Monday, 1 September 2014

T-shirt Beading

Pin It There's a brand new shopping centre in Melbourne and it's filled with all sorts of wonderful things.  We generally don't head into the city very often, but so far we've managed a gorgeous high tea and a "just looking" tour of the clothing establishments held within.

Now that our youngest teen is very intent on making her own clothes, a "just looking" day is fantastic fun and rather than emptying wallets, we end up with heads filled with inspiration and there's much chatter about fabrics and colours, as well as styles and what patterns we own that would come up with something similar, but still individual enough for her.  One thing that really stood out to us on our last day in the city was the number of embellished T-shirts, something that can be easily done at home for very little cost.

What you'll need:

Plain T-shirt
Iron on interfacing
Beads (we used flat backed beads that had holes for sewing)
Tailors Chalk

Step One

Lay out the beads on the T-shirt in your chosen design and mark each bead's position with tailors chalk.

Step Two

Cut out interfacing to a size that will cover the area to be beaded.  We find the interfacing gives some stability to the cotton t-shirt fabric and make it easier to sew.  Iron interfacing to the inside of the T-shirt where the beads will sit.

Step Three

We found a fabulous youtube video from Ann Dean Frederick which gives really detailed instructions on Sewing a Bead to Fabric.  It shows perfectly how to make sure each bead is going to stay in place and how to carry the cotton from one bead to the next with the minimum of fuss.

Step Four

Sew beads in place

Step Five

Delight in wearing your newly embellished T-shirt.

Happy Sewing


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Thursday, 28 August 2014

Going Round in Circles

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Finished Jelly Roll Quilt with spiral quilting
I have spent many quilting days going round in circles and today was the same - only todays circles were good circles.

July is my birthday month and the lovely folk at Craftsy sent me an email to say that I could sign up for a free class.  Not a 'buy one, get one free' - but an actual free class.  I was delighted and went to my wish list and signed up for 'Creative Quilting with your Walking Foot' with Jacquie Gering.  It's a great class and I decided to quilt my next quilt using this method instead of free motion quilting.

The striking effects of spiral quilting
I must say, it was a relief.  It was so relaxing to follow a pre-determined line (in my case, a spiral) without having to manoeuvre  the quilt through all manner of designs.

I had originally bought 2 Jelly rolls of 'Josephine' by French General for Moda Fabrics and had used one to make my Lone Star Quilt.

Spirals instead of a
straight line.
The other I used to make the Amazing Jelly Roll quilt by 3 Dudes which was demonstrated on the Missouri Star Quilt Co website.
Ready to Quilt

It came together quite well but I was a bit dubious about quilting in straight lines as my lines weren't all that straight (again - <sigh>).  There was a lot of bias in this quilt and it needed a quilting pattern that didn't rely on highlighting the blocks and when I saw Jaquie's spiral quilting, I decided to give it a go.

I'm so glad I did.  It came together very quickly and the results were quite striking.  I couldn't recommend this class highly enough - I loved it.

It was a lot less stressful than having to come up with Free Motion Quilting design however, this is my last finished quilt top.  So it looks like it's back to piecing for a while now, which is a shame because I'm itching to do another one.

Happy Quilting,

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Sunday, 24 August 2014

50 Shades of Grey* Beanie

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I think I'm possibly the only person in the universe not to have read 50 Shades of Grey and now that the movie is being made, I think we can all assume I will also be the only person in the universe who won't see that as well.  I'm just more of a Mr Darcy kind of girl and I can't imagine I'd fall for Christian Grey (and yes I did have to use Google to confirm his name) in the same kind of way.

The plan for this project was to make a beanie and in my endeavour to use some of my yarn stash I did actually come across a few ball of Panda "Riverdale" yarn in grey.  It's  quite a drapy yarn when knitted or crocheted and I thought I'd try and use it to make a slouch style beanie.  I'd recommend substituting a cotton or bamboo blend if you can't get "Riverdale"

This is a very easy pattern that is suitable for a beginner knitter:

To fit a teen/large child

Using 8mm needles, cast on 40 stitches.
Row 1:  Knit
Continue garter stitch until work measures approx 50 cm from beginning.  Cast off loosely.
Sew cast off and cast on seam together.
Sew over 6cm of one long edge to form brim.
Gather top of beanie by loosely sewing through the garter stitch and pulling yarn to gather.
Fasten securely.

Our teen was very pleased with the result and even her older brother decided that he too would like one.  I'm calling his "50 Shades of Brown Beanie"

Happy knitting


* Disclaimer:  Only one shade of grey was featured in the making of this beanie.  By all means use 50 shades if you can find them.

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Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Antique Crochet

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We've recently been given a large pile of family mementos.  Our boxes of treasures contain beautiful letters written many years ago, wills (and yes it is perfectly normal to leave your automatic washing machine to someone in your will if it's the 1970's...just in case you've ever wondered!), newspaper articles, apprenticeship papers and amidst all of the things that make up a family's rich history was an envelope which caught my eye.  Across the front was written, in my husband's late grandmother's handwriting, 

"Mum crocheted this when I was about 10 years old.  I am now 85. 1991"

And there in the envelope was an amazing piece of fine crochet showing a  homestead and surrounds. Made by my husband's great grandmother, who had traveled in her youth from Sweden to country Australia, I can't even begin to imagine the homesickness and hardships she would have endured in her lifetime and to have such a glorious handmade item that a family member could remember  being made is an incredible treasure.

