Stash building

Oh my, its been a while since I blogged here hasn’t it! I don’t even have a proper excuse prepared, all I can say is that I’ve been busy… work, school, life, sleeping… they all seem to take priority over blogging and even crafting sometimes!

I’ve been on a wonderful trip to Sydney and got a lot of crafting done there but since I came back to Melbourne I’ve been a bit lost. Sure, I’ve been working on my granny rug and I’ve whipped up a Simplicity Built by Wendy 3835 top for work but other than that I’m blank.

Hopefully thats all about to change though!!

I ‘won’ an ebay auction this morning that has made a significant impact on my stash building! ONE HUNDRED new skeins of DMC thread… and a bunch of loose floss in christmassy colours. So I’m all set for stitcheries and planning my orders so I can get some christmas gifts underway.

Is anyone else working out their christmas gift crafting schedule yet? Its only ELEVEN! weeks away! Last year we didn’t give gifts to anyone but this year I’m committing to the Hand Made Challenge! Granted, I’ll still only be making gifts for about 10 people but they will be well thought out and lovingly made gifts!

Update: I also won a second auction!

So my stash will be doubly filled with embroidery threads!

I think I might need to do a giveaway! Stay tuned!

k2tog – the secret is out!

Last night I was involved in a soft attack on the city! In a group of 20 or so people we graffiti’d trams, seats, chains, bolts, poles and many other things with football team coloured pieces of knitting all in the name of art and Melbourne Fringe Festival.

There were over 700 pieces of fabric made by women (and some men i’m sure) all over Victoria and some of the pieces were so intricate it was difficult for us to think about them being ruined…

I’ve just been to the media call / get together and it was wonderful to see all the knitting in the daylight with the passing street traffic being surprised… I’m yet to see a tram in action but after work i’ll make my way out to Swanston St armed with my phone camera to get some photos.

Heres the creative director talking it up on the abc

http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2008/09/24/2372678.htm?site=melbourne

and a short video on the age website

http://media.theage.com.au/?rid=42080

Getting some sleep

I realised today that the reason I was hesitant to sew anything with my new machine was that I hadn’t had enough sleep and my brain was broken. I took the day off work today and after seeing the doctor, sleeping for an extra 8 hours and drinking almost 3 litres of water I pulled out a pattern I’ve been wanting to make up for a while now.

A sleep mask!

I’ve always had difficulty getting to sleep and staying asleep… especially during the day. Now I needn’t worry anymore!

The pattern is one I got from the Burda Style website but unfortunately doesnt have any real instructions. This isnt too much of a problem because it is truely a simple project but I thought I’d do a bit of a tutorial for those that may be just beginning and not too sure of the way to approach this.

Please note, this is not my pattern and there is no ‘correct’ way to make it up. This is just how I’ve gone about it.

Burda Style – Marcel

1. Place pattern on top of all fabrics at once and pin in place. Seam allowance is included in the pattern so now additional measuring is required.

Top layer – Quilters cotton
Middle – Purple quilters cotton
Bottom – Cream thin fleece – DOUBLED

2. Cut two 3cm wide x 20cm long strips of cotton for elastic casing. Stitch the two

pieces of cotton together on the short seam and iron in half with right sides facing.

4. Stitch the long edge and then turn in the right way using a bodkin or needle. Thread elastic through casing and stitch at both ends to secure.

5. Attach the casing with elastic threaded through to the top two layers of fabric. Pin an inch in from the edge but ensure that the casing overlaps the edges to allow for sewing of all layers together.

6. Pin the two layers of fleece to the top fabrics right side leaving a gap at the top for turning. Note the casing should overlap the edges.

7. Sew around the edge of the eye mask ensuring you get all layers. Leave the gap at top for turning.

8. Snip around the curves and the nose shaping to allow for turning.

9. Once you have turned in the right way press the remaining seam and stitch. At this stage you can stitch around the entire eye mask if you wish. I have chosen to leave it once the remaining seam was stitched.

10. Have a good nights sleep!

Click the photos for larger images.

Suffering but getting things done.

This last week has been spent getting progressively sicker. My fiancee and I are both suffering from the throat virus thing thats been going around and basically there isnt much sleeping going on so we’re tired and snotty. I’ve been keeping up the craft though and knit up a super long scarf for a visiting friend in a few days with some nobbly acrylic and two odd sized needles. I love the way it turned out so much that I’m going to go buy more yarn and make myself one! in black though… because I dont wear enough black 🙂

In other much more exciting news – my sewing machine arrived last night! Finally! Due to the ‘feeling like death’ I left it in the box for 12+ hours before releasing it from all the foam and cardboard… and now its sitting all pretty and shiny on my clean crafting desk. I’m going to wait till later today to actually sew something with it.

