Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Folding & Sewing

I was inspired by tinctory and the last issue of Selvedge magazine (Issue 34) which had an article on smocking. I had never tired smocking before and it didn't exactly work out here how I intended, but I did produce a really nice pleated bow which I love. I am planning on trying this again as its quite fun and produces some really interesting effects (check out tinctory's blog for beautiful things done with smocking). I love the traditional smocks in the latest issue of Piecework magazine too, also done with smocking & embroidery. It is an artform that has a lot of potential to be developed in new and interesting ways.

Gingham Skirt

The idea for this project started 2-3 years ago with this issue of Cotton Friend magazine:

On the cover was this cute gingham check skirt

But it used a large gingham check instead of the usual smaller one. I thought, at the time that It was nice and I'd like to make one. Then promptly moved on to other projects. Then I was finishing the quilt and decided to back it in gingham, not having enough of the smaller check I brought some more of a larger check. Then when I finished I had about 40cm left of the gingham pieces. I decided to try making a skirt from a gathered rectangle or two inspired by something I saw on Craftster. So I gathered the two rectangles and made a band out of an old tshirt. I was going to put the two checks together, making one stick out below the other, but then I decided I didn't like that idea and backed the skirt in calico instead. The waistband is sewn so the skirt is reversible. Here it is:

The tshirt waistband means I don't have to do an elastic waist. Sweet! (and comfy)
The calico lining looked a bit bare:

Then I was mucking around with some paint, fabric, and a paper doily:

It looked nice so I decided to try the same on the calico:

So I stenciled doily resist patterns around the bottom of the skirt using grey fabric paint and a brush:

And I love it! Two skirts in one! Saves wardrobe space! I'm going to do this again!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wet Weather

Its rainy here and quite damp which means its been a bit cold. All the birds are fluffed up.

Fluffy Pigeon

Fluffy Parakeet eating a Rambutan

Two Fluffy Bul Buls

Fluffy Javan Mynah

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


So my notion that I could make a quilt was not entirely mis-lead. It did turn out okay! As is my usual fashion for learning a new skill, I decided to tackle something big, rather than small. I washed the fabric back in January but it has taken this long to make the quilt. There were a few problems that had to be solved first:

First of all, I didn't have enough fabric to make the quilt big enough so I had to find another 5-6 co-ordinating squares. Finding non-pastel coloured quilting squares is apparently a big ask.

Second, the quilt batting I first found was really really expensive, so I had to find something cheaper (queue DAISO to the rescue). I got all my fluffy polyester batting for less than $20 bucks. This meant though that my batting was in small 70x80cm squares instead of a big sheet so I had to hand tack all the sheets together so they wouldn't separate when I ran them through the machine. This meant about a day of hand sewing.

Thirdly, I ran out of thread twice (turns out quilting uses a lot of cotton!). So work had to stop to source thread.

Fourthly I didn't have enough gingham for the back so i had to find more. Of course they didn't have any more of the exact same size check or colour, so I had to buy a larger size check in the same colour. So work stopped again.

Fifthly, I worked out why people have special sewing machines with extra long arms and use thicker thread for quilting. This I worked out the hard way trying to wrangle 2 metres of quilt through a very small arm on my machine and having to keep re-thread the needle. So work stopped again and again! And I got very sore arms. Who knew sewing was such hard physical work?

So it was an adventure. Would I do it again? Perhaps. But I might get an over-locker and a long arm machine first.

The sleep test - it sleeps well. Its just warm enough, just wide enough, just soft enough and just comfy enough. In fact, its just right.

I was going to hand tie through all the squares with crochet thread, but I decided against it. Partly because it would take forever, and partly because its actually really comfy as it is and I don't want to be eating thread ends while I sleep.

I love all the colours together too. Such happy cheerful colours. And the Mr. likes it too which always helps (since he is often subject to my textile based experiments and many mono-syllabic weekends when I work on stuff!).

June Birds

We have been visited several times by the Scarlet Backed Flower-Pecker. This is the boy.

Two young Pink-Necked Green Pigeons often rest in the tree while their mum goes foraging in the garden. One day they were caught in a sudden rainstorm and sat huddled together on the branch against the cold & wind. Poor things.

Four Asian Glossy Starlings. One adult and three kids. The adult has red eyes, the children still have brown eyes. The adult is also black while the kids are brown and speckled.

They were also sheltering from the rain.

Of Green and Blue

Though the blogging has been quiet, I've still been making. And as you can see by the photos I'm clearly going through a green & blue phase. They are nice calming colours for my stressful busy life at the moment.

I finally finished the Knitted Jacket which I started back in January. It had a short hiatus for a month or two (when I got tired of it) but I finished it in June:

Hem detail. The three rows of K1P1 ribs weren't enough to keep the hem down, so I also added a couple of rows of single crochet worked in crab stitch (backwards). This did the trick.

The double thickness neckline made with two strands held together.

I really like how the collar turned out. I actually hated this jacket for a while (as often happens after you are closely involved with something for too long) but now I love it. I'm going to wear it with a slim fit long sleeved t-shirt underneath.

The finished jacket. I made the sleeves about half as wide as the pattern requested and didn't do the garter stitch band. I made up one sleeve first and it just looked too big and silly on me (like I was wearing someone else's jacket). So I had to rip it out and try it again a few times. I also just finished the sleeves the same way as the jacket with the K1P1 ribs. The sleeves are still a wide fit, even at half the width (plus I have very stick-like arms, so I didn't want to make my arms look even thinner by making big sleeves!)

Also finished: a scarf and matching hat. This is made of very lovely chunky wool which is from Jaeger (and is probably discontinued as I heard they were sold/brought over or something).

The hat pattern is from 'Cool Crocheted Hats' and I just did one less set of shell pattern to compensate for the chunky wool (and my small head!)

The scarf uses the same (well, similar) shell pattern, I just made this up as I went along. I think it turned out nice. Its kinda leafy.

The Mr. also needed a hat and scarf set. For him I made this out of a really soft cashmere/silk/merino blend. It feels amazing.

Both the hat and scarf are my own patterns. The puff stitch gives the hat a little texture and shape as the Mr. has a very square flat sort of head and it needed to be rounded out a bit.

The Mr's set. You can see from this photo that the hat looks really bunchy, but it actually sits flat on the head. Please appreciate this, as it took me about 4 goes to make this hat just perfect!