Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Little Monster

I am very excited at the prospect of taking part in Softies for Mirabel that's being run by Meet Me At Mikes. To that end I've spent quite a bit of time on the internet searching for patterns and/or tutorials for softies.

On Sunday I made this little monster by slightly modifying the pattern in this fantastic tutorial.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nothing to show...

Nothing to show, but plenty done this weekend. Sadly my "tidying" means I can't find my camera to take photos right now, but trust me, I've been super productive!

Friday night me and my friend Hollie made our way to Abbotsford Convent to go see the resulting quilt from the quilt project. It really was amazing. You should go and check out the pictures on the website, as the panels contributed to form the quilt really are spectacular! All completely different yet all beautiful in their own way. Kirsty really did a spectacular job organising the thing, so mucho kudos to her!

Hollie and myself attempted to pick favourite squares from the quilt, but basically ended up listing all of them as they were each our favourite in different ways, so also a huge well done to everyone that contributed a square.

And now I've finished waffling on here, head on over to the quilt project website, read about what it is and look at the gorgeous photos!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Sunderland Oven Gloves

The Sunderland themed oven gloves I started AGES ago were finally finished about a month ago, and now that they have arrived with their recipient (a VERY belated birthday present... but it's the thought that counts, right?) I thought I'd post up the piccies.

When shopping for fabric I couldn't find any red and white striped fabric that I liked, so I bought some red drill and some white drill, cut it into strips and sewed it together to make my own stripy fabric. I then added wadding and a red lining and quilted along the stripes and assembled into oven gloves. I used the pattern I've used before which was drafted from a tutorial from burdastyle (which I would link to but I can't seem to find it on the new site).

The differences I used this time in assembly were the order I stitched the seams, and that I added a binding (exactly as I did on my quilts) around the bottom rather than just folding it and stitching it. I did however forget to add a little loop in the side seam to use to hang them up... Also, I couldn't decide which way to make the stripes go, so I did one set either way.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Little Bouquet Wallhanging

Finished a little while ago but I've only just gotten around to taking photos of it. (images are clickable for bigger versions)

I quilted the roses as suggested with wonky spirals, and quilted the leaves with a typical leaf vein pattern, which I then echoed around the edge of the bouquet on the background.

and now it's finished I'm not convinced that I like it... again!

Monday, October 19, 2009

One Down!

Finished!! I stitched the binding on last night, so now I just need to have the will power to keep it packed away in a box for 6 weeks until I'm allowed to get it out and fill it with chocolate for the beginning of December.

The binding is pieces of leftovers from the red pockets, mostly alternating pattern and plain. I thought it would be more interesting than a plain binding... that and i had cut all of the plain red and green up into squares. It really finishes it off, before the binding was on we were worried about putting it on a white wall and it getting lost, but there's no chance of that now!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Fabrics

Today I went on a little field trip to Patchwork on Central Park to see their fabrics in general, and to see if they had anything that would work for my genome quilt in particular. While I was there I got 5 more 'dark' fabrics, but sadly they didn't have any 'whites'.

Added to the ones I bought at Amitie this brings my collection of fabrics for this quilt to the following:

10 darks and 4 whites. I figure I could have a couple more 'darks' and then hopefully at least 6 more 'whites'.... and then I can prewash and start cutting!!!

I don't know how many more patchwork shops there are in Melbourne for me to visit, but next on my list is Patchwork House in Hawthorn. It is also highly plausible that I will revisit Amitie, I was very impressed by their range and there were a few there that I didn't buy but did get swatches of.

My Place and Yours: On the shelf...

I have decided to take part in Pip's new meme "My Place and Yours" because it looks like fun. This first week the theme is "on the shelf", so here's my "bookshelf":

I don't have many books here with me in Melbourne, most of my books still live on a bookshelf parent's house. With the exception of my textbooks I only brought a few books here with me (my dictionaries and one other) and the rest that I have now I've accumulated between then and now. Sadly it's not even as many books as it looks like as I have somehow amassed four copies of "Unpolished Gem" by Alice Pung a dear friend of mine; if you haven't read it you should, it's a really lovely book with just enough deviation from the main story with short yet hilariously funny anecdotes.

Sadly, however, my room, cosy as it is, has no book shelf, so my books have found a home on the top of my wardrobe accompanied by my novelty sized inhaler (that I kept because I love that it's the same inhaler that I use and my Winnie the Pooh and Graduation bears.

More players here

Stipple, Stipple, Stipple...

After a very lazy Saturday I spent this evening finally doing some more work on my advent calendar; doing the quilting in the sashing.