While I was staring at the sewing machine box last night I was also getting started on the NIN Presence illusion knit scarf for my boy. He’s been banging on about how I haven’t made him anything so I thought why not continue as I always have for him and challenge myself! So illusion knitting it is! I got about 20 rows in before I realised I was totally counting incorrectly and although the image was working it was going to look b0rked when it was finished. So it got frogged (rip it rip it) and I’ve just finished creating a clearer pattern and am ready to start again (using the cute short #8 needles I picked up at Lincraft today).

I’ll post a link to my version of the pattern once I’ve gotten permission from the original creater.

A scarflette to call my own

A few weeks ago I went to a not so secret gathering of craftminded folk at the Handspinners and Weavers Guild in North Carlton.

And even though the gathering wasn’t a secret the K2tog project being organised by the Melbourne Fringe Festival is!!

So TOP SECRET in fact that we all had to take an oath of secrecy before being allowed to know what the project was…


Since then I’ve been steadily working away on my part of the project and am really excited to see it come to fruition! Its going be awesome.

In the meantime though, at work a few people had noticed me knitting during my lunch break and asked if I could teach them… Since my knitting skills are still fairly average I asked around and enlisted the help of some extremely crafty women and now we have a Thursday lunch knitting group.

Each of us in the group is at a different skill level and are working on individual projects at the moment. I’m hoping that in a few weeks I can discuss a group project with them that we can donate to a charity… or sell to raise money for one.

Something that I’ve been working on during these lunch sessions is a scarflette. Just a simple rectangle of a mottled green/grey/purple mix that I worked in seed stitch and finished with an inch or so of plain green then cast off with a picot stitch.

I’m clasping it with an old key that I purchased on Etsy as part of a necklace until I can get to the store and get a button or other pin of some sort.


This weekend I’ve been plodding along on my gift for Clairs baby… which I’m still keeping a secret but I have taken a photo of the materials I’m using as a teaser!

I fell in love with these cheeky monkeys months ago and knew straight away that they’d become a birth present for little Daniel. I’m getting closer and closer to being finished and am hoping to have it done before my trip to visit them in September.

I think that brings me up to date on the craftiness… I’m thinking of a few other things to start working on soon and gathering inspiration. I’m also starting to plan a wedding so there will be plenty of discussion about that soon I’m sure!

Still here!

craftzine screencap

Thats my cake!!

Yep. I’m still around and as of this morning feeling very popular thanks to Nikki and the folks at Craftzine.com and their linking to my Guitar Hero cake.

Its great to see you all here and I hope to find some more GH cakes being made now! With my fiancees birthday coming up I’m starting to think of new ideas for this years cake… Suggestions are always welcome!

Other than seeing a huge spike in my blogstats I haven’t been doing much at all lately. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks laying on the couch recovering from a minor back injury watching movies and improving my knitting skills. So there are photos of projects to be posted this weekend and some more progress made on my secret project for my best friends baby.

Crafting weekend plans

As the work week comes to an end I start thinking about what I’ll do on the weekend… this usually provides me with a list of more things than I can actually get done but if I do a few of them (I prefer to do the crafty projects than the house cleaning tasks) then I’m happy.

From this weekends list I am wanting to almost finish the secret baby project and sew up the teacozy I made a month ago now! In order to finish the secret baby project I will need a sewing machine… Lucky for me I will be paying off my layby at the Sewing Machine store this week!

I’ve paid for flights to Sydney this week which means I now have a deadline for the Secret Best Friend project. Thankfully the deadline is still 6 weeks away. I’ll be in Sydney from Sept 3 till 9.

Now my love and I are going to Savers! I am thinking of buying woolens to felt since Fern has done a few tutorials on it recently.

Published!

I’ve finally finished my first post for the new CraftBlog and its been published this morning…

Go on folks… Go check it out!

Thanking my crafty Nanna

I know when I wrote the big list of all my UFOs that I promised myself I wouldnt start on anything new till I had gotten through it all… but I couldn’t resist a few balls of this lovely shades of blue ‘knit it fast’ yarn at BigW the other day. When I picked it up I immediately knew what I would be making with it… SLIPPERS!

