Monday, December 24, 2012

It's almost Christmas!

Tomorrow the white-bearded gentleman will race around the world delivering gifts to the good boys and girls; Mum's will stuff the turkey, sometimes with the help of Dad; children will rise early and wrapping paper will carpet the floor.
Somewhere in the midst of all this activity we will remember the reason for the season, and everywhere voices will ring out with Merry Christmas.
I wish all my friends a very Happy Christmas, and peace and Happiness for the coming year.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Almost Santa Time

The festive season is fast approaching and I have been busily [a little like Santa's elves] stitching and knitting gifts for family as this year I have almost abandoned the Christmas shopping blitz that leaves the nerves frayed and the purse empty. 
A few dishcloths knitted with bamboo cotton yarn ... I am still using two that I made this time last year, they last forever!  And wash like a dishcloth!
A piece of fabric offered up in a Forum giveaway recently atracted my attention ... Mmmm, golfing tees.  I had in mind a quilt for an 'almost' family member, and found to my delight there was sufficient to construct a cushion to go with the quilt.  Perhaps it will grace an armchair in the cooler days of winter?
And another cushion; yes, I think it could truly be said I like making cushions.  However they can be a useful gift!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

In Two's

I have had Internet connection problems, which did have an upside [apart from frustrations] of giving me more time to make things.  Oh yes, the Internet is a distraction from creative activity.
The Calico Angels are bliss to construct, and another two to the Angel Family caused no problems.  The best part of making these Calico Angels is the fact that imagination can play a part ... what to make the 'halo' from?  What should the angel carry and how should the wings look?  All these questions come into play to give each angel a distinctive look.
While turning pages of the ever growing library of magazines [can one justify owning over a hundred?  Not that I am game to count them as I fear the total is well over 100] I came across a pattern for rather cute pincushions.  Once again the colours and embellishments chosen can add to the varied outcome.  I chose the same fabric and named the pincushion twins, Violet and Viola. 
Don't you just love their prissy mouths?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Little things

Sometimes it is pleasant to make little things, items that take a day and are completed.
A couple of sewing accessories fall into that category.
A sewing machine apron
an armchair caddy
Earlier this month I constructed a Calico Angel to send to family as part of their Christmas decorations, and this morning as I was trying to sort out what was what do you think I could find that Calico Angel?  No!  I decided to make another.

Then, later, a sudden thought entered my [previously empty] mind.  Where else would one store a Christmas decoration if not with other Christmas decorations.  Yes, it was there ... now there are two Calico Angels to be posted away.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Promises and Borders BOM ... finished!

During 2012 I have been working on Jenny of Elefantz  BOM, "Promises and Borders".   This morning I completed this delightful quilt, and am proud to say all the stitching, sewing together, quilting [not perfect, but I am improving] and binding.
The Promises and Borders quilt is now ready for posting to New Zealand.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Christmas is coming

I notice on my forays around Blogland some folks have exactly how many days to Christmas ... one down to the second countdown! 
Eldest son, his partner, and his daughter are off to my old home town for the holidays and will spend Christmas with two of his brothers, and youngest son's partner and their little son.  I have chosen to stay on this side of the Tasman ... until later ... albeit we will be looking after their dog and house. 
However there is a way I can make my presence felt amongst the Christmas cheer, and that is a few decorations to remind them of 'Mother'. 
The above adaptation of an Anni Downs design, All Hearts come home for Christmas, should help them to remember Christmasses past when the family gathered at home.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Body washer

In the DTE Forum a inquiry for a shower pouf pattern was requested.  Not crochet, but in knitting.
I searched the Internet for a pattern [plenty of crochet ones, few in knitting], adding a link.  But in my usual hurried manner I neglected to read to the end of the pattern where some had replied that it was difficult to make up.  This fact was pointed out.  I needed to know if the pattern was actually viable, so hunted out the end yarn of several dishcloths, and last night, casted on.
The pattern was frustrating ... too many stitches increased making it extremely difficult to actually knit a row.  However I perservered, and resorted to using a round needle for a few rows, which made the task easier.
Reading to the end of the pattern I wondered how to make it up ... but with the knitting complete there only remained the task of making it up.
I looked on the Internet ... no luck.I re-read the pattern [if in doubt read the pattern!], threaded a needle and began following the instructions. 
The completed body washer may not be elegant, but the pattern did work out ... my joining in of new colours was without any rhyme or reason, just the fact that I had finished one ball and needed another colour being the only condition.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Shabby Chic

