Sunday, 19 April 2015

Hexagon Patchwork Pin Cushion

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I love nothing more than a little trip to the country and the recent Summer holidays saw us trek around sublime little towns and villages in Victoria's High Country.  Besides the promise of wonderful bush walks, antique shops and divine morning teas, I'm always hopeful of finding a craft shop to add a little shopping to the mix of holiday activities.  

I was pretty happy in Bright to stumble across Sew Bright Alpine Quilting in between lunch  and a wander around the local charity shop (where I picked up some fabulous fabric to make a skirt for the princely sum of $3.00).  While I'm not usually one to quilt and generally avoid hand sewing at all costs, the lovely bits and bobs on in the shop ended up being far too tempting.

They had a fabulous pin cushion on display in the shop and I loved the idea of making something so useful out of my holiday haul.  

I used "Vintage Sunshine" charm pack by Ellen Crimi-Trent with white linen for the plainer sections.

The pin cushion is made with:

Twelve  patterned 1" hexagons
Eight plain 1"hexagons
Six plain 1' squares.
Filling of your choice
Cotton thread for sewing

It has been a very long time since I'd done English Paper Piecing and if it's something you've never done before I'd recommend the tutorial from Connecting Threads to get you on your way.

I started by making two hexagonal "wheels" which consist of 6 patterned hexagon with a plain hexagon in the centre.  These form the top and bottom of the pin cushion.  

The sides of the pin cushion are made with alternating square and hexagonal pieces sewn in place on one of the hexagons.  This will give you a little fabric bowl shape.  To join the top to the base (the bowl shaped piece will be the top) work inside out until only one or two seams remain. Before turning right way out, ensure that any paper and tacking stitches are removed prior to this point.

Once turned the right way you should have a little opening to add filling and from there the pin cushion is finished by sewing the last seam closed and adding a button for embellishment.

I had forgotten how relaxing sewing hexagons could be.  I can't help but think I may just have to have a little hexagon sewing project on the go at all times for when things get a bit stressful!

Happy patch working


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Sunday, 12 April 2015

It's Payback Time .. (Just don't mention the line ..)

Pin It Regular readers of our blog would know that our Dad is a very crafty individual.  The list of things that he has made us seems to go on and on .. and we couldn't be more grateful.  Some of his wonderful creations can be found herehere and even here.

A few months ago, About a year ago my Mum ordered some wool online but the colour wasn't quite right. She wanted brick red and this had a bit of terracotta in it.  Lovely wool (from Bendigo Woollen Mills) but not what she had in mind.  She asked us all if we wanted it.  I believe that I have a highly developed reflex action where wool is concerned as it was up at my place and waiting for a project before I could say 'Sure, I'll have it if no-one else wants it .. '
It's a jacket - not a cardigan.

I had been thinking for some time that I would like to knit my Dad something.  He's a hard one to knit for though - he doesn't feel the cold.  I remember watching him walk across our lawn when I was a child.  It was freezing - minus 2 or something like that, and as he walked, he snapped the grass as it was frozen solid.  Nothing remarkable you might say, but he had bare feet.  He never wore shoes if he could possibly help it.  I guess he was in hot work boots all day and relished not having to wear them.  If this man has bare feet in the middle of winter - what is it going to take to get him to wear a jumper?

Anyway, I thought this new wool would make a perfect jacket (NOT a cardigan .. ) and came across a fantastic pattern by Jared Flood on Ravelry.  It's called 'Ranger' and surprisingly, Dad was quite agreeable to a hand knitted jacket.  I felt as though he deserved something after all the things he has made us.

It knitted up quite well, but then I was given a sewing machine and well, the jacket was put on hold for a while .. When I say a while, I actually mean a year - oops.

Mum and Dad are coming up for Easter and it's a perfect opportunity to get the jacket back out and finish it once and for all.

Dad noticing the offending 'line'
It was all coming together reasonably OK.  I had a few problems understanding how the sleeves were meant to be joined but finally got the hang of it.  However, after knitting for a considerable while, I noticed that there was a funny little line of knitting on one of the sleeves.  What was this?  I couldn't figure it out.  I thought, incorrectly it now seems, that this 'line' would disappear with blocking.  It didn't. 

Perhaps Dad wouldn't notice - he did.

He's very gracious though.  Mentioned it once or twice (three times really but that's OK) and then allowed himself to be photographed - albeit with no head shots or anything that might identify him.  However, if you are walking down the street in a small country town in Western Australia and you notice a man wearing a jacket that to all intents and purposes is well made except for a line along the arm, that will be our Dad.  

Line or no line, I am sure that in the depths of a freezing cold winter morning he may just wear it.

Happy Knitting,

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Sunday, 22 March 2015

Hexagon Easter Basket

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It's fair to say I've become a little bit obsessed with sewing hexagons of late, and with Easter fast approaching I could think of no better excuse to stop by a little sewing centre that I drive past everyday  (Camberwell Sewing Centre if you're in the area) and pick up a few fat quarters in Easter type colours.

