Monday, June 24, 2013

Knitting Update - Parcel Jumper Progress in Pictures

While it hasn't been mentioned around these parts in a little while, I am still knitting. My current project, which I've been very slowly plodding away on the is Parcel pattern; a gorgeous jumper pattern that has asymmetrical cables running up it.

The yarn I'm using is the same type as the one I used for my Whole Wheat Cardigan, Merino Gold, but in a gorgeous teal colour. I've been instagraming pics of my progress intermittently, but I thought I'd share some of those pictures with you here, as seen all in one place they really do highlight my progress...

February 23rd:

February 27th: 

March 4th: 

March 15th: 

April 7th: 

May 7th: 

May 8th: 

May 18th: 

May 24th:

June 22nd: 

June 23rd:

I'm really loving how it's turning out, but it feels like it's taking soooooo much longer than the other projects I've worked on! I'm slowly getting there with it, having started the first sleeve this weekend. I can't wait to wear it, it should be so cozy! Hopefully I'll finish before winter is over.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Hottie Challenge 2013 - My Entry

Have you heard of The Hottie Challenge? Coordinated and promoted by The Open Drawer and Curlypops, the gist of it is that it's an exhibition at The Open Drawer of hot water bottle covers (not necessarily functional). The aim of the exhibition is to raise awareness and funding for the Margaret Pratt Foundation, who support research into heart and lung transplant outcomes.

The hottie challenge was run in 2011, but I didn't have enough time then to join in. And when Cam announced it this year I was worried that I wouldn't be able to join in again, but I was determined to try and squeeze it in.

For my entry I wanted to have a go at making an art quilt, as I always love looking at them when I see them at the show. And as I had a nice selection of blues and greens in my stash of patchwork fabric decided to try making a landscape image.


It was lots of fun building up the layers to try and create an image. I want to do it again with a quilt that I will actually be keeping. You know the scariest part though? Cutting out the hot water bottle cover shape from the finished landscape.


The back was kept simple with a plain white quilted back, but I took the opportunity to have a go at a free motion quilting design that I've not done before; pebbling. It took a little while to get the hang of it, but overall it was a fun design that makes a really lovely texture. I don't know when I'd do it again as it's very time consuming though.

As both the front and back are like mini-quilts, this made the hottie a fully functional hot water bottle cover.

And you want to know my favourite part of the whole thing? The little embroidered sheep that I added...

Anyway, my hottie, along with all the other incredible hotties will be on display at The Open Drawer from Friday the 5th to Sunday the 28th July, and will also be for sale to raise funds for the Margaret Pratt Foundation. Maybe you'll come along to the exhibition? Or buy one of the hotties? Or make a donation to the Margaret Pratt Foundation?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Upcoming Overseas Adventures...

Anybody that has seen me in person in the last few weeks can attest as to how ridiculously excited I am about my upcoming holiday to Europe. (For the record, at the time of posting it's 26 sleeps to go!!!). As it's coming up quickly I had a couple of things I wanted to ask and tell those of you in (or that have recently visited) Europe.

Firstly I wanted to tell you about one of the things I'm the most excited about; the darling Claire of 'sew, incidentally' is organising a meet-up in London on the 3rd of August. I am so ridiculously excited about this, I'm really looking forward to meeting everybody that comes to the meet-up, so if you're in the area (or able to visit the area) on the 3rd of August I hope you consider coming along, it'd be amazing to meet you. All the details of the plans for the day and how to RSVP are on her blog here.

PS: It says over there that it's hometime 5-5:30, but I'm staying in London that night, so if people want to hang around longer and go for dinner with me and my boyfriend that'd be fun too.

Anyway, that's what I wanted to tell you, now what I wanted to ask...

I, like many others, enjoy partaking in some local culture when I'm visiting new places, and of course for me that involves visiting local fabric stores, other sewing related attractions. So, if you have any suggestions or recommendations for places/stores you think I might find interesting in or around the following places please let me know (both sewing related and unrelated!), I'd be very grateful:
- Macclesfield
- The Peak District
- Edinburgh
- Birmingham
- Bristol
- London
- Paris
- Fontainebleau
- Orleans
Thanks in advance for any intel! (Also, if you're in any of those areas and fancy meeting up for a coffee or such be sure to get in touch!)