When a swap for a Shabby Chic item was first announced my mind went blank.  What exactly was Shabby Chic?  After a wander around with Mr Google I decided I could enter this swap, and when after our partners were announced I visited my favourite fabric shop and noticed a selection of shabby chic fabrics.

A lovely stitchery by Jenny of Elefantz gave me the perfect centre for a cushion.  Somehow the idea of a chair in a cushion gave a moment of whimsy.  There was one serious downfall ... I so loved the completed cushion that it almost didn't get posted to Shez.  Today she received the Shabby Chic swap, which gives me every reason to make this post, including a photo of said item.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lemon or Milk?

The Asian Teapot BOM creates a small diversion amongst larger projects, which means I now tackle two teapots at a time.  Each teapot takes a small piece of fabric and I sometimes appear to spend more time looking for the 'right fabric' than in stitching the teapot.

Block 8
Block 9

Three more to go ... which means 2012 is drawing closer and closer to its end.

With all these wonderful teapots ... all shapes and sizes ... it is easy to imagine sitting sipping tea.  Would you prefer milk or lemon?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Almost there

Only one block to go in Jenny of Elefantz BOM 'Promises and Borders' ... Yay!!  I have downloaded the final block and will tackle it the moment my present small project is completed.

There is only the final row of the Promises and Borders block left to sew together as I have been up with the game on this BOM, and joined blocks row by row. 

I am making this BOM as a gift, and if I keep my enthusiasm high [the three B's I shudder to think about ... you ask, the 3 B's?  Batting, backing and binding], I will said through this project which has been very enjoyable to construct.  I think the mix of embroidery and borders on these blocks have kept my interest alive.

Thank you Jenny for a year of pleasurable stitching.

Oh, the blocks!! Here we are: Block 8
And Block 9

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

It Don't Mean a Thing

This is the last block for the Sentimental Journey Quilt ... a block that should have been completed last month ... but ... never mind, it is now completed.

For a while I was wondering how I would do the borders as there have been no instructions posted, only a graph and a picture of the quilt finished.  As is often the case trying to make heads and tails of instructions before I actually reach that stage had me flummoxed. 

Today I read carefully, and quickly realised the borders will pose few problems.  [Ha ... the quilting will be a mammoth undertaking though!!].

So without further ado, I show block 12, "It Don't Mean a Thing".
For those who may be inspired to attempt this quilt the link is: 

Take your time, a block a month was not difficult to achieve ... lol, gives plenty of time to make other things!

I do have other projects on the go at the moment, some more urgent to complete than this quilt, as after all, our winter has all but departed, so it may not be until 2013 I totally complete it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blocks finished!

Our Craft Forum  ran a BOM for 2012.  We chose a 12" block, forwarded our choice, and these choices were offered each month, with most months having a choice of three.  After thinking about the final quilt, and purchasing sufficient fabric, this BOM made a welcome monthly break to other projects throughout the year.  Officially October was the last month ... but due to demand we were offered the October block in September, which will allow us [or those of us who are motivated] to complete our quilt in time for Christmas.

My blocks will become a table cover; I have the completed picture securely in my mind ... though a recipient has not as yet emerged.

For September I chose a simple block ... Pinwheel, and was rewarded quickly with a pretty block.
As I set for myself that each block have three colours, or four if no 'suitable' 3-colour block was in the chosen ones.  The last set contained three blocks, two with just 2 colours, and only 1 using 3.  Without reading further I printed out the block, gathered my fabrics together, and began cutting.

It was at this stage I realised this block, Bird of Paradise, had some Paper Piecing!!  Paper Piecing and I have not become friends, though last year I did make a pot holder just to see if it was within my abilities.  That the potholder didn't turn out quite the original size, that didn't matter ... a pot holder is a piece of adjustment.