When I was a kid my nan would knit us slippers every winter. When we lived in other states she would send them to our house and we would sift through finding the pair that fit us best… because they weren’t ever made to fit a certain size, she’d just keep knitting them bigger each year.

I haven’t owned a pair in a very long time so when thinking of the pattern I had to try and remember how she made them… I didn’t bother going to my usual sources on the net because my nan never used a pattern! So I just started knitting. I’m part way through the first one and its coming along nicely.

Progress photos will follow sometime soon, when I’ve calibrated my monitor actually, since a friend has mentioned my photos are a bit dark lately.

Bringing back the past – Cake Tutorial

I made this cake back in November last year for my then boyfriends 28th birthday. He had mentioned casually that he would like a guitar cake but was really just joking. I took him seriously and below is a bit of a tutorial on how I actually got from thinking about making a cake to eating it!


How to make a cake!

Not just anycake… but the most awesome of all cakes!

A Guitar Hero II cake!

1. Freak out for about a month about how crazy you were to consider making the cake. Spend hours googling “decorating cakes”, “cake fillings” and “OMG AM I CRAZY”

2. Pick up bits and pieces for making the cake over the course of the month… spending over $100 just on “stuff”.

3. Cut out templates for the cake and start making the “extra” pieces by rolling out coloured icing and cutting to size. put these in an airtight container to harden.

4. Order the sheet cake from a bakery that doesnt know what you’re talking about so you have to speak to three people before they understand.

5. Look at the sheet cake and wonder how you will cut the pieces out, use wax paper to make templates (make sure you have right side up and wrong side up layers so you have a flat surface on the top) and then cut! put all the cut off pieces of cake in a bowl to snack on.

6. Cut cake board to fit into box that the actual guitar came in. put cake in box and go to bed.

7. Go to work, freak out some more about how this is all going to come together since you’re going to a gig and have a house guest for the weekend.

8. Before the gig, start making icing (white chocolate butter cream), filling (dark chocolate ganache) and drinking wine (brown brothers, dolchetto and syrah). the wine will relax you some what and make the nerves go away for an hour or so.

9. Put icing on the cake board and lay the first layer on the board with the right side up. you do not want the cake sliding off when you move it around.

10. Once the filling has cooled in the freezer to make it solid enough to spread without running down the edges cover the first layer liberally. dont go to close to the edges (it will discolour the outer icing if it bleeds out).

11. Stand back and marvel at the first layer being complete. then put the top layer on (right side down, so that the flat bottom of the cake is your flat top surface). wow! it looks like a guitar.

12. Brush away all the crumbs from the cake and using the icing which has also been cooled in the freezer cover entire cake in a thin layer. this is to seal in the crumbs as well as adding some moisture.

13. Now its time to get rolling! kneed the fondant icing till it is softened and then roll out, using the wax paper template to check the size. dont forget you need overhang to cover the sides.

14. FREAK OUT about how to get the massive flat icing onto the cake, request assistance from the “only hours to go till my birthday” boy.

15. Lay the icing flat on the cake and gently pull the sheet back without stretching the icing. Smooth the corners and press the icing to the cake firmly but not roughly. use a fondant smoother to remove finger marks and any weird lines. cut the excess icing from the board and press the icing under the cake, smoothing as you go.

16. Stand back and marvel some more at the icing being half way complete.

17. Kneed the black icing with 1/3 white icing to get a better consistancy to work with (it doesnt ruin the colour at all! thats how much colour is in the icing!) and cover the already covered cake with cling film to ensure you don’t stain it with the black icing.

18. Roll out the black icing, lay on cake and shape as for the white icing.

19. Stand back and let the “only hours to go till my birthday” boy rock out to the awesomeness that is the cake. put the cake away in its box and go see YOU AM I!

20. Wake up late the next day and then nap on the couch till about 11.30 then have people come over that cant see the cake before the party. wonder when you’ll be able to finish decorating cake. enjoy having people over anyway!

21. Once person that cant see the cake is gone, bend cable knitting needle to make wahwah wand and put icing on end to harden. cut out details from the hardened flats of icing you make earlier. put together on cake with royal icing.

22. Drizzle royal icing on the back of edging ribbon and press to the bottom edge of cake. hide joins in the join of icing.

23. Stand back and marvel in amazement at the finished cake!

24. Go to party, put candles in the cake, get proposed to then cut up cake and eat! ENJOY!

The entire set of photos are in my flickr.

edit: yes, i said yes!