After practising with pencil and paper I thought I was just about ready to give the real thing a go, so replaced my pencil with my sewing machine and my paper with my advent calendar. starting in one corner and some what randomly wandering over the quilt I've been wiggling, meandering and wavering all over the sashing. There have been a couple of 'oops' moments, a few stitches slipping across from the sashing onto the pockets, but nothing too horrific.

I marginally deviated from the tutorial and decided to do a square of stitching around each pocket so that the integrity of the shape of the wall hanging once the pockets are stuffed doesn't depend entirely on my limited free motion quilting skill.

On reflection my wiggles, jiggles and meanders may be packed a little tighter than they need to be, but for a first try I don't think they're all that bad. So far I've done about two thirds of the wall hanging so I should be able to finish it off tomorrow. Then I only need to decide what to do for binding... oh, and make a second one!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Breast Cancer overkill...?

You have no doubt noticed that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I know around here it's pretty difficult to miss; I have a theory that you could live for a day using, wearing and eating only breast cancer supporting products, starting with your breast cancer cereal with breast cancer milk, or maybe even breast cancer eggs for breakfast, right through to writing a letter with your breast cancer pen while eating your pink breast cancer tim tams, wearing your breast cancer clothes, and cleaning the floor with your breast cancer mop.

Now I'm as much a breast cancer awareness supporter as the next gal (probably more so considering my scholarship is from the National Breast Cancer Foundation) but I saw something this evening that pushed me over the edge when it comes to breast cancer related things breast cancer quilt block. Now, people may not agree with me, but I think this is taking just that bit too far... or am I just surrounded by breast cancer so much it's sent me a bit crazy?

(image from http://quilting.about.com/od/blockofthemonth/ss/cancer_ribbon.htm)

Edited to add: apparently there's more than one kind of pink ribbon out there in sewing land, I've stumbled upon another one here for some reason this second one disturbs me less than the first one.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

52 crafts...

At the beginning of the year, before I started this blog I signed up to a group on livejournal called 52_crafts, the concept of which was the goal of creating 52 items in a year; i.e. an average of one per week.

I thought it might be nice to take a look back at what I've made so far this year to see how badly 'behind' I am on the '52 in 52' ideal... To put things into context, this week is week 41 of the year (eek scary!).

And so, onto my list:
  1. White & Beige striped shirt
    New years day was spent at my sewing machine, starting the year as I meant to go on; working on my sewing skills through practice, practice, practice. The first item of the year was a shirt - my first shirt in fact. While it's not the best in the world, I don't think it's too bad... although sadly I've only worn it once, owing to the fact that I can't lift my arms very far in it, and I'm also a little self conscious in it due to the size of the collar. However, not a disaster, so a good start to the year!

  2. Tank Top for Sally
    Originally supposed to be for me, but I didn't quite factor in the fact that the tank I was tracing to use as a pattern was made of MUCH stretchier material than what I was using, so came out a few sizes too small! Thankfully my friend Sally is pretty much exactly that many sizes smaller than me and the top fits her perfectly, and after cautiously agreeing to try it on after I told her about my mistake she declared that it was great, and just the right length as it was long enough not to ride up while she is cycling.

  3. Tank Top for Me
    After the minor- disaster of the previous tank top, I ploughed on and after rummaging through my wardrobe for a tank top made of a similar material I made another one, which came out just the right size and now gets a lot of wear.

  4. Skirt for Jacinta
    A few days after last year's Christmas party my friend Jacinta called me up to ask me a question. She wasn't exactly sure how to ask, but wanted to know if the offer I made her at the Christmas party was still up for grabs... now at the Christmas party I may have overindulged on the free wine, especially after Brad won 'best dressed male' with the costume that I'd helped him make (a Dorothy dress, the prize being a Nintendo Wii!).
    Anyway, due to this I didn't exactly remember what the offer was that I had supposedly made, which I told Jacinta. She then informed me that I had offered to help her make something sometime, to which my response was "sounds like something I'd say, of course I would!" so we made the arrangement that for her Birthday present I would make her a skirt with the fabric of her choice.
    She came over one evening and together we made her skirt, so in addition to the skirt she now has the memories of us making it together, which was great fun - including when I had her pressing the seams outside in the garden as it was so ridiculously hot I didn't want her heating up the living room any more than it already was!

    There was then a bit of a dirth of finished projects in Feb and March, I like to think due to a short holiday to the Gold Coast and having my committee meeting at work, but realistically probably more likely due to sunny days and being lazy!

