Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Another Mini Quilt

I finished this the other day - it had been sitting almost finished for a while - and am very glad I did.  It started as a 'scrappy trip' quilt but I changed it to keep it as a mini.  I love the 1930's reproduction fabrics and would really like to make a whole quilt in them on day.  A dresden plate cushion with these fabrics would be lovely too.  I'm not short on plans!
The quilting was very simple - I used a walking foot.

And yes... I had to have a helper.  My excuse is that I can give you a sense of proportion.
I'm really pleased with the binding colour too - its my kind of blue and it really reinforces the colours in the quilt.  Isn't it hard selecting fabrics sometimes??  I spend a lot of time thinking and planning and am always nervous about how it will turn out.

Monday, 29 July 2013

This and That

I have been working on a secret project, so to avoid showing any pictures here are some smaller projects that have had progress made:

Yummy warm gloves made from Touch Yarns merino, possum and nylon:

Love this yarn!  It's so soft and warm, and should wear well with the nylon in it.  I purchased it over a year ago and I think it was a hand-dyed yarn.  This company produces wool in Central Otago and is rightly known as 'the beautiful yarn company'.
I used 50g of yarn and it was my own pattern - I knitted it to fit.

This is my latest attempt at spinning - am I'm not too sure about it really.  I think it will knit up ok though.  I plan to make some mittens.  It was pre-dyed corriedale fibre from Ashford Craft Shop in Ashburton.

It may be mid-winter but we are getting some lovely days and my seedlings are starting to progress:
I've been out checking on the garlic patch and despite my memories of planting just over 100 cloves I've counted over 125 growing tips and I fear there are a few more to come!  I think I'll need to have a market stall with those!

My H has new lambs on the farm and here are some cute picks:
Less than a day old triplets.  These lambs have mixed breed parentage!
A dorper lamb that we fostered from a neighbour

Friday, 26 July 2013

Kiwi Gifts

A cousin of mine got married a few weeks ago in Canada and although we were kindly invited to the wedding we never made it... another time??
After my earlier wedding gift my mother requested a set of two cushion covers to send over for the married couple.  These were made two months ago - and now I can finally post pictures.

As with my previous cushion I patched strips of co-ordinating fabrics together then used steam-a-steam and raw-edge applique to attach them to the wool-poly backing.

I must get around to making myself a set!

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Little Scrap Quilt

In a scrap bag I purchased a while back I found a whole lot of 1.5" squares - some tan coloured, some white on white and some a mix of Kaffe Fassett.  So I challenged myself to make a small quilt from it.  I had to add two extra squares from my own collection and purchase some fabric for the binding but otherwise this is all made of 'scraps'.
The squares are 1" across so the whole quilt is only about 12" across
This project also gave me a chance to practise my free motion quilting - but I definitely have room for improvement!
I have always had trouble attaching quilts to the wall - but on Pinterest recently I saw a cunning idea.  Two small squares of fabric were folded  into triangles then sewn into adjacent corners as the binding was attached.  All it then needed was a piece of doweling cut to length.  I am super impressed.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

My Girl

Here's some pictures to show you just how adorable my wee girl can be when she wants to...
The bear is Scotty

Many friends have recently purchased iPads for their children to use - we didn't do that for K (though I'd love one anyway - more for myself!) - instead she got a slavonic abacus for her last birthday.  It is similar to the ones I used when teaching.  NB: if you go to the link be aware I paid less than NZ$30 for mine last year - same brand too.

So far it has helped her count to 100 and count in groups of ten.  I really would recommend one for any 4 to 8 year old.  But I never thought you could use it for much else than numbers until I came inside to see...
I presume you can spot the rabbit ok - it was hard to photograph.  Apparently H had been teaching K how to 'reverse shape' letters and she just took it a step further on her own.

Just to show you that children don't always need the latest technology to be creative.

The purple jersey is a long sleeved version of 'Cardigan Rose' that I knitted last year in some more 'The Wool Company' 8ply. I should add it to my ravelry details in retrospect.  :-)

Monday, 22 July 2013

New Hens

We have some new hens and I'm having so much fun ... just watching them!

