Monday, 17 April 2017
Another pair of fingerless gloves finished! These are for me - I get really cold hands when I'm sitting still and working on a computer, so needed a pair to use at work. The owl gloves I made last year are very cute but a bit too bright for the office, so I decided to use the black yarn that was left over from the Dalek gloves to knit a new pair. I started on Friday and my goal was to finish them before the end of the Easter long weekend - which I did! The pattern, by Teresa Cole, is called 'crazy, beautiful mittens', you can buy it here.
The Sydney Temperature Scarf is growing - the first three months of 2017 are now done. I think it's going to be a very orange scarf as most days the temperature is between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius!
I've also made a new pair of felted slippers - the pair I made in July 2016 was quite worn out, and they are so comfy!
And finally, today I achieved another goal - something completely different. In October last year I started running, as a way to deal with the stress of having to move twice in a short time - first in Brisbane, and six weeks later from Brisbane to Sydney. My goal when I started was to be able to run five kilometres (approx. 3.1 miles) - and today I did it!
It took more than six months as I struggled with various injuries (Achilles tendinitis, shin splint, adductor issues), but in the end I got there! I felt so happy and proud this afternoon - and as I walked home the universe rewarded me with this gorgeous sunset:
Monday, 10 April 2017
It's been more than three weeks since I last posted here - my new job has taken up a lot of my time and most of my energy! I haven't done any sewing or quilting during this time, but I have knitted something: these Dragon's Paws Gloves for my dragon-loving middle son (pattern by Holly Stone available on Ravelry). They're not very warm but should be sufficient for a Sydney winter.
Yesterday my eldest son competed in the New South Wales State Championships and, just like last year in Queensland, became the State Champion on pommel horse in his age level (8 Under 14)!
He also won silver on parallel bars, bronze on rings and vault, and came second overall. In May he will represent New South Wales at the National Championships - we're both looking forward to another trip to Melbourne, and to seeing our gymnastics friends from Queensland there again!
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Finally! The t-shirt yarn project I started back in July is finished!
I found the pattern for the cabled cushion cover on a Dutch blog and used yarn made from old white t-shirts to knit the first piece, on the left in the photo above (click here for my tutorial on how to make continuous t-shirt yarn). I had so much trouble finding more white t-shirts that in the end I just bought some white t-shirt fabric (single-knit jersey) and cut it up to make more yarn. Unfortunately this turned out to be much thicker, so I adjusted the pattern and made the second piece.
The second side looks to be much smaller than the first, but of course t-shirt yarn is very stretchy, so I had no problem sewing them together to make the cover:
Very happy with the result - and very happy that it is finished. Knitting with t-shirt yarn is hard work!
Monday, 13 March 2017
My husband has a much longer commute here in Sydney than he had in Brisbane, and it includes a 30-minute ferry trip from Manly to Circular Quay, so he recently bought a Kindle e-reader. I made a case for it, using a lovely tweed fabric from a thrift shop skirt that I have had in my stash for quite a while... (I bought it for the fabric, not to wear).
I lined it with a black quilting cotton. Very pleased with how it turned out, and he likes it too, so a win-win!
This is my last week of unlimited sewing, knitting and quilting, for next week I start working fulltime as a medical writer at a small company here in the Northern Beaches (so no long commute for me, luckily). I'm very happy to be able to use both my medical background and my writing and editing skills in my new job!
Thursday, 9 March 2017
When I saw the pattern for these Dalek Gloves on Etsy, I just knew I had to make them for my youngest son, who is a big fan of Doctor Who (I've made him a Tardis bow tie and a Doctor Who Cushion before).
It was my first project on four needles and a bit of a struggle at first...
But I managed it. There are a few mistakes, but luckily the recipient doesn't mind at all ;-)
Now that I have mastered knitting on four needles I may try to make some socks...
Meanwhile the Sydney Temperature Scarf is growing - I have finished February, which saw the first (and so far the only) day with a maximum temperature below 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) - the yellow row.
Thursday, 2 March 2017
I'm a little bit obsessed with knitting at the moment and keep surfing Ravelry, looking for interesting patterns. One thing that caught my eye the other day was the Temperature Scarf. The original designer, as far as I can tell, was Kristen Cooper, back in 2013, but many knitters and crocheters have taken the idea and run with it, making scarfs, cowls, throws, blankets and pillows.
The concept really appeals to me and I have decided to do a Sydney Temperature Scarf for 2017 with - very appropriately - '4 seasons' yarn (pure wool 8ply). Using the Australian Bureau of Meteorology data (highest daily temperature recorded in Terrey Hills, our nearest weather station) and designating a colour for every 5-degree interval between 10 and 40 degrees Celsius, I have so far finished the month of January:
As you can see it was a pretty hot month - there was one day above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit - burgundy), and quite a few in the 35-40 interval (rust). February was also hot, but also had the first day of the year when the maximum temperature didn't reach 20 degrees (yellow).
Gradually there will be more yellow and cream in the scarf - I don't expect I will have to use the white yarn (Sydney has rather mild winters) , but who knows...
Not sure yet if, once I've caught up to the present day, I will knit 2 rows of garter stitch daily or do a week or a month at a time. We'll see. I'll show my progress here from time to time.
