Monday, 28 April 2014

Hip Crochet

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Remember when knitting and crochet were really, really uncool?  I'm so thrilled that it's no longer the case and we can all go about our crafty activities without fear of judgement!  It has however been brought to my notice recently , that there are some in my household (make that one older teen in particular) that don't subscribe to the modern ways of crafting and under no circumstances will contemplate wearing a handmade jumper, that I was perfectly willing to make to an upcoming themed event.  Perhaps it's time to set him straight on how hip handmade can be!

I don't have a huge collection of craft books, but I was delighted to receive a gift of "Hip Crochet" by Natalie Clegg.  The perfect present for someone who's trying to convince a wayward family member that making things with yarn is actually pretty awesome.  

The book contains a 25 accessory/homeware projects for all levels of expertise and  I've decided it's a fabulous way to use up some of the yarn given to me by my mother who brought a whole bag with her on the long trip from Perth to Melbourne.


At the moment, I'm crocheting a large cache pot, which I'm thinking of finishing with a gold coin, Indian style trim.  The book gives plenty of ideas for embellishment and making the projects your own, so is really quite inspiring and a pleasure to read.





I think my next project is probably going to be the crochet bunting.  While I'm painfully aware this isn't likely to convince an 18 year old male that crochet is hip, it might impress his younger sister...and I think for now that's just going to have to do.

Happy Crocheting

Deb


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Saturday, 26 April 2014

Nearly Cooked my Goose

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'Andie's Snow Geese' quilt
I purchased a beautiful jelly roll from the Fabric Patch.  It was 'Snowbird' by Laundry Basket Quilts from Moda.  I instantly knew it had to be in the traditional Flying Geese pattern and I was going to call it 'Snow Geese'.  It would be lovely - I thought.

It all came together in the end but not before a few hours of perfecting my seam ripping techniques and a very close call with tears a number of times.

It all started with the bias.  I had so much 'wiggle room' that it made free motion quilting very difficult for a beginner.  
The back of the quilt kept me going..

First run-through of the pattern






Everytime I felt like giving up in despair, I would turn the quilt over.  It looked so lovely on the back that it kept me inspired to keep going.  So I sewed, then I un-sewed, and then I sewed and eventually, finally it came together.

I made 36 blocks with each block consisting of 3 flying geese sets and 2 half square triangles with an extra 'goose unit' at each end.  In hindsight, I think some of my issues actually started with the pressing.  I realised that I am ironing when I should have just been pressing.

Things I learned along the way......

  • A beautiful machine and gorgeous fabrics can bring you to tears in all the wrong way.
  • Cheap thread will give you cheap results.
  • A small break for a cup of tea can save your sanity (and those around you)
  • I know why Geese have a reputation for being ornery and testy.
  • There is always the hope that the next quilt will be perfect.
When Peter and I were in Melbourne for Christmas, we bought our niece a blue bean-bag to lounge in on the hardwood floors.  I thought this quilt would be perfect to keep her warm now that the cooler months are coming.  

Deb and I used to joke around if we were unsure about how something looked.  We would turn our back, then quickly turn around and very, very quickly look at it and then turn back.  If it passed the 'casual glance' test, then it was OK.  This quilt passed so it's on it's way to Melbourne.

Happy Birthday Andie .. xx

Happy Quilting .. seriously.
Louise

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Friday, 18 April 2014

Eggy Dyeing

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It's not often that someone comes for lunch and brings two dozen hard boiled eggs, but today our family get together for Good Friday was coupled with some egg dyeing.  We were at the Prahan Markets last weekend and came across a stall with some wonderfully coloured eggs and Julia, our sister who lives here in Melbourne, picked up a couple of sachets with the thought it would keep the younger kids occupied while our fish pie was baking in the oven.



The dye colours are red and green and we could tell from the moment we mixed the solution that we really didn't want to get this stuff on our clothes - the depth of colour is amazing and so we were thankful for aprons and did everything we could not to get it on our hands (it's perfectly edible, but green or red fingers are not ideal!)


Little hands spent a considerable amount of time drawing on the eggs with wax crayons, wrapping rubber bands and gluing on leaves with egg white to see which would give the best effect when dipped in the dye.  We thought the rubber bands were best, but it didn't stop us trying everything we knew, just to see what happened. We cracked some of the eggs so that we could take the shell off to see pretty patterns and we even melted candle wax on to one, which was pretty effective too.

Once the eggs had been dipped in the dye for a few minutes we dried them on some paper towel on a foil wrapped tray.



...and then we had an edible, and somewhat festive centrepiece for our lunch.

Happy Easter 

Deb


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Friday, 11 April 2014

Memories of Arkansas

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Memories of Arkansas
I have never been to Arkansas although I have heard that it's quite lovely .. 
My memories of Arkansas are of shopping with Deb for quilting fabrics to make the Arkansas Crossroads quilt.  