PPS: For anybody thinking they can break in and steal my fabric stash while I'm on holiday, I don't live alone and my flatmate isn't on holiday while I am ;)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Social Sewing - Reminder for June

It's that time again, the next Social Sewing is a under a week away! The next date is Saturday the 22nd of June. As usual, all the details for this and future Social Sewing can be found on the Social Sewing Page linked at the top of my blog.

As per usual, can you please let me know if you're planning on coming, as I need to make sure that our booking with GJs represents how many of us will actually be there. Thanks!

I look forward to seeing you at social sewing next week.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Audiobooks Update (Part 4)

I've been getting a respectable amount of sewing done recently, unfortunately I can't share it with you yet, so today I thought I'd post another audiobooks update of what I've been listening to lately (often while sewing). Most of these books have been from my audible subscription.

The Casual Vacancy by J K Rowling. I'd heard mixed reviews of J K Rowling's latest offering from friends that have read the book, but decided to try listening to it for myself. I'm incredibly glad I did, as I really enjoyed it. The version I listened to is read by Tom Hollander, who did a fantastic job with the narration, definitely added to the experience. It was by far a cheerful book, not light hearted, but I definitely recommend it.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (read by Flo Gibson) This audiobook was part of a the free audiobooks promotion for Valentines Day that Audible had. I love Pride and Prejudice, I've read it, I've watched it, and I've listened to it before after getting it out from the library. So when Audible offered me a free version I jumped at the chance to be able to load it onto my phone without having to faff around with itunes to copy it across. However, I just couldn't make peace with the narration and have since deleted it again. In my opinion, Austen just shouldn't be read in any accent other than an English one. It was painful to listen to!

The Secret of Happy Ever After by Lucy Dillon. After listening to A Casual Vacancy I needed something light hearted and more cheerful. The Secret of Happily Ever After certainly fitted this bill. Another audiobook I downloaded because it was narrated by Jilly Bond, and I wasn't disappointed. I quickly fell in love with the characters, and enjoyed following along with their story.

Recipe for Love by Katie Fforde. I have become a massive fan of Katie Fforde's books. After loving a Perfect Proposal, I downloaded this one to see if others of her books were as enjoyable. While this isn't anything particularly amazing, and the story a little cliched, she does a fantastic job of developing the characters so you really want to follow along with how things turn out. If you want some light hearted enjoyment then this is a book for you. Jenny Funnell did a great job narrating it too.

A French Affair by Katie Fforde. I enjoyed Recipe for Love so much that I straight away hopped online (on my phone if I recall correctly) and bought A French Affair. I was a little sceptical about the storyline of this one based on the summary, but gave it the benefit of the doubt. Again, the storyline was a little cliched, but Katie Fforde again describes it, and the characters, in such a way that it's just an enjoyable listening (or reading) experience.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom. This book was a little less 'fluffy' than my normal listens, but i barely turned it off when I didn't have to until I finished it. The story was fantastic, and incredibly touching. Kathleen Grissom does an amazing job telling the story, and without shying away from uncomfortable topics. Caught between the slaves and the family, Lavinia's tale is both sad and loving, and is one that you can entirely imagining being true (sadly).

Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexandra. I have listened to all of the Belinda Alexandra books that I can get my hands on, and read the rest, so when Golden Earrings was released at the end of 2011 I bought the book straight away... then it sat on the bedside table until a couple of months ago, when I spotted the audiobook in borrowbox. This book was just as good as the rest; I highly recommend listening to/ reading any/all of Belinda Alexandra's books if you enjoy historical fiction, my favourite is "Wild Lavendar" (hint: a few of them are available on borrowbox). I was a bit concerned near the beginning as it's a bit weird, but the way that Belinda Alexandra manages to weave the stories of the three main characters together is fantastic. Bring on her next book!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Pattern Drafting weeks 3&4 - Trousers

Waaaaaay back in October I told you about the Patternmaking classes that I was taking. The first class, that I already told you about, was for drafting an 'easy fit' skirt, which if you're paying attention I used the block for to make my crinoline. Well I have FINALLY gotten around to snapping some (fairly poor quality, sorry!) pics of the garment that I made from the 3rd and 4th class; trousers!


In the class we drafted a pair of 'easy fit' trousers - loose trousers with an elasticated waist. The kind of pattern that I would normally use to make pyjama bottoms. As I drafted this block during the spring, I decided to make myself some 'Linen Lounge Trousers' to wear casually in summer. The theory was that they would be like pyjama trousers, but if I needed to I could wear them outside (unlike my pyjama trousers, which are all in garish prints).