I printed out the template; twice as suggested.  Mmmm ... first effort was sadly wrong!  Second effort wasn't much better, but I perservered.  No, I am not an expert on Paper Piecing ... I think it is the fact that I was working what seemed to be mirror-wise [a little like Alice through the Looking Glass!], and my logical mind found this difficult.
But ... I do not like to be beaten, and am happy to say all the blocks are now complete ... All that is left now is to join the blocks, and make an appliqued outer border.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Knitting finished

Two years ago, at least, I began a jumper in merino possum yarn ... I had made one previously, misjudged the size and it was too big.  Tentatively I began another, not sure if I had enough yarn that was bought in New Zealand ... if there wasn't enough the problem would be how would I access more wool easily.  So, progress was slow.

The back completed, I decided to make a sleeve, which would allow me to be halfway there.  Hooray, I had enough, though to be honest the front and the other sleeve were not finished promptly.
Now, at the end of winter, the jumper for Significant Other is now finished.  The weather is almost too warm for this jumper to have much use this year, but next year it should come into it's own!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Asian Teapots, blocks 6 & 7

How many of you are doing the Asian teapot BOM?  A different gorgeous teapot each month has not proved taxing, even though I tend to do two at a time.

Block 6 is particularly pretty and I can easily picture such a teapot and cup taking of place at an afternoon tea party; ladies dressed in feminine dresses and daintily nibbling on cucumber sandwiches and tiny cup cakes.  A thing of the past?  Sadly that could be true, but one can still imagine.
Block 7 is definitely an everyday teapot and mug!  No frills and flounces and pretty dresses there.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Promises and Borders

The months are rushing by and although I completed block 6 'on time' I neglected to post a photo. 

The title block of Promises and Borders, a BOM for 2012 by Jenny of Elefantz is completed as well; which means I have two photos to post today.
This BOM is proving a wonderful journey with a mix of stitching and patchwork.  The blocks are all sewn together, the title in place ... three to go!!!  As I am keeping up with the blocks as published, it is my sincere hope this BOM will be completed and posted away to the recipient in time for Christmas, which incidentally is drawing closer by the day.

My apologies for the poor quality photos ... that title block is long, which meant I decided to put it across the back of the sofa to take the photo ... didn't work out all that well!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Table mats, cushions, and hexi flower

This week has been productive in the small category, as my enthusiasm for larger items has 'gone bush'. 

It is some time since I made table mats for home use, and the two sets that have been in regular use for several years are fast becoming tired looking, I decided this was the time to construct more.  As there are only the two of us here, and I do have one larger set for when visitors arrive, two sets of 2-place mats was an enjoyable, and short project.
Several months ago I happened upon a FQ that featured strawberries, and not having any particular use in mind, it lay in my stash until an idea dawned.  Then there was the FQ a hexi swap partner forwarded ... a New Zealand bird, the pukeko, featured in bright hues.  It was not difficult to decide which fabrics to use!

As well I have posted another hexi flower away, and actually remembered to take a photo this time!  This hexi flower swap in Our Craft Forum has been running for some time, and my collection of flowers is growing, so much so that I truly need to consider what 'path colour' will be appropriate. 

With another family birthday coming up it a pair of cushions seemed a suitable part of the parcel. 
I try to not think about postage costs!!  Cushions are a perfect gift to make ... they do not take too long, and they are the perfect reason to try another patchwork block, or method. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A learning curve

How do we approach a new craft?  I will admit to procrastinating over socks for many years.  The idea of four needles scared me.  However many years ago I found a lovely pattern for a yoked jumper with fair isle on the yoke ... but by then those magic needles with cat-gut like stuff in the middle were around.  I coped!

Gloves were an important accessory in the cooler part of NZ where I spent most of my life, but there were lots of glove patterns on 2 needles! 

The ear flap hats featured earlier were on those magic needles, but I changed to 4 needles when near the end as I spent too much time shuffling stitches along the 'cat gut' insertion.

