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The dreaded second sock

28 Jan

This post is a bit of a cheat. I forgot to take photos of my most recently completed project before I gave it as a gift*, so instead I’m going to tell you about a few projects I have underway that I’m planning to complete very soon.

The first is a pair of Christmas socks. I’ve completed the first sock and it’s gorgeous. Bright red and super snuggly in moss stitch with a braid up the front.

I had intended to have both socks all finished, wrapped up and placed under the tree for Christmas morning.

Sadly, I’ve been struck by second sock syndrome and this is what the remaining sock looks like today, over a month after Christmas.

I need to get my needles clicking so I can surprise a special someone with a parcel of socks in her letterbox. Socks that she’s probably given up on or even forgotten all about…

I thought I would also tell you about a few other projects that I have on the go and hope to complete very soon. I have to confess that this is only a small selection. I definitely enjoy planning and starting projects more than I enjoy completing them, and I have the terrible habit of getting distracted planning the next project while I’m in the middle of a current one. I don’t think I’m unusual in this though. Every crafty person I know seems to have a big pile of materials to make future projects, as well as a hidden stash of unfinished projects. But… it’s so satisfying to finish making something beautiful, so I thought exposing these unfinished objects to the world might be what it takes to motivate me to complete them.

The first is framing this little cross stitch. It’s so pretty, and came from a little kit that my Nana gave me for Christmas years ago. I did the cross stitch several years back, but then popped it in a drawer and only came across it again recently.

I’m planning to put it into this frame, which I bought second hand from the local Saint Vincent de Paul store. I want to give the frame a light sand, then paint it white with some light distressing. I’ve never tried distressing before, but there are lots of examples on this site, which I absolutely love, and it looks pretty simple.

I’m planning a few more little knitting projects with a bunch of leftover wool I’ve got tucked away. I’d like to make some soft green merino socks for my little Angus Pie, using a pattern from this great book that my Mum gave me for Christmas. The wool is left over from a little cardigan I made for Angus when he was small.

I’d also like to make my nephew Taika a hat and a little knitted square for his treasure basket, using some awesome bright washable wool left over from robot making.

I have to attach backing fabric onto a blanket I’ve been working on since I was a teenager. The blanket is made from patchwork knitted squares in natural brown, cream, burgandy and purple tones. I’m also planning to knit a border for the blanket using wool that I spent hours recycling from an old  jumper.

Finally, I’m going to make some fabulous pear cushions. My poor Mum… I asked her to get this gorgeous fabric for me for Christmas a couple of years back, then I only got halfway through making the cushions, made a little mistake then got grumpy and tucked them away in a drawer. They’ll look so cool on my couch when they’re finished and it’s not that hard to make cushions, so I’ll have to just get on with it. I’d quite like to stuff them with feather inners – I’ve recntly decided that they’re so much more substantial and satisfying than ones with dacron  stuffing – so I’ll have to start hunting for some reasonably priced ones.

Stay tuned for updates on these projects. And tell me – what amazing things have you got planned, or half-finished in a secret hiding spot?

* The recipient of the gift has promised to send me some photos so I’ll post about it soon. Ok, other chatterbox sister?

It’s a new year…. Happy Bunting!

15 Jan

At long last I have finished my first string of bunting! Hallelujah!

About a year (or more…) ago I ordered a whole bunch of incredibly fabulous fabric from the far off shores of the USofA which have sat in a shoe box, thought of fondly and with great intentions. It was at this time that I also convinced my beloved MR that I was in desperate need of a sewing machine and that without one I might, quite simply, wither up and die like a sad flower whose crafty petals never had the chance to blossom. Oh the wondrous things I would do with my sewing machine and fabulous fabric.
Unfortunately, it turned out to be a rather busy year.
So as 2012 rolled around, I dusted off my twice-used sewing machine (one of which was while on loan!!), tracked down the bunting flags that I had lovingly cut out in one of my crafty fits and starts of 2011 and I sewed those bad boys together into the magical bunting string of 2012! It’s a new beginning ladies and gentleman….

Pinking Shears are a girl's best friend!

I started the bunting process by cutting a piece of light card into a triangle about the size I wanted the bunting flags. I used the card triangle as the template and for the super cool skulls I had to place it strategically to be sure that I got the best pieces of fabric – this unfortunately meant a bit of waste fabric… The patterned fabric is  easier and I was able to cut it into large rectangles and then easily cut that into triangles. I used pinking shears because I’m obsessed with the edges it gives on the fabric 🙂
Each flag has skulls on one side and patterns on the other so I lined them up and pinned them together so they wouldn’t move during sewing. It’s at this point they went back in the shoe box!

Bunting Chaos!

The other day MR headed off to play soccer and I felt like being more productive than just watching the rest of the sixth season of Criminal Minds so I whipped out the old sewing machine, jogged my memory as to how to thread the needle and then uh oh the bobbin too!! I did a few trial & error attempts on one flag while I figured out the best way to sew them – turns out that I started at the point and then worked back up to the top edge. I tried zig zag stitch (my fave!) but it didn’t quite look right and so I switched to straight and boom! off I went like a rocket sewing those flags 🙂 happy days…

Bunting Sewing Magic!

To string the flags, I used a strip of binding that I found in my ribbon box, ironed it flat and then measured about 2cm between each flag so there was a wee gap. I used white cotton for all of the stitching because I like the contrast. I’m quite pleased with the results and feel a little burst of pride when I look at my very first bunting effort – it’s only going to get bigger and better from here baby! Next project… a thank you gift for my dear friend Greta who is making my beautiful wedding dress!