I bought some brown linen from Spotlight, and made up the trousers. Sadly I think I have to call these a fail (hence why I'm only getting around to blogging them now). The wide legged look is not really for me, they just don't feel 'right'. There were also some issues with the fabric that I used; it very quickly started pulling apart at the centre front seam, which eventually became a hole (that I have since tried stitching up). I don't think that this is due to my pattern drafting, but due to the fabric itself, as Claire has used the same fabric in a different colour to make a skirt and says she's getting the same on some of her seams.

However, there are some details that I added to them that I wanted to share, which is why I'm bothering to blog them at all...

For the elasticated waist, I added the elastic to the waistband like I normally would, but then did some lines of topstitching over the waistband and elastic as shown below. This stopped the elastic twisting in the waistband, which is one of my minor gripes about my pyjama bottoms.

I also added a pocket, which was a hybrid of a slash and patch pocket; the pocket was the same shape as a slash pocket would have been, but I stitched it onto the outside of the front trouser pieces before assembling the trousers. I think the pockets were the most successful part of these trousers.

So there you have it, the outcome from my 3rd and 4th patternmaking classes. Unfortunately I don't think this block will replace the one I already have for pyjama bottoms, but it was an interesting exercise.

In the last two classes of the original course of 6 we drafted a dartless loose bodice, which I have since converted into a kimono style dressing gown pattern. Eventually I will sew it up, but I haven't just yet, so no post on that yet either :)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Me-Made-May - Days 23-31

And so, it's over (for another year). That's it for me-made-may for 2013! And I am happy to share that I successfully completed the task of wearing something me-made every day, although as you'll see below I failed at the taking photos each day part.

Day 23 (Thursday)

- Black Hollyburn Skirt
- PolyChiffon Pendrell
- Grey Wrap Cardigan

- Singlet
- Tights, undies, bra
Day 24 (Friday)

- Rooibos
- Black long sleeved merino t-shirt

- Blue Jumper
- Tights, bra, undies
Day 25

- Black merino v-neck t-shirt

- Brown Jumper
- Denim Skirt
- Tights, bra, undies
[Got distracted by an allergic 
reaction before I got a pic, sorry!]

Day 26 (Sunday)

- Beignet Skirt
- Green t-shirt

- Black wrap cardigan
- Tights, bra undies

[Sleeping off 6hrs at the emergency 
department, so didn't get a pic]

Day 27 (Monday, Sick Day)

- Pyjamas

[Yeah no excuse here, I'm just slack]

Day 28 (Tuesday)

- Cambie Dress
- Long sleeved black merino t-shirt

- Black wrap cardigan
- tights, bra, undies

Day 29 (Wednesday)

- Floral Jenny Skirt
- Black v-neck merino t-shirt
- Grey wrap cardigan

- Singlet
- Bra, tights, undies
[I got drenched on the way home and got 
changed before getting a pic]

Day 30 (Thursday)

- Grey Dress
- Grey long sleeved t-shirt

- Purple and black jumper
- bra, tights undies

Day 31 (Friday)

- Esprit dress
- Striped t-shirt
- Woven undies

- Purple Cardigan
- bra, 2x tights.

The most warn garment this month was, hands down, my Minoru, which was worn nearly every day. And that isn't an artificial inflation of how often it's worn, I really do wear it that much. It's fairly waterproof, and just the right warmth for cycling in Melbourne autumn. As me-made items go, it's a roaring success really. I'm keeping an eager eye out for similar fabric in another colour to make another coat.

My me-made wardrobe covers my work-clothes pretty well, my office is smart-casual, so a dress (with or without a tshirt underneath) or a skirt/blouse combo are great for work. However, where my me-made wardrobe is lacking is in winter casual clothes. In summer I have some great skirts, shorts and summer dresses. However when it gets to colder weather and the summer skirts/dresses get packed away I'm a little lacking in comfy casual clothes. I've kinda gone off jeans (probably partly because I've put on a little weight and the jeans I have are quite tight so not super comfy), but also because they're not all that practical for cycling in, which is my main mode of transport.

Anyway, that's enough navel gazing for now, but if anybody has any suggestions of good casual clothes for winter I'm all ears!
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