Friday, 24 February 2017
I've started on a new, portable knitting project: the Enchanting scarf, a free Ravelry pattern by Marika Lundgren. I'm using a soft Australian merino wool and love the tilting blocks that are emerging.
My sister-in-law asked if I would like to make a wall hanging for their living room. Of course! I've purchased fabrics in the colours she wanted and am now starting to cut them up. We'll be visiting the Netherlands again this year (woohoo!), in July, so I have a few months to finish it.
Thursday, 16 February 2017
I'm happy to introduce my latest pattern: the Mercator Messenger Bag!
A roomy bag, large enough for documents, books or magazines, with handy pockets for small things such as keys, sunglasses, passport...
I decided to cut up this (Pacific-centred) world map panel for the bag. It has been in my stash for years, waiting to be used in a quilt for my youngest son. I used one for the back of an I Spy quilt for my middle son in 2007, and another one in 2009 for the back of the Aussie quilt for my eldest son. We have a world map hanging on the wall now, so it isn't a big deal ;-)
I sewed the bag together with pink Aurifil thread (no.2440) - it matches the lining fabric and nicely contrasts with the main fabric:
I named the bag after Gerardus Mercator, the Flemish cartographer who in 1569 created the world map projection that made navigation much easier. It became the standard projection for centuries, but has in recent years fallen from grace because of the serious distortion issues (you can read more about this interesting subject here).
The pattern is now available in my pattern stores on Craftsy and Etsy.
Monday, 13 February 2017
In August last year we heard that at the end of the year we would have to move from Brisbane to Sydney, where my husband had found a new job. Understandably, our sons (13, 11 and 9 years old at that time) weren't happy at the thought of having to leave their friends, schools and clubs behind. They had never been to Sydney (1000 km south of Brisbane), so in the September school holidays we took them there for a family vacation, while also checking out areas to live.
The boys loved Taronga Zoo, which is situated on the shores of Sydney Harbour, and this photo of the giraffes with their fabulous view over Sydney became our favourite of the holiday (I showed it here on the blog in October).
Last year SAQA put out a call for entry for an exhibition called Textile Posters. I love vintage travel posters - here is my Pinterest board full of them - and decided to make a Sydney poster based on the photo of the giraffes. Chances of getting into a SAQA exhibition are very small, so I wanted to make a quilt that I would love to have hanging on the wall anyway!
And indeed, I heard last week that my quilt wasn't selected. I was a little sad at first, but it's hanging over our dinner table now and we all love it. Here are a few detail photos - as always, I used Aurifil 40wt threads for piecing, appliqué, and quilting:
The font used for the letters is Broadway - love the art deco feel!
For the tails of the giraffes I used black yarn:
I bought the giraffe print fabric at my local quilt shop, but all other fabrics are from my stash. I've shown the back here already, it's a funky Ikea fabric:
Here is the quilt hanging in our dining room. It measures 32'' x 48'' (81 x 122 cm).
Saturday, 11 February 2017
In January I made two doorstops - one for the living room and one for my eldest son's room - and now my youngest son asked if I could make one for his room as well. Of course! This time I decided to use fabric from old pairs of jeans, and to write down the instructions and share them here for those of you who would like to make one as well.
You will need:
- six 6'' (15 cm) squares of denim or another heavyweight fabric
(for the previous doorstops I used 5'' squares, but here 6'' was needed to be able to include the pockets)
- matching thread
- sewing machine (a walking foot is recommended for sewing through layers of heavy fabric)
- filling - I used a layer of cat litter (clay) topped up with scraps of batting. You could also use sand, rice, beans etc. (although I would worry about mould and pests when using edible materials as filling)
I cut two plain squares for the top and bottom, and four squares with a pocket for the sides.
Start with sewing the side squares to the bottom square, right sides together, using a 1/2'' (1 cm) seam allowance. Start and stop 1/2'' (1 cm) from the corner and back stitch a few times at the start and end of each side. Make sure the side squares with the pockets are positioned correctly.
The top square will need a handle. I found some baby overalls in my denim stash and used the straps:
Alternatively, make a handle by cutting a 5'' x 4'' (12.5 cm x 10 cm) rectangle of denim and sewing a 1/4'' (6 mm) seam on both short ends. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, open again, fold both sides in towards the fold in the midline and then fold in half lengthwise again, so you have a 4-layer strip that is 1'' (2.5 cm) wide. Sew together along one side, then sew both short ends to the top square.
Sew the top square to one of the side squares as shown below:
On the right side it will look like this:
Now sew the side seams together one by one to create the cube:
Sew two sides of the top square to the side squares, leaving one side open for turning and filling.
Clip the corners and turn the cube right side out. Insert a plastic bag and fill the cube for about one third with a heavy filling such as cat litter or sand. Tie the bag closed and push it inside the cube.
Fill up the cube with a soft filling such as scraps of batting:
Handstitch the remaining side closed. I use bulldog clips to keep the edges together while sewing:
Here is my collection of doorstops. The one made with Dutch postbag fabric is still my favourite:
Do let me know if you have any questions, and if you make a doorstop, I would love to see a pic!