Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Chook Developments

I've been spending a lot of my time recently walking to and from our chook/lamb paddock.  Luckily it is only through the yard - but there have been lots of things to keep an eye on.

Firstly we have got a new hen-house for our girls.  It's second-hand but we've got good value for money because it is solid and well designed.  It came from the same retiring breeder we got some of our hens from, so we know that it is going to do the job.

It was rather a mission to move, especially as we had gales blowing and a hi-ab driver who cut his head on another project.  We had to remove the skids while it was being held up by the hi-ab but it sat well on the trailer. 

When we got it home dear H had the very clever idea of using two loaders to slowly lower it in place.

Yeah!  H, K and I have been busy setting up our chooks' new home and now that they have moved in we're all very happy!

Now - onto the next development.  See this wee thing... it is our black Orpington chick that came out on Sunday.

We had hoped to have some siblings for him/her but the eggs didn't produce what we had hoped.  The mum is super-devoted and we do have a thing about single child families on this farm.  :-) 

It just might take a while to fill our new hen-house.

In case you're wondering the lambs and hens don't seem to bother each other - unless the lambs are trying to get into the hen-house and I have to herd two mobs of animals!

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

A Flower for Jewellery

I've had my eye on the Straight Stitch Society Forget-me-not Jewelry Pouch sewing pattern for a while and I finally made it for a family member who is having a birthday soon.

 It was super easy and looks really fantastic!

I made it in three pinks from the 'Sew Stitchy' range by Aneela Hoey for Moda and love how they make it look.

I didn't have a great look at the photos that went with the pattern and somehow I thought that the petals were inside the pouch - I just didn't realise there were two versions in the pattern.  The petals are gorgeous but the pouch would still look great in a vibrant fabrics without them.  I think I'll try it like that next time - it would make a great quick gift - and use less fabric and fiddling to cut them out.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Field Tripping

My final project during Kids Clothes Week will be this pair of Oliver + S Field Trip Cargo Pants.

I made them in a favourite light weight denim that I have used five times before to make clothes for K, once for a niece and once also to make a skirt for myself.  I bought 8 metres of it (at 150cm wide) from a wholesaler and really wondered at the time - but am very glad I did.  It sews and wears well - the only issue is a tendency to fray while sewing and some slight pulling of stressed seams.

Green was the favourite colour again - this time I used it as a contrast and lined the pocket flap, waist facing and pockets with a blue on green spot.  I also used green thread to topstitch all seams.

I spent a lot of time making these pants and believe they look great - but it was a very labour intensive pattern that I would not rush to complete again.  If I did I would possibly leave off features such as the bellows on the knee pockets and the belt carriers.

I made them in a mix of size 4 and size 5 but they look very big - especially in the width!

Number 65 in the O+S count!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

KCW - Two in the Green!

I am two days behind in my posting about Kids Clothes Week, but I have been busy sewing (and chook shed chasing) so will catch you up on the progress I have made.  :-)

kid's clothes week

K loves green so has requested more clothes made in that colour...

My second item for KCW is a green Oliver+S Hopscotch skirt made from a leftover piece of linen that had originally produced a shirt for me about 12 years ago.  The fabric was 150cm wide so I was able to get this skirt out of about half a metre.  The linen has a lovely feel but is quite thick so getting the pockets right was very tricky.

I also cheated a bit by just sewing the buttons through both layers rather than making buttonholes - you can do this because of the elastic in the back of the waistband.  I found those buttons in my collection, but I have since purchased better ones which I will add asap.

The next item I made for K is a size 5 green floral Oliver+S Playdate dress.  I spent a lot of time thinking about a contrast for the yoke and I am mostly happy with the green I selected.  I can remove the yoke and replace it with a new one if I change my mind - the pattern design allows that.

Yes - she does have a feather in her hair!
I added white ric-rac where the optional binding was suggested, made the dress about 1" longer and also located perfect buttons to match the fabric!

These photos were taken out in the pet lamb paddock (hence the gumboots - I'm sure that's not the footwear they were designed for!).  K is very confident in front of the camera, but not always willing to pose so that the clothes can be highlighted rather than her expression!

My H refers to K as a pioneering child in this dress but she loves it and I am pleased that it covers her up so well on a sunny day.  We have harsh UV rays here.
Patty the lamb - almost weaned!

So that's two more to add to my O+S count (#63 and #64).

I love green too, and have several items, including a new pair of shoes, in it.  I think I'll make some more too!

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Kids Clothing Week

Finally I have been organised enough (only just) to sew-along on a 'Kids Clothes Week' as the weather is less than perfect and K desperately needs some new clothes.
kid's clothes week

I need to make her some things in knit - but to make the most of my overlocker on its current settings I have been working with wovens.

First up Oliver + S 'After School Pants' (again) - number 62 in my O+S count.

I made them in a lovely navy fine wale corduroy.  The fabric is gorgeous to touch and should wear very well.  The top she is wearing with it is the O+S 'Hopscotch Top' I made in autumn.

K and I took some pictures yesterday under our large and beautiful cherry blossom tree.  She is having so much fun playing under this tree and the blossoms are being spread all around.  We've had family visiting and all the cousins have loved this tree just as much!

Couldn't resist making this picture bigger ....  :-)

It is lovely to look out my kitchen window at this beauty but I must keep going with my long list of sewing tasks - at least when the weather settles I can continue with my gardening...

