Handstitching as relaxation

With life being a little bit stressful lately I’ve been doing a few handstitchery type things to try and relax. I take my little paper bag with my cotton, snips and needles on the tram with me and just stitch away. My fiancee likes to pretend he doesnt know me when I’m doing this but I know he likes that I’m doing something I love… well at least I’m hoping he does 🙂

Last week I worked on another little spotty scotty this time for a friend. He’s white with black circles and has the most gorgeous blue eyes. I’m still working on his collar so photos arent available yet. I dont want him out in public undressed! I also whipped up a birdie, but again, still naked so no photos.

This week I’m going to use Ferns Creepy Critters pattern to offset the just plain creepy halloween stuff that is invading my house in preparation for our first halloween party. I think I might make them into little stuffies and hang them by the ears in the doorway.

So theres a photo for you all… heres a pic of my button tin!

I’ve made a habit of buying the little bags of buttons my local opshop sells and was able to find a cute old butter cookies tin with a pressed lid to hold them in. When combined with my bag-o-buttons bought from spotlight and all the buttons I’ve collected from clothing purchases over the years its pretty darn full! so I might be on the look out for another tin soon!

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Sisterly love…

I’ve been pushing myself a bit lately to concentrate more on my studies. I’m trying to get back into schooling in an effort to get a diploma by the end of next year. Unfortunately its turning out to be more of an effort than I first thought but the end result will be worth it! So, in order to do this I’ve been locking myself inside on these wonderful spring weekends and working on assignments.

I’m not one of these people that can just sit there for six hours and throw out a 2000 word piece on event venue selection criteria… I like to stop every now and then for a brain break or I’ll go insane or die of boredom… So on the weekend what I did was this…

My very own SPOTTY SCOTTIE!

I used the wonderful Allsorts pattern and some remnant felt I had laying about with the fantastic random retro spot fabric I was going to use for a quilt but have decided against in preference for random craft projects.

I also made a few short trips out into the world, one for halloween goodies. We’re having a party at our house and needed supplies! Spotlight also featured in my weekend highlights! Mainly because the Brunswick store has freezer paper for $1.50/mtr and secondly because random quilting fabrics were reduced to $3/mtr! I stocked up on some more stash building half metres and got a few extra colours of felt to make more stuffies with.

But best of all my trips (gosh it sounds like I was hardly at home all weekend!) was to the Sister Market at Brunswick Town Hall. I got to meet the delightful (and oh so understanding of just how busy we all are) Shannon who has decorated the walls of my study with two of her custom drawing/collages, aided in my stash building with her gorgeous fabrics and now covered the tootsies of my best friends little boy with some oh so cute fabric shoes!

I also picked up the latest issue (and issue 5 that I some how missed!) of MixTape Zine from Justine who was quilting away at her very hungry caterpiller quilt. Once I’d made these two purchases I realised I was pushing my limits for outside time allowances and made my way home to hit the books again.

I’m almost looking forward to this weekends self imposed exile! I’ve got a few Spool Birdies cut out ready to put together and some christmas gifts to prepare for.

A short trip to the island

A couple of weekends ago my future family in law whisked my fiancee and I down to Tassie to visit for a few days. It was a lovely break and so wonderful to catch up with them again… As it turns out it might be the new year before we see them again.

While we were down there I got alot of sleeping done (I always sleep when I’m on holidays!) but also went down to the Salamanca Markets in Hobart. I must admit I was a little dissapointed by the markets, I had thought there would be more handmade crafts than there were… There were quite a few but still, nothing I hadnt seen anywhere else… I did see one lady that was selling little wooden knitting needles but I had no cash so will need to pick them up next time we’re down.

We met up with a few friends for lunch while we were in Hobart and went to a delightful little cafe, Tricycle (they dont have their own website that I can find…) My chai came out in a tea service with a pot of honey and little jug of soy milk. The breakfast dishes were delish! and the sun stayed out long enough for us to eat!

In Launceston I was also able to drop into the patchwork shop ‘The Quilt Patch‘ (blog seems to be dead but the shop is well and truely alive!) and had just enough time to run into the ribbons and lace shop directly opposite (will update with the name once I find the business card). I didnt make any purchases since we were travelling with hand luggage only but am looking forward to being able to buy up a storm when we visit for longer.

We had planned to go back for the christmas / new year break but it seems we’re staying put this year! Should be good though, I’ll get to make christmas food! YUM!

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.