the kids Christmas clothes, and Mum has done a good job keeping the kids supplied but I felt this year I'd give it a go. I'm in a sewing kind of mood - despite the fact I can hardly get into my sewing room.

Christmas cats. I love them.
These shorts are for DS, who is 2 and I whipped them up in a couple of hours. (No pockets but I did put a tag at the back for he who dresses the children back to front.) I did a pretty good job on them, once upon a time I wouldn't have wanted anyone to look inside the shorts I made, now they are as neat inside as out. (What is happening to me? that's not my sewing style at all!)
It's a modified pattern, of course, I added body length - DS is quite long in the body, and lengthened the legs as well, it's light material and I thought being longer it would be less likely to ride up.
I haven't managed to get them on him yet to see if they fit.
The cute thing is I have similar material to make DD a skirt, but it's more pink and red. Must get sewing on the skirt.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bags full of karma

These two young ladies are in the post as we speak.
Being sent karmically (not comically) and one is a surprise. :o)

Little draw string bags - interfaced for a bit more structure, lined and with a couple of pockets inside.
The draw sting and toggle closures were the hardest bit to source and then do. I have an idea for next time I'm making one of these bags... watch this space.
I have been wondering what to do with this material, it's really pretty but just didn't seem to fit every time I tried to match it to another bag project. It suits these draw string bags perfectly.

I struggled a bit with the lining though, thankfully I had some mauve (lilac, light purple I have no idea what the shade is, it's a very pink purple and suits these bags perfectly. I'm not fond of that particular purple colour so either I bought it to match something else - and there's a big uh-oh, or I bought it as my daughter would have liked it with something). I've since gone to find more of this purple lining and can't! ahhhh!!! none of the other purples are right. Never mind, I have a few other colours up my sleeve now.
I love these cute little bags - sisters. :o) I'm going to make one for me. It's currently sitting in the pile with the other 3 cut out bags I'm going to make for myself. I guess mine will be the younger sibling. Hope there's no rivalry.

I will be making more of these cute little bags, for swap or sale (probably swap as I seem to have nothing else) and when I get a bit more time I'll share the pattern if you'd like it.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Birthday bag Mark II

Never let it be said I leave things until the last minute.... but I do. :o)
It seems like the only way I can get it done, not the most pleasant way to get it done though.

Another talented knitting friend was having a birthday.
I like making gifts for those who craft, you know they'll appreciate the work and thought (well you hope they do!) but as far as my knitting goes, I'm closer to Kermit than the Yarn Harlot.

Sewing however, well I love sewing.
And as I mature *cough cough* my sewing skills are refining.
I unpick now - instead of just going back and forth till I get it right.
I measure twice and cut once and I try to be quite careful about what I do and how I make it.
(I have to admit though, I have outgrown my "simple" sewing machine and often get cranky at it as it doesn't always sew straight. I'm not just blaming the machine for something that might be my fault, I actually think the feed dogs pull strangely every six or so stitches. Just can't decide which new sewing machine to save up for.)
I modified this pattern (once again) to give a wider gusset and I am very happy with the way this one turned out.
When I started it I wondered if it would turn out all right (and yes I know the stripes don't line up, but I did try and it was fairly late at night) - the colours and all, but in the end I love it. It feels like a summer day, sitting under a big shady tree, with cucumber sandwiches - no crusts.
I tried putting red lining (I'm a red person, my friend is a red person) but it just didn't go, wasn't quite the right colour. I am very happy with the cream lining, it seems red isn't the answer to everything - who knew.
I did manage to cut another one for me (I'm learning) just need to find the time to sit down and sew it.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birthday bag

This bag is for a friend of mine who is having a special birthday this week.
She's a prolific and talented knitter.
I hope this bag will get filled with some of her lovely projects.
With a 'knot bag' style closure, I drafted this pattern myself and every time I make it I seem to change it a little, this time it's a little deeper.
Although my friend uses lots of colours in her knitting I read somewhere that green was her favourite.
Inside the bag there is a little garden - I love that and pockets to keep all the what-nots in.

Christmas Bag

My Mum gave me a bag once, a very simple project bag. It actually has sheep all over it and she had made lots for her Spinning Group's 21st birthday
I always enjoyed using the bag, possibly because it was so simple.
Anyway I needed to make a bag for my Christmas swap package and I didn't want it to be too complicated (so I could finish it quickly) and needed to fit into the scraps of material I had left over.
I spyed my little bag hanging in my craft room and thought that it would be perfect - with a few modifications of course (since when do I leave good enough alone?).

While drafting the pattern I made a few changes, I made it a little bigger and added enough room to make a gusset (I love my gussets), but basically I kept it pretty much the same.
I did line it though.
And added an internal pocket.
(The inside of this one is done in 'patchwork fashion' ie two pieces were sewn together, mainly because I was making it from my left overs and I really wanted this red inside. It's not as bright red as the pictures, more a lovely rich cherry red.)
I'm very happy with it and a lot of that has to do with the fact I think this fabric looks great with the red inside, but also the shape works well.
Typically I didn't make a second one for me but now have plans to make my own.
Yep, add that to the list.

Neck warmer

I've finished one item on my must-get-finished list.
It's hard to get the colours right.
The blue is actually quite a dark petrol type blue and the red buttons are very cherry red, when I looked at the photographs I instantly thought 'erk, that looks awful' but in real life it looks quite nice and the red and blue compliment each other.
It's crocheted. If I'd read the pattern properly it would have been done length wise, but me being me I just went at it and did it width wise, so doesn't really follow the pattern at all. It does use the same stitch though.
This just means I'm going to have to make another one the proper way I guess.
This neck-warmer is off to quite a cool climate and will be under a swap partner's Christmas tree on Dec 25. I hope it suits her and that she likes it.

Yarn: Moda Vera Tucano (Wool/Bamboo)
Colour: Blue
Hook: 5.5mm
Buttons: 2 large.

The Knitpicks Fairy

The Knitpicks Fairy visited me on Saturday night. (Yep the genuine Knitpicks Fairy, not the dodgy Knitpro one.)
She was tucked away inside the suitcase of a work colleague of my dear husband, who was travelling to Australia from the US.
Look at all the nice things she brought.
More cables (you can't have too many), some needles for sock knitting (yay!), a lace chart keeper, and a set of the nickel tips. (I have the harmony ones but just hankering for some metal.)
There are the odd little trinket in there too like coils for needles and stitch markers.
No acrylic tips though, just not sure they're for me. I was after something slippery, hence the metal tips.

I haven't had a chance to play with them all, I've been concentrating on my 'must-get-finished' list - although, if you're like me, that one never seems to get smaller.

Christmas Crochet

I had grand intentions of crocheting 25 Christmas trees to form our very own advent calendar.
I've managed two so far, well two and a quarter.

The are about 5 inches tall and five inches across the base when folded flat.
I tried using a pattern, but the first one got undone so many times that I just made it up as I went along. (The light green one is my first attempt.)
I'm trying to felt them but my washing machine water doesn't seem to get very hot and the wool doesn't seem to want to co-operate with felting, so I'll make a bunch of them and find a laundromat.

The kids are going to help with the decorations when the little trees are finished.