They came about because our previous beauties had been attacked at night (inside their house) by a neighbour's dog.  All that was left was a paddock of feathers.  We were all very sad... but not for the dog as he's been banished.

So it presented us with the chance to try some new breeds.  This time we sourced five beauties.  From left to right in the above photo they are: a black Orpington, a black Langshan, two New Hampshire Reds, and one buff Cochin.

We basically bought what we could - but are very pleased with them - they should all be reasonable to good layers and not highly strung.  We're also hoping some go broody so we can get some fertilised eggs and maybe some chicks!

The two New Hampshires are laying - we've had two eggs already - but the others are still pullets.  Hopefully by spring we'll have lots of eggs.
You can see the feathered feet on both the Langshan and the Cochin (left and centre).  This photo is inside their new house.
The Orpington and a New Hampshire
We've had great weather so I've been in the garden.  With a lot of help from a team my flower garden is looking good minus about five truck loads of garden trimmings.  My garlic are up - well at least 60 of them - as are my lettuce, first tomatoes, onions and some peppers.  Maybe spring is getting closer??

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Roller Skate Flip

I have had in my mind a plan for a new dress for K for a while now and all I needed was some encouragement to make it.  This came when I read about the 'Flip this pattern sew-along' with FrancesSuzanne.

Flip This Pattern

The challenge was do 'flip' an Oliver + S Roller Skate dress - and this was exactly what I was planning to do anyway!  I had already made a version in March and it was very popular, so out came the pattern a second time.

Now... the story behind this all...
My mother is a great sewer.  When my sisters and I were young she made all of our clothes for us.  One of the resources she used for patterns was the german 'Burda' magazines for children.  Now I have no idea if they still do magazines for children, but they were like what 'Ottobre' is now.  (I know they do single patterns and magazines for women, and have a very popular website - I presume it is all the same people?)

We had some beautiful clothes made from these patterns and one outfit that always stood out was this:

Mum had made it for my youngest sister who loved it, wore it and now has it for her daughters.  I don't have a picture of it on a niece but here is the actual overalls that my mother made:

So I decided I could make a dress version for K using the roller skate pattern.

It worked out really well and I am thrilled with how well it went together and how popular it is with K.

And... I think I did a fantastic job of sewing it... I can't really fault my own work ... that is really saying something.  All the seams match, the lining lines up and there are no fudged bits.  It is a brilliant pattern though.

The first change to the actual pattern was to only use the lining for the bodice - so it finished on the bottom side of the elastic casing. (The lining is a DSQuilts fabric from Spotlight that has been used before.) This worked well as the main fabric, a denim, was a good weight already - it is not too stiff so can 'float' but yet has enough body to take the embroidery without adding extra backing.  And denim wears well too.
All I did to change the actual pattern was to cut the denim at the hemline rather than full length.  I added the hem onto the green and attached the inside of it to the actual dress, before turning it the right way out and cutting to create the 'grass'.
The embroidery was added last - and took the longest time - but was really worth it.  K is especially thrilled with the kite on the back .  I love the flower stalks.

And just to top it all off - we even found a bumble bee in our midwinter (looking very desolate and drab) garden during our photo session this morning.
Finally... I have read that the same pattern is being used for Round Two of 'The Super Online Sewing Match' hosted by SewMamaSew.  Maybe I can use it again?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013


Another project I have been meaning to do for so long....  make some more clocks.  After having great success with my first clock making attempt I decided I could do another or two.

The first clock was made using a 25cm wide embroidery hoop and essex cotton/linen.  The clock parts came from clockworks and were simple to put together - but just complicated enough to involve thinking!  The clock itself was trickier than I originally thought and needed some fiddling to get it sitting right, as the clock mechanism itself is deeper than the frame of the clock.

K is fascinated by the clocks and is starting to tell the time (especially when Sesame St is on).  She has worked out which button is which number and is starting to pick out some times she knows.
 And because I was on a roll I tried another design, this time using a painting canvas as a base.  I had also been keen to try a dresden plate pattern and was able to adapt the conventional 18 degree design to be 30 degrees so there were 12 segments instead of the regular 20.
I used a variety of kona cotton that I plan to make cushions from, so this clock is destined for our bedroom.  I used a 'sweep' clock mechanism so you don't hear the ticking.  Thanks to Clockworks for recommending these.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Thinking of Spring

Although the weather is decidedly bad we are starting to think of spring...  We had our first lambs two days ago and a few spring bulbs are starting to peek out.

