Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Simple Bold Babies Blanket + Pattern

I am really excited about the arrival of the new twins. Not just because new arrivals are exciting in themselves but these 2 new little boys when they arrive are my first new blood relatives and I will be their half aunty. I don't feel I can say full auntie as I am the half long lost sister of my biological brother. Yeah all this adoption stuff is confusing.
Anyhoo... I was going to make a quilt from my stash of vintage seersucker when I first found out my brothers partner was pregnant.
But then they let everyone know it was twins...ok so 2 quilts thats cool....but then it was 2 boys.
Ok, that threw a bit of a spanner in the works as my seersucker was a decidedly girly stash of fabrics.
I ummed and ahhed about a few other ideas and rummaged in my stash. Played with some stuff but just wasn't feeling it. Even whipped together a pile of 1960s 4 patch blocks into 2 cot quilt sized tops but again, it just wasn't working for me, also just because I like vintage doesn't mean everyone else does. Sometimes you need to take into account the recipients decor etc. I opted to go for something a bit more modern so I went back into the store room, rummaged in boxes of yarn and came up with these blankets.
The design has been dictated by what colours and quantity of yarn I had on hand. I am trying to only use what I have I my stash for everything over the next year as I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

This is the pattern. I made 2 blankets in the same pattern but with different colours and shared the contrast across the 2 blankets. Its for twins so one can be green the other yellow but they have the same tie in. Both approx 42 x 54 inches each.

The yarn I used was a chunky/bulky weight cotton/acrylic in 100 gram balls from Katia but this yarn is from a long time ago over 15 years. I think I got it originally to make a blanket when I was living up north and it was warm at night. Not sure what is around these days, but a cotton acrylic blend chunky weight yarn is great for kids stuff as its machine washable and light even though its thick yarn.
You could also use 2 strands of DK/8ply together and there are plenty of cotton blends on the market in that weight in good colours.

Colour Way 1
2 1/2 Mid Blue
2 Balls Aqua
2 Balls Green
1/2 Ball Navy
1/2 Ball Ecru


Colour Way 2
2 1/2 Balls Mid Blue
2 Balls Aqua
2 Balls Yellow
1/2 Ball Navy
1/2 Ball Ecru


Abbreviations I use:
K -Knit
P - Purl
YO - Yarn Over
R2D2 - This is what I call my ridged stitch. Slip 2 stitches Together Knit wise. Knit one, pass the 2 slipped stitches over and this makes the Ridge.
ES - Edge Stitch. I slip one stitch Purl wise at the start of a Knit row and Slip one stitch Knit wise at the start of a Purl row.
SSK, Slip, Slip, Knit
K2T - Knit 2 together

7mm Needles - I used a long circular needle.
Tension isn't really an issue with this pattern, just knit it then wet block it to a good size for a cot.

Cast on in Colour 1 - 99 Stitches using the long tail method cast on.
I prefer this cast on as it gives a really nice edge.
Good Tutorial here on this method.

Set up your pattern:
ES 1, SSK, K 10, (YO, K 1, YO, K 10, R2D2, K10) to last 14 stitches, YO, K1, YO, Knit 10, K2T, K1.
Row 2 - ES 1, PURL all stitches taking care to purl all your YO's into the front of the loop on the needle.
These 2 rows make up your pattern. Repeat.


Yarn Over, Knit One, Yarn Over (YO, K1, YO)

R2D2

Pattern Colour Rows:
I knit 24 rows each colour as that is what I got out of each ball. Knit til your ball runs out?
Colour 1 - 24 rows pattern
Colour 2 - 24 rows pattern
Colour 3 - 24 rows pattern
Repeat one more time

Contrast 4 Knit 2 rows pattern
Contrast 5 Knit 2 rows pattern
Repeat 5 times
Contrast 4 Knit 2 rows pattern

Colour 1 Knit 4 Rows Pattern
Cast off loosely.

Stitch all your ends in.
Wet Block with blocking wires giving the blanket a good stretch across to approx 40 to 42 inches wide.

Colour Suggestions for girls:
Red, Orange, Pink with Purple and Ecru Contrast
Yellow, Aqua, Pink with Blue and White Contrast

Sunday, September 14, 2014

If the Shoe Fits...Make your own Patchwork Shoes!

I've always wanted some patchwork shoes and I found my old espadrilles gathering dust under the bed and thought why not give it a go.

Here is my attempt for you all if you want to have a crack. This took me about 1.5 hours.

What you will need:

A pair of espadrilles in your size. I got mine in Spain years ago, but the ones with the proper coiled sisal sole are the best that are stitched and not glued together. Look under your bed, you might already have some. This would work equally as well with espadrille wedges or sandals too.