We both shared a passion for vintage, scrappy quilts and this was going to be the vintage-est and scrappiest of them all.  We hunted down all the fabrics and made a start but then life got in the way.  Deb and her Husband had the most amazing opportunity that saw them settle in the wilds of North Yorkshire in England for a few years and then onto Melbourne and by this stage, very little remained of our quilting days.
At long last - ready for quilting

So you can imagine my surprise and delight when Deb says that she has a piece of our Crossroads quilt and would I like to finish it.

(We like to think that it has been waiting all these years for the right sewing machine to come along.)


I quickly added a border and I was set to go.






Starting with Stipple
Whilst it was never going to be the gorgeously large Queen sized quilt we had envisioned it was the perfect size for a sweet table runner and I thought it would be the perfect project to practice my stipple stitch on.   From what I have seen and read, the stipple stitch is a 'must have' in the repertoire of the machine quilter.  

All I really had to do was quilt it.   I was trialing a new thread (Isacord) and it came together really well.  Aside from an issue with the top thread snapping every now and again but nothing a change to a new needle couldn't fix.  We had left a fair bit of bulk in the quilt and at one point my needle snapped trying to get through it all where a number of seams joined.  It was easily fixed - I just avoided the joins.  The Isacord has a lovely sheen to it which catches the light and highlights the quilting.  






A great tutorial for this block can be found at The Virtual Quilting Bee.  It has, after-all, been over 15 years since Deb and I pieced this quilt so my memory of how it all pieced together is a little fuzzy.

I love this table runner.  I loved quilting it and watching it become something at long last (It's been an incredibly long WIP).  It's memories of Arkansas but it's also memories of when my children were younger, memories of quilting with Deb and memories of many, many happy hours.

Happy Quilting,
Louise

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Monday, 7 April 2014

Welcome to Melbourne Scarf

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My parents are currently visiting from Perth and so I thought it only fitting to make my mother a scarf to help keep off the chills while they are here in Melbourne, where the temperatures are generally cooler, the rain more rainier (not sure if that's even a word) and the sun less sunny.  Naturally now that I've crocheted a scarf, there is a strong likelihood of an unseasonal heatwave...you have been warned!




 I've still been working my way through the large stash of Panda Riverdale I purchased on sale recently (I made a Vintage Shell Wrap a few weeks ago with this very yarn) and I've been determined not to let it sit and gather dust, so when I saw a granny strip scarf I thought it would be a perfect way to use up some of my stash.







While my yarn is a much thinner ply than Jennifer used at Fiber Flux used, I think the pattern was very effective and I just added enough stitches to make the scarf the width I required.


Now I just have to find some sort of pattern that my Dad might like.  I'm tempted to ask him to help me thread my weaving loom as a welcome to Melbourne gift, but I think I might get more enjoyment from that than he would!

Happy Crocheting

Deb



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Saturday, 5 April 2014

Crochet Flower Egg Cosy

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As the days start to get shorter here in Melbourne, it's hard to believe that the long Summer is finished and the Autumn leaves will soon be falling.  Even though Easter is very late this year, my thoughts have still turned to all things eggy at the usual time.  Hot Cross Buns have been in the shop for months already and the shelves of Easter Eggs seems to be growing every time I head to the supermarket.

When I think of egg decorating though, it's not dyed eggs I think of but lovely egg cosies to brighten up breakfast time.  Louise and I have made a few different designs in the past (we've got Gnome on the Range, Daisy Egg Cosy and our  Sampler Egg Cosy ) this time I thought I'd try something a little different and try crochet flowers instead.

The cotton I used is Paton Regal 4 ply in "Greens Print" colourway.

Pattern:  With a 2.5mm crochet hook

Chain 5, form into magic circle.  Slip Stitch 1 into circle.
1 single crochet into circle
1 double crochet into circle
1 treble crochet into circle
1 double crochet into circle
1 single crochet into circle

repeat a further four times to form flower, slip stitch into circle. end.

Make a total of six flowers and sew together.


I've gone for more masculine colours for this egg cosy, although I can't help but think lovely pink tones would be really lovely for the breakfast table.

Happy crocheting

Deb

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The pattern I decided on is:
Chain 5, form into magic circle.
*Slip Stitch 1 into circle
1 x Single Crochet into circle
1 x Double Crochet into circle
1 x Single Crochet into circle
repeat from *4 times to form flower
Slip stitch into magic circle
- See more at: http://fitzbirch.blogspot.com.au/search?q=crochet+hair#sthash.JDEuGqI3.dpuf
The pattern I decided on is:
Chain 5, form into magic circle.
*Slip Stitch 1 into circle
1 x Single Crochet into circle
1 x Double Crochet into circle
1 x Single Crochet into circle
repeat from *4 times to form flower
Slip stitch into magic circle
- See more at: http://fitzbirch.blogspot.com.au/search?q=crochet+hair#sthash.JDEuGqI3.dpuf

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