Monday, 27 January 2014

Upside Down Monkeys

Last year (so long ago I can't remember exactly) I had my first go at dying wool using food colouring.  I planned to make a dark green so the resulting colour made me feel quite accomplished.
The yarn was originally undyed sock yarn from Vintage Purls.

I used the yarn to knit a pair of toe-up socks in with the 'Monkey' pattern by Cookie A.  I followed the 'no purl' adaption of Craftypancakes.

It was a fun knit as there were many straight knit rows and the pattern was easy to remember - which was good as I took this up and put it down over a few months.

I have been wanting to make a duct-tape model of myself to fit clothes on, so making a foot one was a good start!  It turned out well - but the front part of my foot is fatter on the mannequin model than it is for real - the joy of getting over-eager with stuffing.

Read more about this project on Ravelry.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Some Simple Finishes

Two small projects finished and ready to share...

My cushion cover for the 'Pillow Pop' challenge hosted on Threadbias.  I made the 'Gumdrop' cover by Heather Bostic.
The fabric is 'Road 15' by Sweetwater.

I free-motion quilted it in a loopy design, starting from a flower shape in the centre.  I spent a lot of time thinking of a quilting design - the fabric itself hinted towards many very different patterns - and I chose one that is represented in the white-on-white print.  It was a fun quilting technique and I'm really pleased I used it.
The backing is a lovely soft-but-heavy linen that had been in my stash for many years.  The zipper is covered by an assortment of 'Road 15' fabric scraps.  I'll link this up to the 'Pillow Pop Sew Along'.  I might see you there?

In my last post I started a trial block of a patchwork Granny Square.  I finished this up today by adding a 'snow' border then binding it in a matching green.

I quilted it in an orange-peel style design - very easy and quick as free-motion.  When I make this block up as a large quilt I will probably use the same quilting design as it was actually fun to do!

My K will love using this as a dolly quilt, until I borrow it back to hang on the wall. 

I'm linking up to 'Finish it up Friday' at Crazy Mom Quilts again.

Before I go I'll mention that this is my 100th post on this blog!  I'm quite impressed that I've made it.  :-)  I wondered about what to do to celebrate but decided that the new computer that we purchased this week is already making blogging (and MANY other things) so much faster and easier.  Every day is a celebration anyway. 

Big smiles.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

A Little Square Granny

My H had a meeting last night and K was in bed.  What does one do when they've got some quiet time,  but try a new patchwork design?  Yes - I have many, many other half finished projects to complete but I did feel like something different and new.  :-)

I had seen a number of these blocks on various sites, and found this awesome tutorial by 'Blue Elephant Stitches' on 'Moda Bake Shop' that uses a jelly roll. 

I wanted an extra colour on my granny square so needed to do the maths.  This block is the result of me checking that I'd done the calculations right.  The only thing I need to change is to make the top right and bottom left squares slightly longer - instead of 3" I'll go for 3.5".  This will enable me to cut a block to be 12" square - or more if I used a scant 1/4" seam rather than the slightly over 1/4" seam I was using.

The fabric is this block is 'Bake Sale' by Lori Holt, with Kona snow.  I have a jelly roll of 1930's reproduction fabric that would look lovely made up in this block - and if my maths is still correct I could cut out 24 blocks from it.

I think this block will turn into a mini wall hanging but may have a short-term role as a dolly quilt for my daughter K.

I'm linking up to 'WIP Wednesday' at 'Freshly Pieced' and then I'll do some browsing of other blogs!  :-)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Chicken Update!

Progress is slowly being made in our chicken breeding programme.  We now have a total of 21, as hens, young roosters, a pullet and a number of chicks.

My mum had two young Orpington roosters that needed a new home - they're just over three months old but they're huge!
Our Orpington hen is in the middle
I have to concentrate when telling the difference between the black one and our black Orpington hen.  Next spring we're hoping that we can breed our own black Orpingtons and not have to traipse quite so far to get fertile eggs.  The beauty of Orpingtons is that they are friendly and even the roosters are unlikely to peek bottoms of little girls (or dads) like a previous leghorn rooster tried many times to!

I think these are New Hampshire Red chicks
Last Friday our Langshan brought out 5 chicks.  She had started with 15 eggs, but was not the most diligent mother so we are pleased to have these.  Two are Barred Plymouth Rock (mostly black with white spots, one being on the top of their head), two are golden (so probably Red Hampshire) and one is various shade of yellow (presuming white/buff Plymouth Rock).
A Barred Rock (bottom) and a Hampshire Red - excuse the thistle!  You can see the spot on the Barred Rock very clearly here.
The Buff/White Rock chick is to the extreme right - but can you see the Barred Rock chick hiding to the left?
There it is!
Two weeks before that our Buff Cochin had hatched one chick from her eggs - a Barred Plymouth Rock.  We are still scratching our heads as to why we only got one - but as we're still beginners there could be lots of reasons.