Some fabric scraps. I used my 2 inch squares from my pre-cuts and stitched them together.

A remnant of Ticking or other heavy cotton or canvas for the lining

Thick cotton thread and normal sewing thread,

Sewing machine

A hand sewing needle for basting and one long sharp one for the sewing of the shoe to the sole.

Usual kit of scissors, snips, pins etc.


1: Gather your supplies.


2: Unpick the uppers from the soles and press flat. This will become your pattern. Mark your Left and Right so you know for later.



3: Sew, make, salvage your patchwork for your uppers. Depending on the size of your shoes you may need more or less than what I made. Use your unpicked uppers as a guide.


4: Using your uppers as a pattern cut your pieces for the tops and lining leaving a 1/4 seam all around.

5: Stitch your linings to your uppers on the top edge of the shoe using a 1/4 inch seam. Turn out and press seam to the lining.
Under stitch the seam to the lining close to the edge. With your main front shoe piece clip the curves before turning to right side.

6: Top stitch upper edges 1/4 inch from edge. Press.
7: Trim and true up your pieces against your original pattern pieces. Baste stitch 1/4 on remaining raw edges holding lining and upper together.
Over cast your raw edge of heel piece at narrow sides.

8: Stitch the heel piece to the front piece at side edges. Use your original pieces as a guide. I top stitched through all layers to do this.

9: You now should have 2 uppers that look a bit like this.
10: Press your basted edge to the wrong side using your basting stitching as a roll line. Hand tack this edge down and ease your curves in. Do not skip this, this makes stitching your shoes together easier.

11: Pin your uppers to your soles with the pins vertical through all layers. Match your center fronts to pointiest part of front of sole. 

12: Using your sharp long eyed needle and your thick cotton thread blanket stitch your uppers to your sole. I used the old thread holes as a guide from the original stitching.  My stitches were about 7mm apart.
You want to stitch in an upwards motion catching about 3mm from the edge on top through your basted seam allowances into the edge of the sisal sole.
Start at your inside edge near your seam.
When done, pull out tacking threads.


13: I did a little cross stitch on each corner of the uppers for some detail. Purely optional.

14: You should now have some fancy feet. Enjoy!





Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Urge to Purge...

Since moving my business to a new studio I have had loads of stuff to sort out. (kind of an embarrassing amount of stuff)
My original studio was also a building we used for storage before it was opened up so we had boxes of things stored there as well as we traveled so often.
We have been renovating and trying to sort things out for the house and I have been sorting stock piles of things out of the studio.
My thought process on this all was if I couldn't re-use it, re-work it, find a new home or good use for it, it had to go.

I have given away a good two thirds of my clothes. And it was funny as the ones I said goodbye to were all the freebies and samples I had from working in the clothing industry. They were not the best quality and many had after a few washes become a bit saggy, faded or just looked tired. A really sad state of the quality of clothing made for the Australian market. So off they went to the op shop or I sold the better overseas samples on ebay. The clothes I have kept are ones I have bought or made myself that are good fabrics and fits that are for my style of dressing quite timeless. Mind you I do live in jeans and t-shirts but they are good jeans and good quality t-shirts.
I have jeans from a European brand that I have worn consistently for 3 years that still look great compared to ones from here that died in a few months...thats another blog post....

So I have been re-thinking so much of my 'stuff'.

All my piles of little scraps went into my postage stamp quilt. That emptied 3 archive boxes.


I re-purposed some cutter quilts for our new arrival of Fritz the rescue greyhound. A quilt coat and doggy bedding. I also cut up a queen size futon we used to have for the back of our old Defender 4 WD that we took camping into some dog bed loungers.

Emptying box after box of quilts, tops and other odds and ends I have stock piled away for a rainy day I had to start making some decisions. Keep, fix or let go.
I have consolidated down sets of blocks I said I would stitch together and finish off but have listed them for sale for someone else to enjoy. My old timber fruit boxes have been turned into display boxes for all my pre-cuts. If unpack something and if its to stay it needs to have a purpose.
I've even found ways of reworking shoes.
I did a chop on a pair of boots that were the wrong length for me into ankle boots and a pair of sandals with ties made out of left over scrappy binding I had made into a ball of braid for gift wrap ties.

I have aired the quilts, mended patches and worked out what to do with some around the house. I have made 2 doona covers and pillow cases out of antique linen damask table cloths - THESE ARE DIVINE to sleep in. So gave everything else but the Sheridan to the opshop.
But my favorite solution was to make a slip cover for our timber bed head from a vintage quilt. It was easy and I didn't cut the quilt so if I don't like it anymore I just take out the hand stitches I made into the binding I turned int to place.
I have been knitting like a crazy person getting through piles of yarn. Fritz got a coat and a snood. I have a few jumpers and scarves and I am knitting some blankets for my new twin nephews. So I am on a bit of a rampage. All this from 'stuff' I had on hand in my stash. I have been designing with what there is to make the best use of it. It's a good challenge for the brain.