  5. Couch Quilt
    The next item that I finished was my beloved couch quilt. Made from 4" squares of all the various fabrics I had lying around, it's the first quilt I've ever finished and has been greatly appreciated through the winter months. It also gives me happy feelings inside each time I look at it as each square has memories through the fabric that it's made from.

  6. Plastic bag holder
    A quick and dirty project, but a lifesaver in the kitchen. I made a very basic plastic bag holder by cutting the leg off an unwanted pair of camo-pants at the knee, hemming and adding elastic at each end and a hoop to hang it with.

  7. Bear Nightshirt
    I have a bear. I love my bear and he keeps me company on cold and/or lonely nights. The rest of the time he lives on the corner of my bed. My bear had a t-shirt emblazoned with "I Love You" across the front that I was a bit fed up with, but without his t-shirt he just looks just a bit naked, so I decided to make him a new one. I traced the shirt he has to make a pattern and then had a root through my stash and stumbled upon some fabric that was in the bundle of fabric that my mum's friend Pamela had given me that was the PERFECT material for PJs, but not enough to make something for me out of... so I modified the pattern slightly and made my bear an old-fashioned nightshirt.

  8. Argyle pj bottoms
    By this point we're getting towards the end of April and the weather was starting to cool down, so I decided to make a pair of warm PJ bottoms. The argyle fabric I'd bought when I was looking through the flannelette section of Spotlight for the backing fabric for my couch quilt, and fell in love with it instantly, picking it up and adding it to my 'to buy' pile without even stopping to second-guess myself - which was certainly not a mistake. The PJ bottoms I made out of it are the most comfortable ones I own; just that little bit too long to keep my feet warm, just the right amount of baggy-ness that they don't ride up my legs while I'm in bed but are still comfy, they sit at just the right spot on my hips, and I even included pockets, which I find very handy in PJs yet not very common. So yeah, these PJ bottoms are just like Mary Poppins - practically perfect in every way.

  9. Coffee Date Dress
    At the beginning of May my friend Sally (a different one from before) had a cocktail party for her 30th, for which I needed a dress (well I could have probably found one in my wardrobe to wear pretty easily, but any excuse!) so I decided to try making a coffee date dress. I possibly stupidly embarked on making the dress during the week before the party, buying and washing it one night, then marking on the cutting lines for the pattern pieces (as the pattern doesn't include seam allowances) another night and then spending the entire Saturday sewing it. Thankfully the pattern came together very easily, and with only a few alterations I had a dress for the party that I like very much!

    And at this point my blogging began... so I will not go into the detail I have done with the items on the list up until this point, as it is detailed in other posts.

  10. Stripey JJ

  11. Calico 'plastic bag'

  12. "Snippets of projects past" bed quilt

  13. "Amy S" hoodie
    I don't know if it was the pattern or me, but my attempt at the Amy S Hoodie from Burdastyle was a complete disaster in too many different ways to go into... oh well, we live and learn!

  14. Toga Dress for Jacinta
    Not blogged about, but I spend a few hours one weekend helping Jacinta make a toga-esque dress for a party.

  15. Coffee Date Tank Top
    At the time I questioned whether this was a hit or a miss... it's only been worn once, and even then reluctantly, so I'm reckoning on miss I'm afraid.

  16. Rolling Stones tongue 'plastic bag'

  17. Blue & Red PJs
    I have only posted about the bottoms, but the other week I also finished the top to make the set of PJs. The bottoms are made with the same pattern as the previous argyle ones, but for some reason aren't quite as good. The pattern for the top I made by tracing the top of a pair of PJs that I bought at Myer a few years back and extending the sleeves. I didn't really know what I was doing when putting it together, particularly the collar, but I kind of made it up as I went along and it worked out alright in the end.

  18. Hexacushion
    The beginnings of my addition to hexagons... which may not be evident or visible at the moment but it's definitely still there, lurking under the surface waiting to pounce.

  19. Little Bouquet Wallhanging
    I haven't posted photos yet but this is now finished... Photos will be posted soon, promise.

  20. 2 pairs of oven gloves as gifts
    Not yet posted about here as they have not been received by their recipients - although after learning about the postal strike in the UK last Friday I'm now worried that the pair that have been posted to England will never arrive. If I'd known about the strike I wouldn't have posted them until it was over.