Our Buff Cochin got the new coop that my talented H had made in the last week of December.  It's got a lift up side so very easy to get into.

We'll have to sort something else out as our first Red Hampshire (to raise a chick) is ten days of sitting in to her next brood.  Fingers crossed that we get a better hatching rate out of these!  Her first chick - Little Blue the Blue Cochin is growing well, but misses her mum terribly.

Our little Orpington is just to the right of the hen.
Our second Red Hampshire is doing well with her seven chicks.  They are now over four weeks old. Of the three Partridge Plymouth Rock chicks two look like pullets, but I can't work it out for the bantam Partridge, the Barred Rock or the Orpingtons.  One of the Orpingtons is growing very slowly so we don't know what will become of it.

My garden has been somewhat neglected because of the fascination with poultry but I am having my best year ever growing onions!  I planted them as early as feasible and I've kept them well weeded.

And a cute picture to finish with one of our first sunflowers - taken just after K had finished eating dinner!

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Cushions for Two

I had started making both my mother and my father-in-law cushions (pillows) for Christmas.  For both I had found a block that I really liked - and from that decided to make them into cushions.

Despite good progress I did not get either of them completely finished in time for Christmas - but they are now...

I made the tractor cushion for my father-in-law because he has a vintage Farmall Cub from the 1950s tucked away.  It doesn't come out very much but I know he treasures it.  I saw this tractor block tutorial by Lori Holt of 'Bee in my Bonnet' - but it was made in green - so I had to play around with colour placement to get it to match the Farmall (as well as our Case/Internationals).  Lori gives great instructions... I must try another one some day!

The cushion measures approx 22" by 18".  I did get the whole outer finished in time for Christmas (it has a grey cotton duck backing with my favourite zip technique) and all I had to do today was make an inner.

As a cushion it was hard to photograph - it kept appearing to have flat tyre - it looks much better in real life!

The second cushion was made for my mum because she loves her chooks too.  The block is one I have adapted from other hen blocks I have seen on the web.  I used leftover fabric from this quilt I made for her last year using French General's 'Petite Odile' range.  I had managed to only get the top of this finished done for Christmas so my mum will be pleased to see it backed and filled - ready to lounge on her bed!

I quilted the front using a grey thread in an attempt to make it look like chicken wire - but am not that pleased with the effect that it created.  I quilted the back using more of the same French General fabric - so it is a very cuddly cushion.

I'm linking up with 'Finish it up Friday' on Crazy Mom Quilts.  See you there!

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Lunch Bag

I spent some time with my sister in law a while ago and noticed that she carried her lunch to work in a plastic bag.  I got to thinking that her great habit of making her own lunch deserved a special bag!

A while after that I was reading 'Lunch Bags' by Design Collective and saw a pattern by the PattyPan Shop for a lunch bag that looked like a handbag.  Just what I wanted!

 I used denim for the base and a DSQuilts print for the top.

I had both already in my stash - along with the zip and waterproof lining.

The pattern is designed in a very clever way and I'm super impressed by how wide it opens.  The book had many other patterns (all very similar to each other) but this one stood out and I recommend it, although buying a book for one pattern is a stretch.  I had my copy out from the library.

I interfaced the cotton print so that and the denim worked well for the outside - although the denim is a tad thick for the handles.  I didn't have any insul-bright as the pattern suggested as a batting - so used a scrap of wool batting left over from a quilt.  Wool is a good insulator so we'll see with time whether it works.

Because I had a little helper, the said helper's favourite bear wanted to try out the new bag.  So here are two gratuitous shots of a bag and a very handsome teddy bear model (aka Scotty - who needs a bath).

Next time I'll make the bag in a similar denim but use a solid colour for the top.  I'm sure my SIL will like it - I've heard that she'd asked for something like this from my mother-in-law.  It's a thrill to see a present well used and (fingers crossed) this should be one of those!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

A Puppet Castle

As I mentioned in this earlier post K had really wanted her own puppet theatre, so what was a mum to do but make her a very special one.  I used the same Oliver + S 'Little Things to Sew' Puppet Theatre pattern, of course!

K loves fairy tales and particularly enjoys 'Rapunzel', so I thought and thought... then I found inspiration for the shape in a colouring-in book.

The shape wasn't hard to plan out.  The grey is cut out in two main pieces, just like the original pattern.  I added the top squares (battlements) as separate pieces, they were simple to do.

The rounded windows and gate were trickier - I ended up sewing a gathering stitch around one side of the twill tape.  The portcullis was made from strips of twill tape as well.  It is certainly worth using good quality cotton twill tape as sewing it together became fairly stress-free.


K was thrilled with this as one of her Christmas presents... and we've been the audience for some great shows!

This is number 75 in my O+S count ... and I am including it in the 'Little Things to Sew Cover to Cover Challenge' even though I have already made a theatre.  I think both theatres count as one entry.

Bartacks and Singletrack : want to go all the way with me?