I am feeling lighter that I don't have so much stuff weighing me down. We have cleared out so much in the house that you hear a slight echo through the floor boards. There is even a 'spare' room again. I am feeling a sense of achievement that I have been able to get on top of all this. It's weird when I was working all the time I didn't have the time to do all this. Now that I have taken a step back from commercial design work I have the mental space to clear out all this clutter that was piling up as I was too busy to think about it....also too busy to make better choices about things.

I feel good, happy and some of my creative mojo is returning after feeling quite burnt out by commercial work. Also that I have been able to do so much with the 'stuff' and others have scored in the process. I have also looked at out consumption of 'stuff' and we have curbed and rethought so many things. We were always quality over quantity people but now we are thinking even more carefully about everything that is brought into our home. It's amazing how often I have said in the past few months - we don't need this. I don't need this. It's good to let go.









Monday, August 18, 2014

Trying Something New...Accuracy...

I'm not the most 'accurate' of quilters. I'm a bit of a bang it together kinda girl.
But there are some designs that call for accuracy or you are going to be tearing your hair out.

On Saturday I spent the day at the new studio of Jo Lawrence. Made Studio Textiles in Cheltenham.
An absolutely amazing place. If you are down that way you really should pop in the next time there is an open studio or workshop.

Jo is a killer quilter especially in the 'accuracy' department. And with all the winner rosettes pinned on her quilts, this is a lady you can learn a lot from.  But the whole thing about 'Made' is Jo is sharing her skills, tips and tools to making really tidy quilts and doing them in less time. Now for me, this is a whole new ball game.

A while back Jo gave me some of her new paper piecing templates. They were hexies. I cut out a pile out of Liberty but just never got around to starting it off. I knew what I was going to do, (heh heh, more on that later) but just never took the first step to putting it together so I never used the papers. Every time I ran into Jo, she asked me how I was going... it wasn't. I have always had a bit of a mental block with hexies ever since my horror year 9 textiles class.

As i've been sorting things out in the studio I came across another one of my 'boxes', yes I have 'boxes' that have future projects in them or half started ones that I need to keep adding to to get the right amount of stuff together. This box had a pile of cut diamonds from the 1940s from a stash I picked up a few years back. I always thought i'd make a scrappy star out of them, but I was dreading trimming, marking and hand sewing them together. Box goes back on shelf...keep going...

But, the light bulb moment hit me on Saturday, I can use these nifty new no sew paper templates!! So I gave it a go. I must say, if I can do it and get really neat results anyone can do it and it was quick.

The packs have really good instructions in them and plenty of tips on how to use the templates for the best results. And they are reusable too. In about 20mins I had 100 little diamonds ready to go. Please keep in mind with these photos that I was using diamonds that I had found that were from the 1940s so the shapes are a little different. But I got an acrylic template as well if I need to cut some more later down the track.

This is a very quick rundown on just one of the methods you can do with these templates. And there is a huge range that you can get and mix and match to do very complicated designs too. Jo is adding ones to the range all the time and you can order it all online. So if you want to try something new, Jo will be at the Eastern Quilt Show as well in September and she will be doing demonstrations of some of these techniques. If you want more in-depth info check her website www.madestudiotextiles.com and see when the next workshop is. Trust me there is so much more you can do and the machine shortcuts are cool. I'll give that a crack once i've got through this lot. So at this stage i'm whip stitching my little heart out.

The Made Studio Textiles Templates 
My bundle of found 1940s diamonds
Position template shiny side up

And carefully iron the edges over
Lookie Lookie, its done!
100 in no time

My first neat and ACCURATE diamond....





Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trunk Show Saturday 16th August @ Made Studio Textiles

The next Trunk Show is on this Saturday the 16th of August. 10am til 4pm.

It's at Made Studio Textiles in Cheltenham.

"Studio is located directly behind the ‘Kids on Tulip St’ Childcare Centre. Turn into the driveway next to the childcare centre and then take the first driveway on the right, we are located at the end."

Tel: +61 3 9585 1723
Email: info@madestudiotextiles.com
Studio: 19/109 Tulip St, Cheltenham 3192

There is also plenty of parking on the street too.

Some tid bits to get you excited....new yardages in long lengths, vintage quilts, tops and other goodies.
This will be the last Melbourne Trunk show til my next buying trip. This is the last of the finds from the trip I did earlier this year.