Monday, August 26, 2013

It's a wrap

I've had the Marin pattern on my to-do-list on Ravelry for ages, and I even have some lovely grey/purple Skein set aside for it, but just before I went on holiday, my sister mentioned that she would like a grey shawl or wrap for her birthday. I needed something to do on a rainy day, and after going through the patterns on my ipad I went ahead and found some yarn and got down to work.
The yarn I ended up with was slightly thinner than the recommended yarn, so this is more of a wrap around your neck than around your shoulders thingy, but it is soft and lovely (a 50/50 silk/baby alpaca blend) to the touch and should keep sis snug and warm on a chilly day.
The pattern is rather elegant, I think, with just that swag-like pattern along the edge, but it took a while and a bit of unraveling before I got my head round the pattern as it was divided into a main pattern, and separate patterns for beginning, edge and finish that had to be worked simultaneously with the main pattern. But once I got my head around it all (reading through it all before you begin helps...), it proved to be a quick and easy knit, and I'm actually looking forward to making one for myself as well. Details on Ravelry.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pretty polaroid pillow present

Strictly speaking this is more of a cushion than a pillow, meant as decoration more than for sleeping on, but who can resist using a bit of alliteration... I am as ever late to the party - never got round to making polaroid blocks when everyone else seemed to be doing so, and a quilt using these tiny blocks seemed a bit overwhelming. A cushion though, that I could do. And as I needed a present for my sister's birthday I had just the right excuse.
There are some fun references to things we have talked about this summer among the fussy cut motifs - I can't count the number of shops I have visited with her to find the perfect parasol for her balcony. We never had any luck - they all seem to be dark blue or white this year - but at least she has this to remind her of our quest. The scooter is a reference to our niece who got her two-wheeled dream last spring and had us doting aunties all worried about how she'd fare in traffic. The moon refers to all our late-night phone calls, and so on. I had fun choosing fabrics that had some special meaning. I followed the instructions for cutting and piecing I found in one of the swap groups on Flickr, and didn't really stop to think. Had I done so, I might have stopped after the white borders of the blocks and used grey lattice strips between them, thus avoiding the seams down the middle in the gray areas. But with only six blocks to join, that doesn't really matter, it wasn't as if that extra work was too taxing...
I used a strip of one of the fabrics from the front to hide the zipper on the back, and added a little surprise underneath it.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Just lucky, I guess

I'm just amazed by my luck recently. No sooner had I shared my lucky win the other day than I got a message from Kristin that I had also won a giveaway on her blog. And I usually don't win anything. This time I hadn't even realized that there was a giveaway, I had just commented on how great it was to see pictures from the yearly outdoor quilt show in Sisters, Oregon, and not noticed the giveaway information. And look at this lovely prize I received!
There are lots of lovely cards with pictures from some of Kristin's quilts, handcoloured yarn and fabric and a cute hand-stitched tag/ornament.
The fabric is just wonderful. Pieces of lots of different fabrics in three colourways: "leaf", "sky" and "blossom"
Look at all the different textures: cotton, silk, chiffon, and more. I've just been sitting here sorting through them and stroking them for a while now thinking of all the possibilities. Combining them all in one piece? adding bits here and there in different projects?
I don't know yet, but I think they deserve some loving hand-stitching, maybe some ruching and folding here and there? Yes, I need to let the ideas marinate for a bit, but these lovelies will be put to good use, I'm sure.
And this ornament is for now hanging from a shelf on my desk so I can admire all the different coloured stitches while I'm on the phone.
Thank you so much, Kristin!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

There be monsters

My littlest nephew is not so little anymore - 13 today! How is that possible? Being a big boy also means that he will transfer to a new school and new school supplies are called for. His modest wish was for a compass and set of rulers, but if you ask a quilty aunty for that sort of thing, she's bound to make something to keep it in as well, right?

So of course I had to make something, and of course I left it until the last minute, as one does. Ahem.
I had seen a picture of a "monster pouch", but there were no details about how it was made, so I had to wing it. The front with the zipper was easy enough - I just stitched front and lining pieces to either side of the zipper, and top-stitched close to the zipper. The challenge was working out how to attach the back pieces.  After a few attempts where the seam ripper also got plenty of use, I ended up stitching the outer backing piece to the outer front pieces from the zipper, down the side, along the bottom and up to the zipper. I did the same on the top piece and then on the lining pieces, leaving an opening for turning the pouch inside out. This meant a bit of handstitching along the sides where the zipper is, both inside and out. There might be an easier way of constructing it, but this was what my tired mind came up with last night, and at least it worked.

There was plenty of room for compass and rulers and a bit of birthday money and although the birthday boy  became a teenager today, he is still young enough to pronounce it "cool", and that's the best reaction a doting auntie can hope for, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Open wide

Ever late to the party I finally got round to making the Open Wide Pouch from Noodlehead's tutorial for the first time, but it won't be the last! I decided that I needed something to contain all those bits and bobs that end up lurking in the bottom of my handbag and never come to light when I need them, and this one came to mind. Seriously, I don't know what took me so long. It was so much fun to sew, and so easy! I have become more proficient about adding zippers to things lately, and that of course helps. And once that bit was done, the rest was plain sailing!
And it really is useful. With the wide opening you get a quick overview of everything that's in there and can grab whatever it is you need, whether it is your lipstick, bus token or whatever. I'm definitely making more of these, and in the larger sizes as well. I know what everyone is getting for Christmas this year ;-)

Monday, August 05, 2013


Will you look at this gorgeousness I picked up from the post office on Saturday! 24 fat quarters of lovely fabric in a rainbow of colours. And the most wonderful thing of all is that I won it! Yes! I entered a giveaway and to my shock and delight I actually won! Wonderful!
The giveaway was hosted by Katy @ I'm a Ginger Monkey and the fabric bundle was given by Pink Castle Fabrics. Thank you both!
The fabric line is Just Colors by Studio E and has soft tone on tone swirly lines. A very versatile fabric that I can definitely find good use for. If I can bear to remove the ribbon and separate this lovely bunch, that is ;-)

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Sew Together Bag

I seem to have instagrammed every step of the process while making this bag, so it's about time I share the finished object here, isn't it? I first came across this Sew Together bag on Pinterest and followed the link to Craftsy and purchased the downloadable pattern, but it remained on file for quite some time. I was fiddling about with some scraps one day, and started playing with the idea of stitching them together in a Kantha-quilting kind of way, but to what purpose? Then it dawned on me that I could use the result for the outside of a bag, and the Sew Together Bag came to mind. I cut a piece of home-dec weight fabric as a foundation and started layering. The scraps were basted down before I started stitching lines with big stitches, using perle cotton in different weights. After a few evenings of random stitching the resulting fabric had enough stitches to make it lie reasonably flat so I cut it to size and started stitching the bag.
I won't lie to you - making the bag was a lot of work, but not too difficult, so I persevered. I also realized halfway through the process that I was supposed to use a lightweight fusible stabilizer on all pieces. Without thinking I had grabbed the first stabilizer I found, a thin fusible batting. The result is a very compact, sturdy bag, but still very usable. It has three zippered compartments with extra compartments between and on either side - seven compartments in all. With a little pincushion on one side and a needle rest on the other, it will be very handy for all sorts of sewing projects. The bound zipper on top extends beyond the sides and fastens to the sides, forming handles.