Bunting Fiesta!

Calaveritas!

Happy Bunting 🙂

A rather refined rabbit

14 Jun

We travelled to Auckland for my sister in law Libby’s baby shower recently. For the occasion, I managed to turn the pile of grey wool I showed you in the last post into this fine fellow.

He’s very soft and floppy, and I’m hoping that Mat and Libby’s baby will love cuddling him, chewing his arms and eventually dragging him around by the ears.

Don’t look so shocked Mr Rabbit. You’ll be ok!

He promises to be a great companion, and he’ll be no trouble to care for. He doesn’t eat much, although he does enjoy the odd cup of tea.

He likes it very weak with no milk, just like Jude.

He also enjoys curling up on the couch with a good book.

I really enjoyed making him up as I went along. I wasn’t quite sure how he would turn out, but I think he’s a wonderful character. I loved the way the colour variation emerged in his ears, limbs and belly, and the solid grey alpaca I used for his body was a real pleasure to knit with.

I was also extremely happy to figure out a way to successfully insert blocks of another colour when knitting in the round. It involved knitting to the end of the inserted block, turning the work around, slipping all of the block’s stitches onto the other needle purlwise and purling the main section up to the other side of the inserted block. Once I got there, I twisted the wool for the block around the main wool and continued to purl to the other edge of the block. Then I turned the work around again and completed the same process, knitting rather than purling. I completed the block this way and found it produced a great result.

I’ve put this new skill to very good use in completing Stan’s robot, which I’ll be ready to show you very soon.

Domo Arigato Mr Roboto

6 Apr

Two Christmases ago I made robots for my nephews Henry and Ned, and my niece Eva. This friendly guy belongs to Henry, whose favourite colour is purple.

I designed the (very simple) pattern myself. Eva got a bright pink robot and Ned’s is green.  They’re made of machine washable 100% wool, and are knitted in the round on a magic loop. The hardest part was the control panel on the front.

I found it a bit challenging to get the tension right when looping the wool in the back, and I didn’t know how to weave the different colours together to avoid gaping holes at the edges of the blocks of different colours.

I managed to get all the robots sorted in the end though, with huge thanks to my wonderful Mum who sat up with me until 2am on Christmas Eve attaching robot arms and legs.

I ran out of steam though, and didn’t manage to make a robot for my youngest nephew Stan, who was nine months old at the time. Stan’s just turned two, and a few weeks before his birthday I formed the ambitious plan to finish his robot in time for our next get-together following his birthday. That get-together was last weekend, and I managed to create a pile of arms and legs… then ran out of steam again when I realised I had lost the scrap of paper that I had scribbled the dimensions of the other robots on.

So now I’ve borrowed Henry’s robot to see if I can figure it out.I’m going to try to improve my construction method for that control panel too.

You can see that the colour scheme for Stan’s robot is inspired by Pablo, who seems curious about the pile of robot limbs that has appeared in his garden.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to show you a friendly orange robot with a big ‘S’ on his back.

True to form, I’m simultaneously working on another project. This one is inspired by the design of the robots, but is another kind of creature altogether. Can you guess what?

This one is intended for a nephew who hasn’t arrived yet, but is due in July. I’m intending to have it ready for Libby’s baby shower on the first of May.

My first craft project… as a grown up!

27 Mar

Project: Summery Spice Jar Labels

Inspiration: Summer Sunshine in the (Herb) Garden

Difficulty: Beginner (obviously!)

It all began in the essence of getting in touch with my inner craft goddess, inspired by the nimble fingers of my dear sister and mother, who between them have produced a delectable array of wondrous things.

I certainly thought it best to start off with a relatively simple (read: easy enough for even a cat) project that, well, to be honest, I couldn’t go too wrong with.

So on a recent visit to meet my beloved brand new nephew, my sister and I popped in to Farmers and found some fantastic wee spice jars on special – a satisfying bargain for 99c each!

Enter craft epiphany – I realised I had found my first project: fabric spice jar labels.

So I hot footed it off to Spotlight where I picked up some pretty cotton fabric and some nifty adornments.

On return to Auckland, a move in to a new casita saw my spice jars put aside to await unpacking…

Once my crafty desk was clear (a mean feat) I sat down and got sorted. I cut strips of fabric (thanks Jude for the amazing Pinking Shears, I love them!) long enough to wrap around the mid section of the jar and then glued them on with craft glue. Same craft glue was used to glue on the sweet little bows I whipped up with a wee piece of ribbon and again with the matching rose that went on top of the bow! Cuuuute as a button so far 🙂

I then added the wee ladybugs on too – what summer garden is complete without them?

And for the finishing touch, I used my beloved pinking shears to cut a circle of fabric and used that to write the herb/spice name, which I used a black ink pen to write.

Obviously, the REAL finishing touch was filling the jars with their respective spices – which was a very satisfying moment and I nearly burst with joy! I love my new spice jars and they make me feel super happy in the kitchen lined up my windowsill! Success!

(Pics of jars to follow once I track down my camera cords!)

Gallery

A finished project: socks for Jude

12 Mar

I decided a finished project was the right note to start this blog on. There’ll be plenty of time to talk about things like ‘why a blog?’ and ‘what are you planning to make with all that wool and fabric stuffed in those drawers?’ later.

But for now, I want to show you the socks I’ve just finished knitting for my Mum.

I started making these a couple of winters ago. And put them aside nearly finished, to start on a new project no doubt. I finished them this week and I’m delighted with how warm and snuggly they are.