Monday, 13 January 2014

Two Dresses

I had a day sewing dresses for K and have two to share for the effort.  So what do two farm girls do.. but go and into the wheat paddock and take lots of photos..

First up... a simple version of Oliver + S's Ice Cream Dress - minus the pockets and bottom band, but plus piping and a facing hem.
I only had a limited amount of fabric (Lisette's ice creams of course!) so cut the inner yoke, hem facing and piping in white homespun.

I LOVE the colour of this dress and it is really popular with K - just right for summer days of play.  I've made this pattern six times already so know how well it comes together.

And a close up to show some of the detailing.  I like how adding piping means you can use the main fabric throughout the dress and pick a colour to blend just that little bit.

But this is my favourite photo - I am considering making it into a canvas for our wall...?

Then I kept going and made a Oliver + S Popover Sundress using Lisette fabric again.

If you haven't used this pattern before and have a girl aged 2 to 8 years that you sew for - I'd urge you to check it out.  Super simple, great to wear - and it's a free download!  The pattern also includes a dress for a doll.

Again I used white homespun as the contrast - to simplify the process I started by making some bias binding in a scrap of contrasting colour to the main - then make sure I have enough to cut out the wider top binding (not bias).  This means that any binding I have left over can be stored for another project.

The wheat paddock in the background is our only one of that cereal and it is irrigated by a lateral/linear irrigator.  I've checked with my husband and the wheat is 'Einstein'.  Just in case you were interested.  :-)
And another favorite photo to finish...

These are O+S items number 73 and 74 in my great count.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

A Pillow to Call Home

Another cushion I made as a Christmas present for a different sister...

I used the same linen-style fabric as the backing of this cushion.  The lettering is a floral print from 'Madeira' by Blackbird Designs for Moda.  I'm sure it is at least two years old - but I really like the colours in it and it looks great against the background.

The mini rose behind is 'The Fairy' - one of my favourites.
I cut the cushion (pillow) out as a 18 1/2 inch square.  I wrote the letters in a document using wordart, reversed them, then traced over the printed versions with steam-a-seam.  I later used my 'fake' buttonhole stitch on my Bernette to applique the letters.  The letters don't line up perfectly as the 'M' wants to be big, but I'm very happy with how they turned out.

I've attempted to link up my master copy of the lettering so please let me know if this does or doesn't work (I think you have to be able to access Google Docs):
Click here to download a pdf for the HOME letters.

I love this cushion as well and think I'll have to make another one or two...

Sunday, 5 January 2014

2013 in Review: 2014 Preview

I've had a busy 2013 - and plan to keep going in 2014.

I know I'm a bit late but I finally learnt how to use Mosaic Maker so have been playing with my Flickr account and mosaics. 

Here are two that I have made - the first highlighting some of the Oliver + S outfits I have made K this year...

1. DSC_0169, 2. DSC_0514, 3. DSC_0513, 4. DSC_0376, 5. DSC_0039pm, 6. DSC_1322, 7. DSC_1321, 8. DSC_1320, 9. DSC_1318, 10. DSC_1317, 11. DSC_1314, 12. DSC_1219, 13. DSC_1119, 14. DSC_0937, 15. DSC_1100, 16. DSC_1068, 17. DSC_1094, 18. DSC_0423, 19. DSC_0316, 20. DSC_0302

And the second mosaic has sewn, patched and quilted items I've made for our family or as gifts...

1. DSC_1212, 2. DSC_1433, 3. DSC_1377, 4. DSC_1332, 5. DSC_1310, 6. DSC_1308, 7. DSC_0248, 8. DSC_1215, 9. DSC_1109, 10. DSC_0962, 11. DSC_0897, 12. DSC_0952, 13. DSC_0464, 14. DSC_0505, 15. DSC_0916, 16. DSC_0556, 17. DSC_0824, 18. DSC_0716, 19. DSC_0687, 20. DSC_0558

I've made many other crafty things - whether knitted, sewn, crocheted or hammered and I have not the time to list them all here - especially as I have so many plans for the next year.  So what am I thinking of?  I recently made a list so will publish it here and hopefully I will get a good number done...

  1. K is to start school this year - so will continue to prepare her for this, as well as use my child free time productively - maybe even helping more on the farm?
  2. Continue to sew almost all of K's clothes and increase the number I make for myself.  I have some Colette, Lisette and Ottobre patterns I'm working on, as well as a couple of Craftsy classes I would like to apply.
  3. Follow a sew-along.  Possibly the 'Pillow Pop' one on Threadbias??
  4. Make more things from 'Little Things to Sew' by Liesl Gibson - and post on the Flickr group.
  5. Have a stall somewhere and make some money from my crafting.
  6. Knit myself a well fitted jersey - probably using Amy Herzog's 'CustomFit' designer.
  7. Finish some projects for the house, namely the striped curtains and dining room chair covers that stare at me every day.
  8. Make myself a going-to-town purse.  I have plenty of totes but need something smaller and more stylish.
  9. Spend more time in the flower garden!
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