Next up... a green skirt for K!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Orange Bunny

My latest project - I wanted to make a soft toy for looking at rather than playing.  So I looked through this great book...

... and chose this bunny pattern...

This is the finished bunny...

...with embroidered face in contrasting orange...

...and a daring orange dress hiding an orange pom-pom tail (made from wool leftover from this project).
I made the bunny using a cotton/linen blend which I interfaced to give it more stability.  This wasn't suggested in the book - in fact their bunny was in felt - but the linen makes it look really nice.  She's a solid bunny and although I'm very impressed with the pattern, I have a few changes I'd make next time.  She needs smaller ears, the head gusset needed to be longer and I still need to change the limbs some more.

'Stuffed Animals' is a great book because it really gets into the details of stuffed toy making (it is my only book on the topic though) and has heaps of hints for building your skills.  I'm a bit disillusioned with many craft books at present because the patterns and ideas are very simple and dare I say it - you don't really need the book to make it!

On a different note we have our local Agricultural and Pastoral (A&P) Show coming up next weekend and I've been tidying up a few projects to enter in the needlework section.  We've also been trying to train Patty the lamb to walk with Miss K.  It's going ok but the two of them haven't quite worked out who should be boss yet!

I'm looking forward to seeing the poultry on display at the Show as we are hoping for new developments in our own chook collection.  One of our New Hampshire Reds is sitting on fertile Black Orpington eggs that we got from a breeder - she's barely moved.  Fingers crossed!  We are also waiting for the chance to get a (much) larger hen-house from the same retiring breeder.  This hen was the first of ours to start laying so we may have another broody from the others this season.  Nothing happens in a rush with these girls - and so many things can go wrong - but it is fascinating.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

New Bag

Everyone always need new bags and I have had my eye on this pattern by Elizabeth Hartman.  It was a completely new technique for me and I have learnt a lot about bags from this project.
I should 'label' my fabrics so I can recall what colour and type they are, but I'm quite sure this is Essex Cotton/Linen in 'pewter'.  I only had half a yard and the pattern called for 3/4 yard, but I was able to cut it out of what I had with 1" WOF to spare.  The main print in the patchwork section is 'Velocity' by Jessica Hogarth.  I have picked out colours from it for the surrounds, then repeated a similar layout on the other side.
I used Kona in 'pear' for the lining and it doesn't perfectly match but I had quite a bit of it to use up.  I also used some text message text fabric for the bottom right of the patchwork part, and in the pockets.  The instructions helped me place this directional fabric as best as I could but I would recommend using something that is not so.
The pattern was very thorough - and I would recommend having a good read of it in colour before you print it off in B&W like I did.  I made a few mistakes but I think some of them could have been prevented by the pattern itself.  I cut the canvas backing for the sides a set size and then quilted the project.  When finished I was told to trim it back to the original size of the canvas - unfortunately the project had shrunk slightly because of the intensive quilting - a 'to be expected' event.   So my bag is slightly smaller than the pattern says.  Also my pockets are slightly off centre as the pocket side of the lining needed a large amount of trimming and I didn't centre this part very well.  The pocket sides should be equal distances from the straps and mine aren't.  Overall: a good pattern with new techniques.  The pattern does step you through every part, but if you are a new sewer, start with the tall tote rather than the wide one, that's just the way the pattern is set out.
I lined up my facing and re-folded the inside so that I could sew it down on a previously stitched row.  This makes my bag neater inside and out. 

I took three part afternoons to make this bag - including some unpicking - and would make another one for myself or as a generous gift!

Linking up with 'Finish It Up Friday' on 'Crazy Mom Quilts' again.  :-)

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Granny Stripe Cushion

I rarely do any crochet - but when I do I really enjoy it.  The rhythm of the hook has an appeal when I've been busy knitting or sewing.  Recently I saw this pattern and wanted to have a go - but I didn't want to commit to a large project like a blanket. 
So I decided to make a cushion/pillow.  I had six 50g balls of (wool) yarn and have only got a little left over.  The cushion finished at about 18" x 19" (45 x 48cm).  I used a 3.5mm hook and started with about 90 chain.  There are five repeats of each colour which makes 30 double rows.

I backed the crochet in a plain white woven cotton, and used a mid pink fine wale cord for the back.  I used my favourite zipped cushion back tutorial again (see links).

The only flaw in my project is that I sewed the front to the back with one being upside down.  Ooops!

I made this cushion for K and she absolutely loves it.  She has been using it as her sleeping pillow and it has been involved a doll/toy games already.  A very snuggly/cuddly pillow!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Spring Fair Finds

On Saturday I went to one of the local churches' spring fair.  I love looking through the second hand treasures while K loves the bouncy castle and stall selling homemade candies.

I was delighted to find this wool winder to replace the one I had borrowed but need to give back to my mother.  It is in almost un-used condition.

I also found this fabric; the floral already has a proposed use while the large amount of cream cotton will be useful for making pillow (cushion) inners.

I also found these large reels of thread that will be used on my overlocker (serger).  I know old thread can disintegrate easily so I will have to be wary.

I couldn't pass up some cotton ric-rac, random covered buttons (easily to find when thrifting - but expensive to buy new) and these small applique doilies.


I also found a roasting rack and a tiny doll's tea-set for K, but forgot to take pictures of those!

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