Everywhere people were knitting socks!  I procrastinated for weeks, but after a member of the DTE Forum posted a pattern for sports socks that wouldn't waste too much wool should I make a real blunder, I crossed the bridge [so to say].  Not wishing to buy new wool ... waste not, want not, is a mantra I almost follow, I hunted through my 'wool stash', and yes I have a considerable haul of that as well, I found some 4-ply, bought a set of double pointed needles at the Op Shop for $1, and excuses ran out.

The first sock is complete! 
I agree it leaves a lot to be desired, especially in closing the toe in Kitchener Stitch, which I had never attempted before.  Thank goodness for U-tube!!!  Now I have it's mate to complete, and yesterday whilst in my favourite craft shop I found sock wool.  Yes, I succumbed!  Two balls, each sufficient for one pair of socks, travelled home with me.  Next winter [I know my limitations, and I do have other projects screaming for attention] I will be the proud possessor of two pair of lovely warm socks!!  [she says, with fingers crossed.]

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Ooops, slow to post

June scampered away and already this year is over half-way through.  Needless to say the list of my projected projects for 2012 has not shortened as weekly I find other items that scream to be added. 

With the almost confirmation that the Higgs Boson particle exists perhaps the next hope for mankind is space travel to a place where time goes slower?  I hope we have the opportunity to participate in such time-travel, and that there will be room for my sewing machine, my increasing stash of fabrics, my knitting needles and yarn, not to mention the fast-growing number of magazines that I must buy just in case a pattern catches my eye.

I haven't been idle!  Well for almost a week I felt a little under the weather; not enough to send me to bed, but enough to slow me down.  I blame those folk who insist on going shopping when they should be home; those same folk who sneeze while rotating their head and do not possess a handkerchief nor a tissue ... germs simply love that freedom and increase in number with glee.

Christmas is less than 6-months away!  I have begun on my 'list'.  A table runner that is rather large; I anticipate it's use on a wooden outdoor table for the Christmas feast.
Weather in NZ has been wintry, with snow and icy conditions.  Bearing this in mind, plus the fact I was for a few days, completely 'sewn out' I embarked on a knitting spree.  Woolen hats seemed the order of the day, although I originally intended only making a pair of gloves for youngest grandson.  When they were completed it seemed sensisble to carry on and make ear-flap hats from a pattern found via Google ... Norwegian star earflaphat.  It is many years since I have used double pointed knitting needles, you know the ones with what looks like fishing line holding the points together!  The first hat was a trial, but my technique did improve.

Today I have just completed a bag for a swap, but as my swappee has broken a wrist, I will wait before posting a photo.

What next?  Well ... there are two BOM blocks to be made,plus  another BOM from Promises and Borders by Jenny of Elefantz, and a couple of cushions for a birthday next month. 

At least that should keep me out of mischief!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

On a roll!

The month of June simply does not have enough days in it ... 30 days hath September, April, June, and November.  Or perhaps because the days are cooler, after all it is almost the winter solstice, my hours of sewing have increased.

A table runner made in the quilting block, Card Trick because I rather like Card Trick, in its 12" block format.  Simple, yet very effective, and if I had 100 days in June I may have considered making a quilt!  Just may have!
Another swap, this time for a Christmas in July mug rug.  Having recently found Christmas FQ's at sale price, this mug rug presented few problems, except ... which fabric to use?   
When in my favourite fabric shop last week I noticed some gorgeous fabric designed [so I think] with mug rugs in mind ... tea cups with flowers.  Photos?  Not until the sewing fairy puts in more hours!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Potholders and dishcloths

I have recently been involved in a global swap ... in that the swappees came from many locations across the world.  The swap was for a pair of pot holders, plus a little something of the sender's choice.

I love swaps!  And a swap article made quickly I love even more!  The problem of what colour to use solved itself as I sorted through my [not inconsiderable] stash.  A bright print featuring cherries and flowers, teamed with red, would brighten any kitchen ... and be useful into the bargain.

I also forwarded a mug rug as 'the little extra'.

Often when involved in BOM's I find myself in need of a little break, an urge to actually complete a wee project there and then. 