My plan was to make a little individual hexagon baskets as table decorations for Easter Sunday and if you've got the time, I think they do make a lovely display.

What you'll need:

Hexagon paper pieces
4 different coloured fat quarter
Needles, cotton and scissors.

I made my basket using half inch hexagons and squares, but for larger baskets, feel free to use one inch hexagons and squares

Using main colour, cut 7 hexagons and sew onto paper (there's a great sewing hexagon tutorial at Connecting Threads ) cut and sew three hexagons from two further colours.  With remaining colour cut and sew six squares

 To assemble:

Use the main pattern as the centre hexagon and surround with six hexagons in further two colours .  Sew into place as shown.  Sew six squares to form curve in the bowl base and finish with top layer of six hexagons in main pattern fabric.

I didn't end up with a lot of time to line my little basket with anything other than Easter Eggs, but I'm sure they'll look lovely with a little bit of fabric sewn inside to hide all the seams.

Happy Easter


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Sunday, 15 March 2015

Knitlon Crochet Coat Hanger

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I've always thought there's something quite decadent and lovely about covered coat hangers. Showing care and attention to  the most mundane of household items, seems to elevate the owner to a whole new level of sophistication in my eyes. A recent conversation with a family member, who was indeed in the process of covering coat hangers, got me thinking that perhaps my own level of sophistication could do with raising a little!

I've been trying for a while to use up some Knitlon I purchased a a year or so ago and so this looked like the perfect project to  get through the last of it.  Now I'm aware that Knitlon (sometimes called Craftlon or Knitting Ribbon depending on where you are from) can be difficult to find in the shops.  In Australia, I've found the best stockists seem to be Lincraft and Big W while in the USA, tulle ribbon seems to be the closest equivalent product.

Using a 5mm hook, chain 10.  Check that the chain length wraps loosely around your coat hanger with a chain or two to spare.  Adjust the chain length as necessary

Row 1.

Chain 2 and then Double Crochet into second chain in row.  Double crochet into each chain until row is complete.

Repeat until work measures the length of the coat hanger you are using plus an additional row (or two ) at each end to allow for seams.

To Make Up

Fold work in half lengthwise.  Sew end seam and three quarters along the length of the cover. Slide wooden part of hanger (unscrew and remove hook prior, if this hasn't already been removed) and then sew the remainder of the length and the last end seam.  I found overcasting to be almost invisible when sewing the Knitlon. Gently find the hole for the hanger hook and insert.

Add crochet flowers and ribbons to decorate and you'll have the prettiest little coat hanger imaginable.

Happy crocheting.


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Sunday, 8 March 2015

Summerhouse Quilt

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Summerhouse Quilt

This quilt proved very difficult to name.  

I usually have a name for my quilts very early on but, in this case, it just kept eluding me.  The fabric was called 'Lost & Found' by My Mind's Eye for Riley Blake .. and it was on sale.   Sometimes, the fact that it is on sale is the only inducement I need to buy it.

Washing never looked so good...
Earlier in the year, I had received a lovely quilting book for my birthday  - 'Quilt Me!' by Jane Brocket and I fell in love with the Washing Line quilt.

It is very easy to make using my bargain layer cake.
'Sets of 2'

1.    Cut each layer cake into 4 x 2.5" strips.

2.    Once you have all your strips (and there are many), place them in sets of 2 strips each and then sew them together along the 10" edge.

3.    When you have sewn them all together, then you sew your sets of 2 together to forms sets of 4.  This set of 4 is the block.

4.   The quilt is 6 blocks by 7 blocks.  Once you are pleased with the arrangement of your blocks, sew them together vertically first to form 6 long strips.  Once this is has been done, sew the vertical strips together to finish the top.

5.  I added a 2.5" border and then a 5" final border.

I used a 100% cotton batting for this quilt.  I love the feel and 'lightness' of the batting.  It doesn't make the quilt too heavy.

The quilt top finished - 6 x 7 blocks sewn together.
At this point, I was still stumped for a name.  It wasn't quite a Shabby Chic quilt, it wasn't quite vintage - It was scrappy looking (in the nicest way) but it still wasn't revealing it's name.

During the sewing and quilting process, the temperatures in Perth rose to a staggering 45C (113F) and I was trying to machine quilt it.  I had it draped over my shoulder, I had it on my lap - and it was unbearable.  I have a loft house and the air conditioning was struggling to keep up and in the end, I had to put it aside until it cooled down.

Simple Cross-Hatch Quilting 

A few days later, the cool breeze returned and my quilt came back out and I finished the simple cross hatching quilting.

'Summerhouse Quilt'

I lifted it up and had a long, hard look at it.  Then it came to me - it looked like a cute little scrappy quilt that you would have out on the porch (or summerhouse if you were fortunate enough to have one) to ward off the evening chill in summertime.  'Summerhouse' it was then - not only due to the look, but also the fact that it was made during the hottest January day in Western Australia for 20 years.

Happy Quilting,

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