Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Music Class

I have been loving the Oliver + S 'Music Class' jumper (dress) View B for a long time and finally got around to making in a month or two ago.  It has been a huge hit with K and she would wear it constantly if she could.
It was super easy to make and I used a light brown drill with embroidered animals on it that I bought at Spotlight last year.  It is a lovely soft fabric and with a hint of green in the animals I used matching green thread and buttons.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Cat Cake

Part of my role as an aunt is making birthday cakes for three little nieces that live down the road.  One of them turned two recently so I made them a very simple cake in the shape of a cat.
It is very simple and by no means flash but did look quite impressive.  I made the cake from a plain circle tin as well as a small loaf tin, from which I cut out the ears.  They were glued on with jam.  The eyes are white chocolate buttons, the light brown icing is buttercream flavoured/coloured with just a little cocoa powder.  For the piping I simply mixed in some extra water with the leftover buttercream, as well as more cocoa, then heated it gently in the microwave and then put it into a piping 'thing'.  It hardened quite quickly.  This was a new idea for the lines as I not a big fan of licorice - it's too fiddly and needs to be avoided for some people with medical conditions.  I have an icing knife that is angled and allows for gentle spreading - and I also have to remind myself to dip it in water so it smooths easier.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Loving the Raglan

I have been completing various garments for K - some were cut out last summer.  The nightie below is the Oliver + S 'Hopscotch Dress'.  It was easy to make and I am thrilled with how it turned out.
 I also made the same pattern as a long sleeve top.  This fabric is quite thin so will be a spring/autumn top.
I made another Hopscotch top (below on the right) and four more raglan tees from the 'Field Trip' pattern by Oliver + S.  Two of these are pictured below (L to R, cream merino long sleeved undergarment, blue cotton lyrca long sleeved sleeping top, badly stretched Hopscotch top in cotton rib).  I also made myself a long sleeved merino top - so warm!
I had always known that raglan garments were great for children as they allowed for growth in the shoulder area - but I had never actually thought about how much easier they are to sew than a top with a shoulder seam and fitted sleeves.  Yes - they are not as feminine as the Hopscotch top with it's front yoke - but they are very quick to make and all the merino undergarments I'll be making from now on will be raglan.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Garlic Yesterday, Shallots Today

I have been busy planting some garlic and shallot bulbs to coincide with our shortest day.

I didn't get a great crop of garlic last year, but still managed to find plenty larger cloves to plant.  I'm not sure how many I planted - but I think it was over 100.  I also planted about 50 shallot bulbs.

I have this fantastic trowel.  I got it at the Ellerslie Flower Show in autumn.  It was sold by The Company Shed.  My mum has one since I was little and I'm hoping I'll keep this for many years too ... it's fantastic.  Very comfortable to hold and the blade is smooth for easier digging.  Highly recommended.

Luckily I also have another 'tool' that is a great help at digging over soil.  It also has a quite a bit more horse power than I'm likely to need - and H never seems to be reluctant to use it.  I'd thrown chicken poo over the area I wanted to plant the garlic etc a month or so ago and the Case IH and incorporator made a quick job of tillage.
I have a 'inside the garden' vege garden (for herbs, tomatoes, salad things, berries, brassica, etc) and an 'in the paddock' garden that grows larger crops like corn, pumpkin, potatoes, alliums and yams.  I wouldn't let the monster below get near my lawns so we also have access to a 'mini' tractor - about 20hp - that is smaller than our ride-on lawnmower.  It can get to the inner garden and rotary hoes it very well.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Sewing Shelves

My patchwork fabric collection had been housed in a two old suitcases and were somewhat organised - or so I thought.  After looking at some beautiful shelving systems on various sewing blogs I decided I needed something similar to those.  Unfortunately I'd rather spend my budget on fabric and notions so I came up with an alternative shelving unit.
 I spent a grand total of $4.50 on my shelves - and that was for screws.  The offcuts of wood were left by my in-laws in our garage and no piece was wider than 15cm.  After some fiddling with various lengths my H cut them for me and I was left to sand, drill, screw and paint.

Part way it looked like this:
 And by that time I was doing ok but realised that I should have:
  • drilled each hole longer, so that the screws had plenty of room and there was less chance of the wood splitting - it did only a little.
  • assemble it on a hard surface - not carpet!
  • find clamps to hold it - if at all possible.
But despite each piece being a slightly different width than the others, (the two sides are the same) it has come up very well and is a great place to store fabric.  The paint was 'Colonial White' and was last used for a ladder project ten years ago. 

It was also a great project to show K what you can make with wood.  She loves the carpentry table at Playcentre but this was a chance to show her that even mum could make something!

So I have spent the last week ironing, folding, sorting and trimming through my collection of pieces for patchwork.  Anything too small to be folded went back in a suitcase.  It also helped me to realise what I did have plenty of and yes - there were some gaps.
The top shelf is sorted by colour.
The second shelf is by style (L to R):  Christmas; 30s reproduction; checks; stripes & spots; florals (have heaps of these); and then large eye-spy prints.
The third shelf is by designer:  Sweetwater; French General; a mix; Anni Downs & Bonnie and Camille; Amy Butler etc; and lots of Debbie Mumm (that shows you how old my collection is!)
The fourth by colour again.
Then the final layers have larger cuts of assorted fabrics - including more French General, 3 Sisters, Oliver + S, and a little of Heather Ross.

My larger cuts of yardage - for sewing clothes and quilt backings are stored in other boxes.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Miss Ngaire

I finally got around to knitting the fingerless mittens from the last part of the Vintage Purls Summer Sock Club and I am very pleased with them.  I didn't knit them in the wool provided - a denim blue - but instead chose a high twist fingering weight (4ply) 100 % merino from 'Joy of Yarns', colour: Blackcurrant.  This range of yarn is no longer available, but as I only used 67grams for the long gloves I have another 33g available for something smaller.
 Excuse the second and third pictures as it is very tricky to take a picture of one's own hand.  :-)

I wrote about the pattern on my ravelry project page - it was interesting and challenging to knit - but the pattern was not as full as I would have liked.  I can see myself modifying it slightly to knit some more gloves in the near future.
And oh!  My wrists are so super warm now.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Something Simple

I have decided to get better at free motion quilting.  I have a number of quilts that need completing and know the designs I want to use on them - but at present I am being a bit ambitious considering my skill level.  So out come the books, clips and blog posts - all to teach me better techniques at free motion work.

To practise my work I have created a number of small projects to quilt.  Many are finished, some of which I am happy with the quilting of, others not.  Some need a border or cushion backing - but here is one I made - a simple small table topper.
The fabric is from the original range by Anni Downs and I used 4 1/2 " squares turned into a disappearing nine patch.  The good thing about small projects is that you can play with different blocks as well as different quilting techniques.

I really like the flowers I quilted and I was pleased to see progress in my skills.  The spacing of the flowers just needs to be improved - and I'm marking still it all out with a dissolving blue pen line!
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