I have grand plans for this piece.  At the moment I'm thinking of getting it framed with the original envelope on the back of the frame to give a sense of history for generations to come.

It's got me thinking though, should I do an heirloom project for future generations?  I certainly don't have the patience for this level of crochet, but perhaps I could weave something once my skill level improves... which , to be honest, may take a while and therefore I'll have plenty of time to think about it.  I've always felt it's no good to rush these things!!!

Happy Crafting


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Saturday, 16 August 2014

Teen Sewing

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There is nothing quite as exciting as a 50% off fabrics and patterns sale, and so it was that after ballet class one Saturday Miss 13 and I made our way to the fabric shop to see what bargains we could pick up.  A good hour or so later we left the store with Burda Pattern 8517 and some lovely blue floral cotton.  

As a parent, I'm pretty pleased with the "Young" collection from Burda.  There's some trendy patterns that really appeal to the younger market and many of them labelled as "Very Easy", which is perfect if you're a beginner.  I well remember having to make a pot holder and pillowcase as my first sewing projects at school.  These are so much more fun!

As the cotton we purchased was a little see through, it was decided to add a lining and just to make things more difficult (and because I'm a big believer in learning new skills) Miss 13 did French Seams throughout.  She found an easy to follow tutorial at Sew Neau and was really pleased with the finish.

To make the lining our teen cut the front and back of the dress pattern in a light weight white cotton, sewed the side seams and attached this lining at the neckline.  The length was slightly shorter than the main dress and hemmed.

Our teen was beyond thrilled with how this turned out and already has the fabric and pattern picked out for her next project.  

Naturally she showed her Dad her new dress who said "Shouldn't that be a bit longer?"  Isn't it good to know that in a rapidly changing world, fathers are the same from generation to generation!

Happy Sewing


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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

3rd Time Lucky ..

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Finished - 3rd attempt.
As another quilt rolls off the rather shaky assembly line that has become my quilting table, I am surprised that my enthusiasm is not waning.  

To be perfectly honest, I'm usually not one to stick around and put in hours and hours of time and effort to perfect something - especially when I keep having to go back and undo what has already been painstakingly finished.  To be even more honest, if I don't pick it up quickly, then I will usually move onto something else - something that I am a little more skilled at.  However, this is proving not to be the case with quilting - and I am somewhat surprised.

In my previous quilt posts, (you can read about them here)I have mentioned that I have researched, taken classes, watched countless you-tube videos, all in an attempt to make the 'perfect' quilt.  This is considerably more effort that I have put into researching any other craft.
Nature's Basket - by Blackbird Designs

My latest quilt is a case-in-point.  I had enormous fun with a disappearing 9-patch design.  It came together relatively easily and quickly but the machine quilting was finished on my 3rd attempt.  Yes, that's right, 2 previous attempts were meticulously unpicked and restarted.   This quilt (which I have called Eucalypt Harvest) could easily have been thrown (rather hastily and with some force) onto the 'never to be retrieved' pile .. but I just couldn't let it go.  I think it has something to do with holding onto the creative juices that inspired the selection in the first place.  

I couldn't wait to start sewing with this fabric (Nature's Basket by Blackbird Designs for Moda Fabric) so once I had calmed down and could look at the quilt again without swearing wondering what I was doing wrong, I sat and unpicked and .. finally it came together.
Eucalyptus Leaves Free Motion Quilting

It has been machine quilted with a rather dense design of Eucalyptus leaves and when the final hand stitch was in place on the binding, I gently and reverently folded it up.  There were no 'high 5's' or whoops of excitement.  Just an overwhelming sense of relief that I had done justice to the fabric.  I placed it in my cupboard - and was instantly reminded about what drove me to quilting in the first place.  

Keeping the dream alive ... 

It was the image of a cupboard full of handmade quilts.

Happy Quilting (no matter how many times it takes)
1st Attempt at Machine Quilting

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Saturday, 9 August 2014

Loom Knit Student Scarf

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Teaching a child the value of money can be quite difficult and I've only really felt it hits home when they start earning their own funds and realise that their long suffering parents are no longer willing to open their wallets.  

When our son recently lamented that he needed to buy a birthday present for a friend and he was having liquidity issues, I suggested that perhaps he make something instead.  Surely there has to be some benefit to having a mother with a yarn stash?

The joy of loom knitting is that it's so easy even a non-crafty person can pick it up quickly.  He used the tutorial videos featured in our Charity Knitting blog post and was soon on his way.

The yarn he chose is Bendigo Woollen Mills "Classic" yarn in Raffia and Tasman Blue.  A combination that works really well on the loom when using double strands.

It has to be said, there was some complaining along the way, but I'm sure the recipient won't make comments like "It's too wide", "That's really scratchy" or "It looks too homemade"... you know, the kind of comments that mums usually get when they spend hours making something for their offspring!!  

Happy Loom Knitting


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