  21. Peg holder bag
    And lastly, the most recent finished item - a super basic peg bag, made of calico with a few buttons across the top to attach it either straight to the line or to a coat hanger. I have been planning on making one for ages, and finally got fed up and made a quick make-shift one until I get around to making a nice one some other time.
So, 41 weeks, 22 finished items... I don't think that's too bad, especially since two of them were full sized quilts. However, if I still want to aim for 52 it leaves me with 11 weeks (eek, the year's gone so fast!) to make another 30 things... which I think is maybe a tad ambitious! I have another 6 items in progress (yes my attention span is that short), another three that I have planned and have the fabric for and another quilt in the works (but I'm not anticipating even trying to finish before the end of the year) and a few other smaller things I'd like to have a go at, including a few planned gifts and a softie for Mirabel.

...I think I'll conclude that at the moment it's possible but unlikely.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Julie & Julia

Last night, as part of my new "Magnificent Monday Movie Night" (because it's only $7-8 on a Monday) we went to see Julie & Julia, which I know has been out for a while elsewhere in the world, but came out here last Thursday.

If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it. The film really was great. Two heart-warming and inspiring tales, cleverly interwoven and incredibly funny!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sewing Day!!

Yesterday (Sunday) two of my girlfriends from work came over for a 'sewing day'. The day was super-fun and super-productive.

I did some work on a second advent calendar using some more of the same fabric.

My friend Amelia started her advent calendar - she cut out all her squares, arranged them (which took QUITE a while of both of us pondering over them and making swap after swap), cut out and ironed on all her numbers:

And my friend Kylie started on her very own coffee date dress - and for a girl who hasn't sewn before did very well, especially since I'm probably the worst sewing teacher EVER!

Sadly nothing was finished, so more sewing days will be necessary (which isn't a bad thing!)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Major Progress.

Because I'm sad and pathetic like that, last night (Saturday night) I ended up going to the supermarket and then spending the rest of the evening sewing - exciting times! I did however, make super progress with my advent calendar. All the pockets were sewn and the layers basted together:

Borders added to two sides:

Then added to the remaining two sides:

And even managed to sew it all together and baste (with spray) into the quilt sandwich, just using calico on the back:

Now it's ready to be quilted - I just need to pluck up the courage! I'm planning on stippling it like in the tutorial, but think I need to practice with pen and paper a little more first, to make sure I am better at the line and can get it even all over.

Quilt Festival - Oct 09

Amy at Park City Girl is hosting another Online Quilt Festival. I discovered the last one after the fact and had a great time looking through the links at people's quilts, so am very excited that it's happening again that that this time I can join in.

I'm going to show my couch quilt, as I'm still very new to quilting and it's the first full size quilt I've finished. (images are clickable to see them full size)

The quilt is a hodge-podge of different fabrics, all left over from other things, and is backed with some navy flannelette.

The squares are 4", and the quilting is very basic - stitch in the ditch.

It lives on the back of our couch and has seen a lot of use over the winter months, which was exactly what it was intended for.

Monday, October 5, 2009

I have no self control...

...when it comes to fabric that is.

I wasn't supposed to be starting the advent calendar until next weekend when we have our 'sewing day' but I couldn't resist starting it over the weekend... and justified it by saying to myself that I wouldn't have much time to work on it on sewing day anyway as I'll be helping Kylie with her dress.

So on Saturday I cut the fabrics into 4.5" squares and paired the plains with the patterns:

Then switched around the arrangement of the squares until I was happy:

Then traced the numbers onto the paper side of the heat n bond:

And then on Sunday I ironed the numbers onto the correct fabrics, cut them out and ironed them onto the pocket fronts:

And lastly, because I couldn't resist, I stitched around one set of numbers and sewed it up into a pocket:

I also did stuff I should have been doing this weekend, I finished my Little Bouquet, which I shall post about later.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Stop looking at me like that!

Neatly folded in a pile on the corner of the table they're just sat there whispering to me "cut me up and start making stuff with me"

This is why I have so many UFOs/WIPs.

Christmas has come early...

Last night after work I went fabric shopping with my two friends Amelia and Kylie. I finally got some fabric for my esprit dress, we got kylie some gorgeous royal blue fabric for a coffee date dress, and me and Amelia got a whole stack of Christmas fabrics to make one of these gorgeous advent calendars.

Sadly our advent calendar won't be as gorgeous as the one in the tutorial as we were limited by what christmas fabrics Spotlight had in stock, but after quite a while, and lots and lots of bolts pulled on and off the shelves and lined up against each other, we made our selections.

We were originally intending to both get the same fabrics for the advent calendars, but it conspired that we have VERY different tastes in Christmas fabrics; I liked the cartoon-y ones, and Amelia preferred the more realistic ones. The ones on the left are mine, and the ones on the right Amelia's (sort of, she has a couple the same as me too).

The fabrics have now been pre-washed and are on the line drying while I watch out the window anxiously in case it starts raining; you never know in Melbourne!
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