Dishcloths fall into that category.  A couple more to add to my growing pile of instant gifts.  These dishcloths are knitted from a cotton bamboo yarn and I can assure you that they are excellent not only in their usage, but in their longevity.  I have been using two dark cream dishcloths [washing them in a cold water wash each wash day] and they show no sign of wearing out. 

Another swap I entered into was for a Christmas in July gift ... Walter the Snowman was a lot of fun to construct!  One or two more of them are high on my agenda.

Doesn't he look superb?!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Fly me to the Moon

In the midst of a miserable winter's day what better thing to do, than fly me to the moon?

However, I didn't fly anywhere, let alone the moon.  I spent part of the day constructing Block 10 [only two to go!] of the Sentimental Journey quilt, and block 10 is called Fly me to the Moon.

This project has been challenging at times, and considering I have never attempted anything like this until the last couple of years, I consider I am doing OK.  Then again my Mother had a saying, 'Self praise is no recommendation'.  Oh well.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Asian teapots

Earlier in the year I began the Asian Teapots BOM but have been extremely slack in posting photos ... rectifying that now!

The first five are completed.  Recently when shopping in the northern city I came across a coffee shop that sells not only coffee in all its various styles [a window display featured coffee beans scattered on the base ... glorious!], but it also sells teapots/coffee pots and cups and saucers in a wonderful array of shapes and colours.  This BOM is reminiscent of their style!

I begin with a photo of the first one made, and carry through to the May BOM.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wee House

Not being a keen sportsperson and as sometimes I feel the need to indulge in a little activity in that direction, a spot of surfing seemed suitable.

I clicked the cursor, surfing the 'Net and came upon a site I never had the pleasure of visiting before. On the sidebar of Retro Mama some of the cutest miniature houses I have ever seen captured my attention. Having a spare moment [or as it turned out, a couple of days, mainly because household chores took up some of that time] I decided on a realistic house. Many of the houses in Retro Mama's blog were whimsical ... time for them another day. When finding a new idea it is imperative that I make a trial model ... then any perfections of my making are ironed out.
The front

and the back

The completed wee house is cute ... I have plans to make more!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Promises and Borders Block 5

Jenny of elefantz has given us the fifth block of her Promises & Borders BOM, and once again the stitching of this block filled in three evenings of pleasant stitching.

The simplicity of design and verses promise to make this BOM a real treasure.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Craft Forum BOM

Two months have passed.  I forgot to post a photo of April's block ... Brasstown Star
The block I chose for May was Beacon Lights, which gave the option of regular piecing, or paper piecing.  I chose regular piecing even though I had to add seams to the pattern pieces. 
It wasn't until I had completed the block, and measured it, that I was happy in the realisation I had worked out the sum correctly!

My camera isn't picking up the colours all that well.  The spotty fabric is actually a rather rich cream, and the flowery fabric has pretty mauve flowers on a greyish background. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I've Got Rythmn

Block 9 of Sentimental Journey, "I've Got Rythmn" was completed in record time, and only one tiny seam was unpicked!
There are 12 blocks to this quilt, which leaves three to complete, but the borders etc will take more than a moment.  I am enjoying this BOM, one a month leaves the interest high and each month I am eager to make a start on the next.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hot water bottle covers

Winter in the southern part of New Zealand is much cooler than winter in the mid-west of Australia! 

Yesterday, after a telephone conversation with my youngest son I ascertained that youngest grandson needed a couple of covers for the hot water bottles that warm his bed before he goes down for the night.  A rubber hot water bottle placed in a child's bed, indeed anyone's bed, is a dangerous practice ... they are far too hot and have been known to cause severe burns.

After the conversation I put my mind to the task ... would I knit them?  Mmm, knitting takes time and as I didn't have a pattern in my files I wondered about sewing one.  Measurements were easily found on the Internet; there were two suitable fabrics in my stash ... the experiment began.

I will admit the first hot water bottle cover took some time as I experimented with exactly how it would look.  It's final look being determined by the amount of fabric I did have, and a few hours later the result was OK.  Quickly I began a second ... both are ready for posting before the real winter arrives in Otago.