So it's tomato and pepper planting time - well the seeds anyway.  I am always late with the peppers (capsicum) but hope that I am doing better this year.  They need such a long time to germinate and get growing that they need planting now!
 I planted:
  • 'Juliet' tomatoes
  • Sweet 100 tomatoes
  • Cornos Red peppers
  • Topepo Rosso peppers
  • Mini Stuffer peppers
  • Habanero peppers
  • Thai hot peppers
  • plain and orange peppers
  • Merveille des Quatre Saisons lettuce
  • Pukekohe long keeper onions
All available from either Kings Seeds or Egmont Seeds.  I forgot to plant Moneymaker tomatoes so will do so as soon as some space is available on the heating pad I use for seed germination.

This is my glasshouse - yes the walls need washing.  But I am picking lettuce leaves and will be due heaps of celery in a month or two's time.  I am wondering how the celery will go as you are meant to grow them quickly  to be succulent but they do look relatively healthy and are being given plenty of nutrients in the form of compost and fertiliser.

 The best thing in my glasshouse is my maximum minimum thermometer which hangs under the milk bottle on the right side, at back.  It is great for monitoring it all.

To give some winter cheer here is a polyanthus by my doorstep.  Ignore the shadows - at least it was sunny on Saturday!
I have also noticed a tiny pointed top of garlic poking through too! 

Monday, 15 July 2013

Little Red Bag

I have a small bag in which I keep a knitting project - usually some socks - the bag is only about 20cm high.  This bag goes with me lots of places because you never know when you will end up waiting - and knitting is great for small time slots.

Then I decided that I needed another one for small stitching projects.  
 It even has small inside pockets to hold thread etc.  It is big enough to hold a small embroidery hoop as well.
The cord is too thick so I need to replace it sometime soon.  But I am very pleased with my little red bag and am getting better at designing items to match a need/size.

Currently I am working on a red handbag that has a stitchery panel on it.  Just the project to keep in my little red bag!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Reverse Cauchy

These are from Cookie A's 'Sock Innovation' but reversed - I knitted them from the toe up. 
The wool is 'Vintage Purls' sock in dark blue/black.  The pattern is quite subdued in this colour - but I am pleased with it as the socks have a good amount of extra sideways stretch.  They fit really well.
It took quite a bit of thinking to work out the pattern in reverse but as I had learnt heaps from my last pair of Vintage Purls toe-up socks so was able to adapt successfully.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

More Knitting

I have been knitting in 'stops and starts' recently and suffering by not really completing much.  But the other day I set to it and finally finished the 'Annabel' I started here for K.
 K loves it - the hood and pockets are especially popular.  I had never knitted pockets before and was so impressed that I'll definitely do them again.  In fact there were lots of features I loved:
  • the pockets
  • the flower/butterfly motif
  • the hood - closed with kitchener stitch (like sock toes)
  • the gentle gather from the high waist
  • the knitted band
  • the 'tail' at the top of the hood
  • the fact that it is knitted all in one and the only sewing up is the pocket lining edges
I did adapt the pattern to knit the cuffs in rib rather than the flower pattern - and I am glad I did as I finished very close to the wind with only a couple of metres of yarn left!
Cheeky grin!
Yes - the wool is a bit 'overwhelming' with all the colour - but I am pleased with it.  I did mix balls so to avoid as much colour pooling as possible.  The yarn is 'Watermelon' by The Wool Company near Taihape in New Zealand.  K loves the green running through it, but has told me she's not impressed with the brown!
More information on my ravelry page.

I have started another project:

I'm really not sure about the wool - whether it is 4ply or 2ply.  So I'm knitting it as 4ply hoping that I'll have plenty for an Ishbel.
Yes - I should be knitting it on circulars, but have decided to work with straights until I really need to change.
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